our everyday life

How to Parent a High Energy, High IQ Toddler

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr, studioD

If your toddler zooms through the house like a tornado, amazes you by performing feats faster than his peers and can make himself understood, you might have a high energy, high IQ toddler. These children are challenging, but delightful to raise because they're like little sponges, absorbing information and soaking up challenging activities. Your most difficult challenge might be keeping your tot busy enough to stay out of trouble. Toddlers with strong personalities, high verbal skills and intelligence might challenge your authority and require you to think fast to stay ahead of them.

Establish firm rules and enforce them consistently. Your rules might include things like obeying Mommy and Daddy, walking -- not running -- in the house, keeping your feet off the furniture and treating others with kindness. Keep your rules short and limited to no more than a few so your toddler can remember and follow them. Once he can consistently obey the first few rules you set, you can then add one or two others to the list.

Provide toys your child can use creatively. Include toys such as blocks, nesting toys, large plastic animals, dolls, balls, puzzles with a few large pieces and toys with nobs, buttons, wheels, keys and moving parts he can learn how to manipulate. These toys appeal to his growing sense of curiosity, his need to move and his ability to imagine possibilities and problem-solve. Encourage him to think about how things might work if he can’t figure something out immediately. Many times he will get more enjoyment from finding things out by himself than when you demonstrate the process to him.

Keep a tub of craft supplies he can use with your supervision. Include crayons that only mark on special paper, water colors, clay, paper, paper shapes, paint brushes, egg cartons, glue sticks and pipe cleaners. Invite him to create with them to his liking. Supply activity books with coloring pages, finish-the-drawing pages and matching items, which will challenge his brain as well as his fine motor skills.

Get outside and let him move. If you don’t have playground equipment at home, find a local park that does. Encourage him to slide, swing, climb and run until he tires himself out. Fly kites, chase flying discs and run with the dog if you have one. Join a play group that includes slightly older kids who challenge his physical, mental and social abilities without bullying him or making him feel too little to play. Supervise activities, of course, but allow him to problem solve challenges before you decide to intervene in any situation that won’t harm him.

Read to your child when it’s time to settle down for a nap or at bedtime. Ask, “What do you think will happen next?” or “Can you find the ball on this page?” She might enjoy hearing the same story over and over again and that’s OK. By the time you’ve read it to her 100 times, she might be saying the words with you.


About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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