Does playing Mozart boost a baby's brainpower? Learn what really raises an infant's IQ, and which claims are overblown.
- Step 1: Skip educational videos designed for babies. One study found that children 8 to 16 months who watched educational DVDs knew substantially fewer words than those who hadn't watched them! Regular TV, both children's and adult programming, had no such effect.
- TIP: There's no evidence that playing Mozart or any other classical music will turn infants into geniuses, either.
- Step 2: Be an attentive parent. Most child experts agree that the best thing you can do to raise your infant's IQ is what you're probably doing already: cuddling them; playing with them; talking, gesturing, singing and reading to them; and providing a secure, stable environment.
- FACT: One study concluded that the IQ a child has at 3 years old is indicative of the IQ they'll have at 21.
- Step 3: Breastfeed your baby for at least 10 months if you can: some research indicates it can raise your infant's IQ.
- : Consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.
- Step 4: Eat fish that's low in mercury during pregnancy. In one study, the babies of expectant moms who ate more than 3 servings per week were 30 percent more likely to have higher developmental scores at 18 months than babies whose moms ate less than a serving per week.
- TIP: Don't eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish when you're pregnant; they're all high in mercury, which can be toxic to a fetus' brain.
- Step 5: Get some exercise during pregnancy. Children whose mothers exercised 30 minutes a day while they were pregnant scored higher on standard IQ tests than children whose moms didn't work out.
- Step 6: If you're thinking of getting pregnant, get your thyroid checked. Research indicates that children born to mothers with underactive thyroids may have substantially lower IQs.