With a new baby, it’s almost impossible to not fall in love with everything they do. Almost every family has one member who insists that the newborn is wildly smart and exceeding all expectations with every little move they make. But how does a parent know if they’re really onto something?
There are programs that offer early assessments for a fee, but this isn’t always necessary to spot a baby genius. Luckily, there are tons of early signs to identify if a baby could actually be a gifted child and developing well beyond what is normally expected. While the thought of a baby genius can be thrilling, these children can require support in an entirely different way from the average child and can be a heavy learning curve for most parents.
As Julie Taplin, Deputy Chief Executive for the National Association Of Gifted Children, told BBC, “One of the first young people I met said, 'I just want to be like everyone else - I hate being clever'.” It’s important to know the early signs in order to prepare for new challenges as these gifted children age. To get started, here are 20 signs the baby may be a genius.
Trying to surprise a baby can be an entertaining job for most adults. Typically, surprising a baby can be satisfying when you hear that sweet giggle or see that grin from ear to ear, but it can also be a way to identify a smart baby or even to encourage intelligence in your little one.
A study by Science discovered babies learn by being surprised by the objects around them. By showing 11-month-olds actions ending in different consequences, it made the babies want to dive in and explore why the same action could end in two different results.
If your child is actively reacting to these scenarios as early as six months, it’s possible it’s a sign you have a gifted child on deck. If not, you can also use these surprise techniques to help mould their brain and encourage an early curiosity that can lead to a deeper intelligence.
If your baby seems unusually with it and aware of what’s going on around them, this may be an early sign of a genius.
The earliest signs of this can include a baby turning their head towards whoever is speaking and reacting immediately. They may also be more sensitive to changes in the environment, like new home decor, moving their toys to a different location, or a slight drop in temperature.
According to First Cry Parenting, gifted children have a heightened level of perception. This means they can better understand your emotions and may even hug you tighter if they feel your mood has shifted.
Gifted children are unusually confident in their being and are ready to connect with others. Whether it’s with other children or new adults in their life, they do not shy away from eye contact. They are always looking right at you, almost as if they are looking into your soul.
They are connected to you at an early age and understand your communication even if it’s too early for them to start communicating back. While most babies commonly stare at an early age, this consistent eye contact continues as gifted children move into their toddler years while their more average counterparts shy away from the intensity associated with eye contact.
Raising a baby genius can be an exciting venture, but it can come with added responsibilities and new challenges that could otherwise go unaddressed.
Gifted children have an incomprehensible ability to connect. Their perception of the world and everything in it is equivalent to those who are years ahead of them. For example, your child will instinctively understand complex situations happening around them and can pick up on behavioural cues to gauge how a person may be feeling. This ability can help them empathize later in life but can be a confusing talent early on.
If your child feels like they understand you on a deeper level, prepare to help them navigate their early days in a unique way.
Your baby’s first words can feel like a race in many ways. Will they say momma or dada? Will they start using words before or after the other kids in the mommy group?
It’s important to understand all kids progress at their own pace, and that’s totally normal. Children can take up to 18 months to squeeze out their first words if they’re introverted, shy or just reliant on other methods of communication.
However, if you find your baby is trying to tell you something almost immediately from day one, this can often be a sign of high intelligence and even Mensa qualified. If your child is speaking non-stop before eight to nine months, start narrowing in on some intelligence tests and encourage them to keep the conversations going.
While talking early can be a clear sign of intelligence, a complicated vocabulary can really ring the baby genius bell.
Gifted children are often more curious and have a heightened awareness allowing them to pick up on bigger words being used by older siblings or parents. With their strong memory skills, they add these words to their vocabulary with ease and they quickly pick up on when to use them.
With a gifted child, you will find them using phrases or figures of speech that are totally unexpected.
According to a 45-year study of exceptional children, spatial skills are undeniably a consistent component of intelligent children.
The second wave of the study in 1976 used tests for spatial ability, including “matching objects that are seen from different perspectives, determining which cross-section will result when an object is cut in certain ways, or estimating water levels on tilted bottles of various shapes”.
Spatial ability can be a difficult concept to pinpoint, which may explain why it’s been underestimated to date. According to psychologist David Lubinski, spatial ability is arguably the largest untapped source of human potential. He even argues those with high spatial ability can make superior engineers, architects, and surgeons compared to those with better mathematics or verbal abilities.
If you want to discover if your baby could be a genius, focus on problem-solving activities. This can include specific toys designed for problem-solving or tasks like deconstructing a toy and watching them rebuild it without hesitation.
This high IQ talent can be fascinating to watch unfold, but it can also be frustrating and even mind-boggling for parents at times. These babies are pros when it comes to breaking out of their crib, finding access to those off-limit objects, and figuring out how to trick mom or dad into giving them exactly what they want.
Most early development guides will encourage memory games to teach your children this useful skill. For some, it’s clear it comes more naturally than it may for others.
With their strong ability to focus, gifted children are able to narrow in and retain more information than the average child. This can include excelling at memory focused games, but also remembering other information you would never consider.
A gifted child will remember which car belongs to which neighbour, what time their favourite show airs, and what dad does to get ready for work in the morning. They can also recall conversations you didn’t realize they heard or remind you where you left your keys in a last-minute dash to leave the house.
Whether they’re trying to figure out the TV remote, build something specific with blocks, or take mental notes when mom is baking cookies, an unwavering focus at an early age is an impressive sign of intelligence.
Most young children have a short attention span and can get anxious if their stamina is being tested. With gifted children, focusing on a new thing can actually bring a sudden wave of energy to their day.
Joseph Pearlman has worked with many young children launching entertainment careers. He says he believes sustained focus during a conversation is a clear indicator of higher intelligence in kids, noting his most intelligent stars would come to classes more prepared than most of the adults.
Pets can be intimidating for a lot of children. It’s the unknown territory in that they’ve never seen a non-human moving around and they’re not sure how the animal may react to their own actions.
For gifted children, a better understanding of the world comes with their ease of connecting with the world.
Gifted children can often connect powerfully to pets. They react to the pet’s state of being and they are not afraid to get personal with them. According to First Cry Parenting, it’s their strong ability to feel both positive and negative emotions along with their complex and mature thinking that allows them to feel so at ease around animals.
A child with a high IQ is full of brilliant ideas, creative thoughts, and an intense vocabulary. It’s no surprise to learn this same child is eager to put pen to paper and get it all out.
Colouring is a common activity for young children and can be a way to identify gifted children. If you find your child is trying to write out messages as opposed to scribbling another drawing, this is a tell-tale sign your child could be a genius.
According to gifted child consultant Lyn Kendall, gifted children can even be discovered teaching themselves how to write. She says she discovered her own son waking up before the rest of the household to practice his writing at a young age.
It’s no surprise that a baby genius will be comfortable with communicating. We’ve established they have a complex vocabulary, a deep understanding of the world, and an unusually strong memory: all tools to succeed in communication.
When it comes to communicating at an early age, highly intelligent babies will find a way to get their message across even if they are not close to forming words.
According to First Cry Parenting, a child who forms sentences before 14 months can often be identified as a gifted baby. On the flip side, a child who can easily follow verbal directions to complete tasks at a young age tend to be exceptionally gifted children.
There are arguably two types of kids: regular kids and those that feel like mini adults. These mini adults don’t shy away from hanging out with the adults and they’re prepared to handle more adult conversations. While most children may feel nervous in a room full of new adults, a high IQ toddler is ready to chat and will look you right in the eye.
According to Kendall, gifted children often prefer the company of older children or adults. Think of the one kid at the birthday party who usually sneaks off to chat with the parents or the older siblings, and that’s your genius at play.
A puzzled face on a baby is always a cute shot, but does it mean something deeper?
Babies with a higher IQ are exceptionallt curious in their early days and as they develop they will try to figure out just about everything from how toys work to what goes where n the house. Combining their extreme curiosity with their emotional intelligence, they’re more likely to be curious about why mom and dad argue, why their sister seems sad, or why adults act differently with strangers than with family.
As they grow, this child becomes the “why” child who’s always asking questions to get to the bottom of just about anything and everything.
A child’s sleep time can be a precious time for parents to recharge, get some sleep of their own, tackle household chores, and catch up with their significant other. If your child never seems to need as much sleep as your other kids or your friends’ kids, it can feel like you’re getting robbed of precious alone time.
The good news is this is a common sign of early intelligence. Babies with higher intelligence have a lot of energy, which also means it takes them longer to ‘sign off’ for the night in the same way as adults can struggle to fall asleep with so many to do lists floating through their mind.
On the plus side, because they require less sleep, it means you won’t be facing a cranky child every time they wake up.
Trying to help your child identify patterns is a common piece of early-stage development. There are loads of games that exist for this purpose: matching shapes together, identifying colours, and spotting patterns. With a gifted child, they will often pick up on these patterns more quickly than other children, but it’s not the only pattern recognition they have.
As Niranjan Reddy, Ph.D. told Reader’s Digest, “Gifted children notice everything, from which bus passes the house after breakfast time to how many bricks can fit inside the toy trunk. They are very good at observing and remembering key information.”
It’s no mystery that language plays a huge role in spotting signs of a child’s intelligence level. If your child is constantly reaching for books and craving more advanced options, it’s important to feed that hunger.
Mensa’s own Heidi Hankins was identified as a genius at an early age. According to BBC, when her parents put her in front of the laptop to watch a show, she was quickly navigating to other websites and it became clear she was reading instructions and following the directions. They also noted she was reading primary school books at the age of two.
Creativity in a child can be a wild adventure. It leads to intriguing questions, wonderful drawings and sometimes hilarious conversations once your child is talking.
It’s not uncommon for genius babies to prefer playing independently and keep to themselves content for hours on end. Their playtime will often include situational context, a strong narrative, or an in-depth explanation as opposed to just playing with whatever toys are available.
If they are playing with others, their vivid imagination will often lead them to take over in a leadership role and bring the other kids along for the ride.
Walking and crawling can be a milestone that causes a lot of anxiety for parents. It can be stressful if other babies have started to make moves, but every baby has its own pace. In fact, some babies skip crawling entirely and go straight to walking.
Alternatively, your little one might be strolling around the house before all the other kids. According to BabyCenter, most start walking anywhere from nine months up to 19 months. Typically, if your child is cruising around before that nine-month milestone, this could be a sign your baby is a genius. If you’re under the impression your baby is on the genius track, watch for other small or large muscle skills such as grasping or smiling.