Although parents of twins, triplets, or more are often “maxed out”, it is still important to make sure you are doing little things to help boost your baby’s intelligence. It is not difficult, and these little things can help to ensure your children grow to be inquisitive with a desire to learn.
Scientists continue to conduct research into human intelligence. While it is true that genetics play an important role, environmental experiences early in life are a significant factor in how much of that genetic potential is reached. Exposing your twins, triplets, or higher order multiples to an enriched environment can exercise brain synapses — leading to forming more and stronger brain connections. I’m not a scientist, but I find this field of study fascinating, and I did strive for an enriched environment for my twins. My efforts were rewarded with bright, intelligent kids with a curiosity for life.
Things you can do to enrich your baby’s environment
- Talk. The number one thing you can do to maximize baby intelligence is talk. How easy is that? Talk about everything. Talk about changing your baby’s diaper. Talk about the weather. Talk about being lonely – or having visitors. Talk about the changing seasons. Just talk. At first, it might feel strange talking to these little infants that couldn’t possibly understand a word you are saying. But if you keep up a running narrative about what you are doing, pretty soon it becomes a habit and is easy to do. And, sorry folks, the television does not count as talking to your baby. If you do none of the other things in this list – talk.
Info:B. Hart and T.R. Risley studied the amount of words spoken in homes and correlated it to IQ and academic performance through fifth grade. Based on their researched, they concluded, “The most important aspect of children’s language experience is its amount.” Learn more about their research from their book, Meaningful differences in the Everyday Experience of Young Children.
- Count. Since you are already talking to your babies about everything you do, it is easy to begin counting everything you do as part of your narrative. Count the stuffies as you put them away, count the dishes and the cups, count the buttons as you dress your twins, triplets, or more. Count forwards, count backward. Just count.
Tip:As your twins, triplets, or more grow into toddlers and sharing becomes an issue, ask them to count to share a toy. “Count to 10 then it will be your turn.” At first you will do the counting, but ask them to join with you. “Count with me… one… two… three…” Count very slowly so they can keep up.
- Sort and Group. Now, you are already talking and counting, so start grouping. Sort the toys by color, resort them by size. Count them in their groups. Talk about differences in size – “Oh, there is a big truck! Look at it next to that tiny little car!”
TIP: Introduce the concept of ‘value’ at an early age by asking them to group 5 small toys and then trading that for 1 bigger toy. You can do this with a pretend store. When you are ready to purge some baby toys, buy a couple of toddler toys and then ask them to find 5 baby toys to trade in for a “big boy toy”.
- Breastfeed (or not). There is conflicting information about the benefit to intelligence of breastfeeding. If you can, then breastfeed. If you are not able to, then pump and bottle feed. And if you are not able to pump, don’t worry that you are not doing your best for your babies. You are… whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, just be sure to cuddle, love, stroke her head, gaze into her eyes, and talk.
- Music. Turn off the tv and play Mozart. Many studies have shown a correlation between listening or learning to play music and performance of math tasks.
- Walk. Get outside and walk with your babies everyday if you can. Expose them to the world around you. If the weather limits you, do your best to make it happen when possible. And when you are stuck indoors, find some active play and exercises you can do together.
No matter how tired you are, doing these things will help boost your twins’ intelligence, help them grow to be inquisitive with a desire to learn, and will have an added benefit for you. Doing these things will help lift your mood. And when you’re sleep deprived from taking care of twins or more, these little lifts are huge. Give it a try.
Copyright 2009 – TwinParenthood.com / Kathryn Whiteley