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How to Tell if Your Child is Intelligent

By Mary Smith. Updated: June 3, 2018
How to Tell if Your Child is Intelligent

We all like to think the best of our children. Having an intelligent child will set a good standard for a productive and fulfilling adult life. While this comes from a caring place, it can often be disproportionate. They might talk about their children as if they are immaculate, thinking every time they do something new it must be recorded for posterity. Often, they are developing similarly to any other child of the same age. Being of above average intelligence is bye definition quite rare, but it is worth finding out whether your child is gifted. This is because intelligent children will need to be encouraged a little differently. This will not only help meet your child's potential, but also help prevent behavioral problems later on. Keep reading oneHOWTO to find out how to tell if your child is intelligent.

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Language and communication in gifted children

If you want to know if you have an intelligent child, nonverbal communication is key. This is because those who develop early will show signs of intelligence before they speak. This doesn't mean giving your newborn an IQ test as soon as you slice the umbilical cord. It is of the utmost importance to let your child develop naturally. You can encourage them in ways which complement this natural progression. Forcing them will likely backfire.

Intelligent children will try to engage through physical signals. They may try to voice their feelings even if they are yet to master words. Once an intelligent child is able to speak, they will likely want to develop these skills. They may understand some certain lingual concepts early and reach a speaking level more quickly. Children with above average intelligence also have a good memory. This means they can remember words and start establishing a vocabulary early on.

Clever kids will be able to learn more rapidly and understand things more quickly. What they say is often as important as how they say it. Wondering how to know if your child is clever doesn't need to worry you. There are different types of intelligence. Some children may be quieter and more contemplative. How they are forming and understanding of the world may be less vocal, but we don't know what's going on in their brain. However clever your child, both their personality and intelligence is always developing.

How to Tell if Your Child is Intelligent - Language and communication in gifted children

Curiosity and attention span in gifted children

It is common if an intelligent child has above average intelligence to struggle to remain in one position. Their active minds want them to explore and find out more about the environment they are only now discovering. One sign of an intelligent sign is curiosity. They make inquire into more grown up concerns or relate to children who are older. This is because they are developing an intelligence which is not always met by that of their peers.

On a practical level, this can mean they aren't always the best at sitting still. They may be so curious they get bored once they master concepts. However, once they engage in a task which has piqued their interest, even young children can show deliberate focus. This could be paying attention to a story or even playing with something which provides a challenge, for example puzzles or building blocks.

If your child has a methodical, adept and problem solving approach to tasks it may be a sign they are a child of above average intelligence. Many gifted children will also display a propensity to exert a lot of focused energy on tasks, but this should not be confused with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). This is when children expel lots of energy, although often unproductively. However, having ADHD doesn't automatically mean your child is unintelligent either. Often the opposite is true.

How to Tell if Your Child is Intelligent - Curiosity and attention span in gifted children

Gifted children and numeracy

High intelligence in children often leads to greater problem solving skills. Math problems are some of the first such cases they will come across. If your child shows earlier aptitude for counting and sorting, this is a good indication they are a child with above average intelligence. If they are able to solve simple math equations by the time they are 4 years old, this also suggested they might be gifted children.

Interest in both language and numbers is often self-propelled in intelligent children. Not only will they complete tasks set out for them by others, but they will show an ability for independent learning. Children who are particularly clever are sometimes able to teach themselves maths problems unprompted. They will often be able to solve problems/puzzles or use toys which have a higher age range than expected. Keeping alert helps to know whether you have a particularly intelligent child.

How to Tell if Your Child is Intelligent - Gifted children and numeracy

Social Interaction

A child with above average intelligence may be able to solve logic problems early on, but don't always have the same acumen when it comes to social interaction. Increased ability can be recognised by other children. If they have differing levels of intelligence it can cause frustration and annoyance in a child's social group. This is because an intelligent child might reach certain milestones more quickly. This can cause jealousy and frustration in groups.

Gifted children are also often idealists. This leads to annoyance when they see other children behaving in a manner they deem out of order. A heightened sense of emotion and depth of feeling can accompany high intelligence. When things don't go the way a gifted child wants, it can often lead to tears. They can be sensitive to others and be concerned with injustices, but also get caught up in their own thoughts. A sensitive child is not a bad child. Rather, their sensitivity needs to be encouraged in the right way.

Imagination in Gifted Children

The imagination of an intelligent child can often be very active and elaborate. They might play role play games which involve high concepts. Taking objects and using them for some other function requiring a lot of imagination is common. Gifted children often employ creative thinking when it comes to tasks. A child with above average intelligence sometimes solves problems or comes to conclusions which weren't set out for them. This requires a certain level of "out of the box" thinking to arrive at them.

Gifted children also have the energy to employ their imaginations. This means they can be a handful, even if they are not misbehaving. They may just be very active. Children with above average intelligence will also often show creative and artistic abilities in their drawings and designs. This is also the case with musical ability and understanding.

It's not just their imagination which is heightened in intelligent children. Their memory can also be very acute. You might hear them repeating information they overheard from adults. It may be information you didn't even think they would have picked up. With particularly clever kids you need to be aware they can and will pick up on anything you might say from a young age.

How to Tell if Your Child is Intelligent - Imagination in Gifted Children

Interaction with environment

The curiosity and desire to understand concepts also works for the physical world. If you want to know if your child is intelligent, see if they want to explore new things. Clever kids will often try to enter places they shouldn't (e.g. climb the stairs or go into cupboards). They might also methodically investigate toys, games, objects and pretty much anything which comes into their learning environment.

Gifted children will often accompany their curiosity with intense interest once they have discovered something new. Not only that, but their long attention span can help to stick at tasks other children might struggle to complete. Children with above average intelligence will also be able to complete tasks with minimal instruction, showing an intuition and initiative which other children might not possess at that age.

How to encourage a child with above average intelligence

Encouraging intelligent children can be tricky. Children with above average intelligence may become quickly bored with the tasks and games you play. You might have to substitute new ones in order to help them make use of their potential and stop them from being frustrated. They may also require a little more time which can be difficult on parents. However, raising any child comes with its own difficulties, not to mention rewards.

You shouldn't, however, push your child. It can have detrimental effects, especially as they grow older and try to reconcile their intelligence with a world which can be increasingly disappointing and often conversely adversarial to particularly gifted children. In the majority of ways, you'll want to treat intelligent children as you would any child. This means let them develop at their own speed, be loving and supportive and provide the right kind of encouragement when needed. Often this involves knowing when to let them be rather than pushing them too much. This is especially the case when it comes to testing as you don't want to mislead children either. IQ tests are a scientific way to measure intelligence, but they are not the only way. IQ tests are not always helpful either. They can put pressure on children and give a false impression of cleverness.

If you think your child's behavior is indicating an underlying condition which affects their cognitive abilities either positively or negatively, make an appointment with your paediatrician to discuss it.

How to Tell if Your Child is Intelligent - How to encourage a child with above average intelligence

If you are interested in improving your child's education and personal development, you may be interested in these articles on how to educate your children with toys and how to teach a boy to pee standing up.

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Stephen
how can I make my baby become more intellectual
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Stephen,

Much of what dictates the intelligence of your child is out of your control, but what you can do is try to recognise your child's personality and interests to see where you can help guide them. Support them with tasks, games and activities which will help stimulate numeracy and language. Help them be inquisitive rather than denying them or shutting down their interests. Encouraging rather than pushing will go a long way.

Hope this helps!

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