Will My Second Child Be as Smart as My First?
When I had my daughter, I tried not to compare her to other kids her age. It was hard not to, but I paid close attention to where she was on the range of each milestone. With the arrival of my son, I find it increasingly difficult not to compare their milestones.
When I had my daughter, I tried not to compare her to other kids her age. It was hard not to, but I still paid close attention to where she was on the range of each milestone. I totally admit to being pleased that she frequently hit verbal milestones early. It made me proud! She loved to learn and would request to engage in educational activities. We never drilled her with flashcards. Most of her learning was through free play and singing and talking with me.
With the arrival of my son, I find it increasingly difficult not to compare their milestones. For the first six-to-seven months he seemed to be following a similar timeline. As we near his first birthday I can’t help but notice that he hasn’t started talking yet (besides baby babble and “dada”) nor does he sign much—unlike his sister at this age.
There’s a debate among parents about a study that says first-born children tend to be smarter than their siblings. The reasoning seems to be based on parents providing the first child with more attention and being harder on them, while then relaxing their expectations with subsequent children.
So I’m wondering how much of it is on me versus his unique timeline. Do I talk to him enough? Read and sing with him enough? I think so. Plus his sister also interacts with him. He gets the attention of three people versus her having just mom and dad. Doesn’t that count for something?
But then I realize of course he’s not signing as much as she did. He doesn’t know as many signs because I’ve been lax on signing with him. Unlike his sister, he entertains himself more. She constantly needed my attention (and still does), increasing our interaction. I’d rather let him explore than force learning time together.
As fellow BabyZone blogger Charity Curley Mathews points out, it’s easier said than done to parent each child like they are the first. However, that doesn’t mean we as parents won’t try to give each child enough love and attention. Honestly though, having both of my children close in age makes it a little easier to offer both of them similar experiences. Perhaps sibling spacing and birth order both play a roll?
My husband is a middle child and is very smart. I am… well, my birth order is complicated, but I also had very good grades throughout school. Even though my son isn’t talking yet, I can tell he catches on quickly from observing how he manipulates objects while he plays.
While I’m not convinced being born first guarantees intelligence over your siblings, it doesn’t hurt to give them each extra attention and encouragement. And maybe we’ll do just fine at offering our kids a level playing field.
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