Want a child with a higher IQ then have “the talk” ASAP.

If you talk to your children about the birds and the bees early, they will have a higher IQ. Children are never too young to learn, so go ahead and have that conversation with your preschoolers. Of course, I’m talking about real birds and bees and butterflies and berries. I’m talking about helping children 0 to 3 and older develop receptive and expressive language skills through active conversations. You can start the day they are born.

Babies and children learn new vocabulary, concepts, categorization, sequencing and grammar by listening to their parents and siblings. Research shows that the more words a child hears the faster they acquire language skills. This leads to a higher IQ. Children who talk earlier will likely read earlier too and early readers tend to do better in school.

The groundbreaking research was conducted by Betty Hart and Todd Risely at the University of Kansas. They published their findings in a book called “Meaningful Differences in the Every Day Experience of Young America Children.” Hart and Risely studied 42 families who had 7 to 9 month old children. They studied these families from varying socioeconomic backgrounds for a period of 2.5 years. Hart and Risely observed and recorded how much the parents talked to their children and how they talked to them. After nine years, they studied the difference in the children. The disparity was alarming.

The impact of HOW MUCH a parent talks to their child

Children on welfare heard 600 words per hour. Working class children heard 1,200 words per hour. Children of professionals heard 2,100 words per hour. By age four, a child from the parents of professionals heard 30 million more words than a child from parents on welfare, 30 million. The researchers discovered that when the children reached 3rd grade, the children on welfare had smaller vocabularies than children of professionals and were also adding words more slowly as they matured so the gap keeps widening. It’s no wonder that the study showed a higher IQ for kids who heard more words before the age of three.

The impact of HOW a parent talks to their developing child

The study also showed the impact on how the different socioeconomic groups talked to their kids. The average child with professional parents heard 32 affirmatives (encouragements) and 5 prohibitions (discouragements) per hour of interaction, a 6 to 1 ratio. Children of working-class parents heard 12 affirmatives and 7 prohibitions or roughly 2 to 1 per hour of conversation. The child on welfare only heard 5 affirmatives and 11 prohibitions per hour or 1 positive for every 2 negative. Over the course of a child’s most informative years 0 to 4, a child of professional parents would hear 664,000 confidence building words of encouragement and only 104,000 words of discouragements. Compare that to a child on welfare who only hears 104,000 words of encouragement compared to the 228,000 confidence killing words of discouragement. This is important because children who lack confidence do not push themselves.

Click here for a summary of the impact of talking to your children.

Tips on how to talk to you children for receptive and expressive speech development.

Engage in active conversations with your child by vividly describing what is going on around them. Let them experience the language by seeing it, hearing it, smelling it and feeling it.  Then look for opportunities to expand the conversation with categorization, sequencing and tense. Finally, work on word retrieval by asking them to describe the items, actions or adjectives with new vocabulary.

Here are some samples of active conversations to build a higher IQ:


  • Bobby, do you see the bees? (vocabulary)
  • They are yellow and black. (adjectives)
  • The bees are fuzzy. (adjective)
  • They make a buzzing sound. (adjective)
  • They are flying all around the garden. (Present tense)
  • That bee flew (past tense) from the red flower to the orange flower. (Sequencing)
  • Which flower do the bee land on first? (WH question, sequencing and word retrieval)
  • Bees are insects just like ants and flies. (Categorization)
  • Bobby, do you know any other insects? (Word retrieval – you can help them with descriptions. Which insects light up at night? Which friendly insects are red with black dots?)
  • What other color flowers do you see? (Categorization, WH questions and word retrieval)
  • Wow you know lots of colors. (Affirmation)
  • Did you know that bees make honey? (Question)
  • Honey is sweet and sticky. Let’s go into the house and taste some. (Adjectives)


  • Suzie, use your ears to listen to the birds. (Vocabulary)
  • They are singing a beautiful song. (Adjectives)
  • Let’s walk slowly and quietly (adverbs) up to the bird sitting on the fence. (Vocabulary)
  • If the bird flies away, let’s run run after it. (If Then, sequencing)
  • That is a robin. What other kinds of birds do you know? (Categorization, WH questions and word retrieval)
  • You know lots of birds. (Affirmation)
  • Do you see the butterfly dancing in the air? (Question)
  • What color is the butterfly? (Word retrieval)
  • Look at the red strawberries in the garden? (Vocabulary)
  • Let’s pick a few, wash them and then eat them. (Sequencing)

The Kidmunication Point

You feed your child three plus times every day to help him or her grow. They experience the food. They can see it, feel it, smell it, taste it, talk about it and make conclusions about it. Well, your child’s brain is growing every single day too.  The research clearly shows that you should feed your child’s brain with words every day too, lots and lots of words. While feeding your child words, make sure you pepper in a lot of encouraging words too.  If your child, even a newborn, is seeing, hearing, smelling and feeling while learning vocabulary words then they have a better chance of developing stronger language skills earlier in development which leads to a higher IQ.

If your child has a speech delay you will still want to talk with your child early and often, but you will want to expand on their utterances slowly.  If your child is at the one word level “ball” expand to “get ball”, “green ball” “bounce ball”.  This shorter phrase gives your child an opportunity to imitate the expanded model more successfully.  If you are concerned contact your local Speech Language Pathologist.

Finally, if you want to count the number of words that you speak to your child – there is an app of that.

Do you know how a Fitbit works. It counts all of your steps. You set a goal, track your progress and keep active until you achieve your goal. The Starling by Versame is like a Fitbit for your child’s brain. It keeps track of the words your child says and hears each day. The info is captured and displayed on your phone. Just like a Fitbit, you can set a goal, track your progress and keep talking until you and your child reach the desired daily goal. Fitbit encourages weight loss. Starling accelerates your child’s brain development. Use them together and then you can walk the walk while you talk the talk.