From the moment your child is born, you just know that they are extraordinary. Each milestone reached and every developmental milestone may only serve to further reaffirm your beliefs that your little one is surely a genius. I know I'm definitely guilty of seeing my 5-week-old son's ability to roll over from his tummy to his back as confirmation that I had given birth to the next Einstein. Though I'm not necessarily suggesting you run out the door to fill out a Mensa application, there are some early signs your kid will be smart — according to experts, not just intuition.
There have been plenty of jokes made in film and television (an episode of Portlandia about a preschooler named Grover comes to mind) about parents so focused on their child's future success that they begin to prep them for the Ivy League before they're even potty-trained. However, if your child is truly on the path to being gifted, then there are some things to watch out and be prepared for to nurture your child's blossoming brain.
If you think your kid might be a future innovator, scientist, engineer, or even leader of the free world, then check out these early signs your kid will be smart and see if any of them ring some bells.
1Their Memory Is Exceptional
Your baby might just give an elephant a run for their money if they seem to be exhibiting signs of strong memory skills. According to the experts at New Kid's Center, if your infant can remember past events, like where a toy was hidden, or they can quickly recognize faces and locations, those are indications your child is gifted. In fact, having a good memory is regarded as a useful skill at virtually any age.
2They've Got "The Look"
You might think your kid is throwing you some serious shade, but it could actually be they're just flexing their focusing skills. Dr. Deborah L. Ruf, an educational consultant, told The Huffington Post that brighter children start watching and paying attention early in life. So how can you tell what is concentration and what's just staring? "They absorb from their environment so much, adults are often surprised at what they already know,” she said. Kids often know more than they let on.
3They Make Informational Links
As an adult, if you see someone get in a car, it's safe to assume they're going to go somewhere. Though that may seem like a simple leap in judgement to make, it's a big deal mentally for tots. According to the experts at What To Expect When You're Expecting, being able to make connections or predict actions is a sign of high intelligence. For instance, a bright child can discern that when you walk to the kitchen, you will most likely return with food.
4They Roll With An Older Crowd
Does your child tend to flourish in environments with kids who are older with them or even other grown-ups? British Mensa's gifted child consultant, Lyn Kendall, told the BBC, "gifted children often prefer the company of older children or adults." Advanced kids not only feel comfortable around the older crowd, they're also learning from them.
5They Can Hold A Conversation Early On
I'm definitely one of those parents who insisted their child was really talking when it was probably more like babbling. Yet it seems language skills really do play a role in discerning intelligence in kids. According to the Davidson Institute, an education foundation for advanced children, "early and prolific use of language is typical in profoundly gifted children." So maybe there is something to all that jabber.
6They Don't Sleep Well
Whether you have a newborn or a school-aged child, if they don't sleep well, it can be frustrating for the whole family. But there actually could be a silver lining to all the late nights. Ruf told The Huffington Post that gifted children are usually poor sleepers because their brain is so stimulated it's difficult to fall asleep.
7Their Personality Is Bold
Being a wallflower is never a bad thing and several historical figures were introverts, but if your child is lively at a young age, that could indicate high intelligence. Mensa's Kendall told the BBC that a developed sense of humor and social skills are signs your child is gifted.
8They Have The Feels
My son is extremely sensitive. He mourns squashed bugs and rushes to comfort crying babies. As it turns out, a big heart might be linked to a big brain. Dr. David Palmer, an educational psychologist, told Psychology Today that "gifted children are more emotionally intense than others, more sensitive to others' feelings, and display a great deal of empathy."
9They're Wiggle Worms
Lots of kids have energy just waiting to be burned, but if your kid has been a mover and shaker from day one, they might be gifted. Dr. Hillary Hettinger Steiner and Dr. Martha Carr told Very Well that a need for mental and physical stimulation is a sign of intelligence. So if your infant was constantly wanting to change positions or your child gets bored quickly, they're probably gifted.
10They Love Hobbies
Is your child exceptionally focused on a specific subject or loves learning about particular areas of interest? According to the Baby Center, your preschooler may be gifted if they have a specific talent, like artistic ability or an ease with numbers. So maybe there's more to your kid's hobby than meets the eye.
The stereotype of the smart, nerdy kid always burying their head in a book may not be too far off the mark. told New York Parenting, that gifted children often show an interest in reading before they're in school, are voracious readers, and even read for fun. So your kid's library card may end up in the Mensa hall of fame one day.