The average IQ of a 10-year-old is 100.
To measure IQ, divide a person’s mental age by their actual age – for a 10-year-old, divide by 10 – and then multiply by 100.
This article will cover the normal IQ range for children, how their IQ changes with age, and the key factors that impact IQ.
- What’s the Normal IQ Range?
- What Is the Average IQ By Age?
- Factors That Can Affect a Child's IQ
- Is My 10 Year Old Gifted?
- Possible Signs of a Gifted Child
- Can I Boost My 10 Year Old’s IQ?
- Encouraging Gifted Children
What’s the Normal IQ Range?
The average IQ score is defined as 100.
According to researchers, about 95% of people have an IQ score that falls between 70 and 130. These scores make up what is considered the ‘normal’ IQ range.
- An IQ score between 85 and 115 is considered average intelligence.
- An IQ score between 115-130 indicates above-average or high intelligence.
- An IQ score between 70-85 indicates below–average intelligence.
- An IQ below 70 typically indicates some level of intellectual disability.
Breaking Down IQ Scores
IQ tests assess a person’s ability to reason, solve problems, and understand complex ideas across a wide range of topics.
IQ scores in the average range of 90-109 represent half the population. A 10-year-old with an average IQ score of 100 can still succeed academically and in life with the right support.
IQ can change over time, with scores often shifting as children develop intellectually.
|IQ Range||Classification||Percentage of Population|
What Is the Average IQ By Age?
IQ scores are assessed relative to people of the same age group. This means the average IQ score changes across different age groups.
IQ Scores By Age
- 16 to 17 years old: 108
- 18 to 19 years old: 105
- 20 to 24 years old: 99
- 25 to 34 years old: 97
- 35 to 44 years old: 101
- 45 to 54 years old: 106
- 55 to 64 years old: 109
- Over 65 years old: 114
As the data shows, average IQ scores change across the lifespan, with different age groups obtaining mean scores ranging from 97 to 114.
Younger adults in their late teens and early 20s tend to score slightly below the population mean of 100. IQ peaks in later middle age, between 45 and 54 years old, where average scores reach 106.
Interestingly, over age 65, senior citizens have the highest IQ on average at 114.
Why Does IQ Change With Age?
In children and teens, IQ scores reflect their brain development. The neural networks that support intelligence develop quickly in early childhood. After reaching early adulthood, IQ usually remains stable, with few changes unless there is cognitive impairment.
Factors That Can Affect a Child’s IQ
A child’s IQ score is influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Genetics lays the foundation for a child’s intelligence, but their experiences and background also shape their brain development.
The Role of Genetics
Research suggests genetics contribute significantly to intelligence levels. Twin studies reveal that genetics explain roughly half of the differences in IQ scores. Over time, children’s IQ scores often move closer to the average of their parents’ IQs.
Health & Medical Factors
Certain health conditions and developmental issues affecting the brain can negatively impact a child’s IQ scores:
- Premature birth: Prematurely born children or those with low birth weights often have IQ scores 4-5 points lower. The more premature the birth, the greater the difference later on.
- Head injuries: Early-life brain injuries, from abuse, accidents, or other causes, can impair cognitive development.
- Chronic illnesses, such as pediatric cancer requiring intense treatment, can harm brain structure and function.
- Exposure to toxins: High lead exposure causes lead poisoning linked to reduced IQ in children. Other neurotoxins like mercury, arsenic, or air pollution affect development too.
Additionally, poor childhood nutrition likely plays a role in cognitive outcomes worldwide. Lack of essential nutrients, such as iron, iodine, omega-3s, and protein, can hinder brain growth and function.
The Home Environment
Since children spend most of their early childhood with family, the home environment greatly affects their intellectual development.
Parents taking part in learning activities with their children offer vital mental stimulation for healthy growth. Reading together, working on puzzles, answering questions, and having meaningful conversations stimulate growing minds.
Access to books, games, media, and other resources for learning also expands opportunities. Different experiences from family outings also provide important learning opportunities that aid cognitive development.
On the other hand, family stressors like turmoil, abuse, neglect or authoritarian parenting styles can inhibit development in young children. Poverty also plays a role.
Studies reveal that by age 3, children in higher-income families typically know twice as many words as those in lower-income families. These early gaps contribute toward divergent trajectories.
Once children start primary school, academics and school quality start shaping intelligence outcomes in an even bigger way.
Schools that nurture bright minds often have gifted programs, stimulating curricula, and small classes taught by well-trained, capable teachers.
Schools with tight budgets, few resources, and too many students often struggle to meet every student’s learning needs. Schools of lower quality often have less experienced teachers. These dynamics can hamper students’ abilities to reach academic potential.
Students who often switch schools may lag in growth due to disrupted curricula and difficulty adapting.
Is My 10 Year Old Gifted?
So you’ve spotted signs of a high IQ in your child – but how can you be sure that they are ‘gifted’? According to statistics by the National Association for Gifted Children, those in the top tier of IQ ratings typically score 130 and higher. This top tier accounts for only 2-3 percent of the child population, so if your 10 year old were to receive an IQ score within this top tier bracket, this can definitely be considered highly impressive.
An especially impressive IQ score, however, and one the Association for Gifted Children might consider ‘gifted’ levels of intelligence, is a score of 145. This only occurs in around 1 in every 1,000 children.
It’s important to note that IQ alone does not measure all forms of intelligence, so a high IQ won’t always necessarily reflect a gifted child. According to the National Association for Gifted Children, a child’s ‘giftedness’ can be more accurately identified by your child’s traits rather than statistics, such as developing a very specific interest or showing great aptitude in a certain category of learning.
For example, excelling at the violin at a young age or mastering complex math equations long before their peers can be indicators of a gifted personality.
Possible Signs of a Gifted Child
Gifted children may not possess all of the following signs, but below are some of the common traits found in a gifted child:
Heightened sensitivity in a child may not reflect academic excellence in the way that other traits of being ‘gifted’ point to, but some gifted children tend to be more sensitive to the world around them, both physically and mentally.
Psychologist Kazimierz Dabrowski characterized this sensitivity as a gifted child’s “over-excitabilities” – which might see children cry over trivial things or become irritated by labels and tags on clothing.
Enjoys Challenges and Problem-solving
Gifted children love to be challenged in their learning and become motivated to learn by facing new challenges, such as flexing their problem-solving skills. In this sense, many gifted children find natural motivation within themselves, rather than because of a teacher’s influence.
So even if your child is not excelling in their school grades, they may still have a desire to stimulate their intellect at home in subjects they find interesting and challenging.
Extremely Skilled in One (or Multiple) Areas
A clichéd image we carry around in our minds of a gifted child is normally of one who can play multiple musical instruments, but a keen interest in music or art is not the only signifier of a gifted child.
Gifted children may also demonstrate extreme reading skills, such as a 3 year old at the reading level of a third grader, for example or attain a specific skill that is normally only achieved at adulthood in others.
Can I Boost My 10 Year Old’s IQ?
Your child’s overall intelligence levels can be boosted as they develop by making sure they get the right nutrition, plenty of exercise and enough stimulating play time that encourages problem-solving and social skills.
But how can you actually boost their IQ? As a parent, there are plenty of things you can do to encourage your 10 year old’s intellectual potential. Realistically, however, you cannot necessarily force them to learn at a faster rate than their brain will naturally allow them to.
Professor of Psychology at the University of California Ross A. Thompson suggests that many parents show unnecessary anxiety when it comes to their child’s IQ rate: “It’s a classic American concern – how to accelerate my kids learning.
Many parents believe that if their children learn fast early, they will remain accelerated. But children learn bets at a natural rate. Those who show early advances settle out by the time they reach grade school and others catch up.”
Professor Thompson stresses that the early years of a child’s development definitely matter, but that parents shouldn’t necessarily expect their children to run before they can walk in intellectual terms: “Lower circuits in the brain must be built before higher circuits, and advanced skills must be based on basic skills.” So what are some of these basic skills you can work on with your child before you can see advanced skills grow?
You may have been told that you need fancy toys and gadgets to boost your child’s IQ, but many scientific studies recommend that things like self-discipline, good sleep and simply introducing your child to new experiences every once in a while will yield more effective results.
Here are a few ways of naturally stimulating your child’s intellect:
Give them music lessons – recent studies have found a link between regular music lessons and an increase in children’s IQ.
Researchers in the Netherlands followed the progress of Dutch school children, and those who received regular music lessons in between their normal subjects showed an increase in overall cognitive ability, with specific improvements to their verbal IQ.
Teach self-discipline – when it boils down to it, good grades have a lot more to do with your child’s willingness and self-motivation to learn rather than a high IQ score. This is why providing your kids with structure and demonstrating your own self-discipline to them (and the rewards that come with it) can be vital in boosting their intellectual ability.
Children with greater willpower will resist the pull of TV or games until homework or other priorities have been attended to first.
Encourage regular fitness – it may sound counter-productive to boosting IQ, but sometimes one of the best natural ways of improving a child’s intellect is to take them out of the classroom and away from their study books once in a while to get exercise!
According to a 2007 study, researchers in Germany found that participants learned vocabulary words 20 percent faster after exercise than if they had done none at all. So regular fitness can literally help you become smarter!
Good Quality Sleep
Ensure good quality sleep – you know the sluggish, foggy brained feeling you get when you miss sleep as an adult? Imagine how much worse the effects of poor sleep can be on your child who is still developing.
Getting good quality sleep can mean all the difference to your child’s grades and overall cognitive performance since regular bouts of sleep deprivation can dull their concentration and actually slow their development.
Encouraging Gifted Children
Having a gifted child is a wonderful thing, but for parents, striking the right balance between nurturing their intellect and keeping a safe distance can sometimes be difficult.
You want to see your son or daughter act on their amazing potential and achieve all they can, but at the same time, it’s natural to feel wary about pushing them too far and giving them too much pressure at such a young age.
If you’re concerned about the best way of parenting a gifted child, take a look at the following DO and DON’t techniques of raising a gifted child…
DO’s and DON’Ts of raising a gifted child:
Don’t Set Unrealistic Expectations
Learning is a process, even for intellectually gifted children, so parents should never set unrealistic expectations upon their children with the belief that they are mature enough to handle the pressure. Your child should be encouraged in certain subjects because it interests them, not to impress anyone or set records.
Do Challenge Their Intellect Outside of School
Since your gifted child may not always find their school’s teaching methods stimulating, be sure to give them plenty of opportunities to grow and learn in a non-school setting too. Inspiring them to pursue a new hobby or take up a musical instrument can help your child learn through “active engagement” as educational consultant Pat Wolfe describes it. “The brain is the only organ in the body that sculpts itself through experience.”
Don’t Forget Their Role as a Child
Gifted or not, you are still talking about a child who needs your support and protection. Parents of gifted children can often get carried away with helping their child reach academic goals that they place unnecessary burdens on the child. Never forget the child and parent dynamic in your relationship, no matter how mature you view them to be.
Don’t Compare Your Gifted Child to Their Aiblings
It should go without saying that setting comparisons between siblings is a harmful thing for any parent to do, but in the case of a gifted child, putting them on a pedestal will harm the gifted one as much as their siblings (if not more). Highlighting your child’s unique achievements may actually cause them to tone down their abilities for fear of being disliked or singled out by their siblings and peers.
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