Gifted children don’t automatically turn into brilliant adults. There is a lot of room for them to lose their path along the way.
So how do you nurture the future Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie or Oprah?
That is an interesting question as there isn’t one exact way to parent a child. But if you feel that your child is gifted, then here are some ways to recognise their abilities and tips on how to nurture their talents.
Recognising Gifted Abilities
Being gifted can be a hard to define, as what makes someone gifted?
If your child is completing tasks or has abilities well beyond their peers, then it is safe to say that they are gifted in that area. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are gifted in all areas, but they definitely possess certain extraordinary talents.
Maybe your 2 year old can wield a cricket bat like a pro, or your 3 year old can count backwards from 100, or your 6 year old is enjoying reading Lord of the Rings. These are extreme talents that should be recognised.
Just because your child excels at one thing, does not mean that they are a child genius in all areas. But recognising their area of talent will help to get them educated at an appropriate level and give them the support that they need.
Signs You May Have Gifted Children
You know your child best, so will be able to see any areas that they are particularly excelling in. But, these are a few signs that might indicate that they are gifted…
What Being Gifted Means
Being gifted can be a blessing as it can make some areas of life easier. Your gifted child could breeze through the academic side of school, gain worthy qualifications and land a high-flying job. It is not only academics that gifted children excel at, they can also be talented musicians, artists or sportspeople.
But, being gifted can also be a curse. While a child can excel in one area, such as academics, they may not excel at the social side. They may be ahead of their peers intellectually, but on the same level emotionally and physically. This can cause problems.
If a child is advanced in one area, there is a greater expectation for them to be advanced in all areas. Just because your 5 year old is reading chapter books doesn’t mean you won’t still see massive tantrums or other childish behaviour.
There is also the risk that gifted children will become bored at school because they are not being challenged. Without stimulation, they can stop trying and result in poor test scores as they don’t have any interest in applying themselves. They may even become disruptive as they try to entertain themselves.
How To Nurture Gifted Children
Relieve the pressure
The most important thing is to not try and parent your child into being a genius or a prodigy. Instead, support their interests and passions and help them to enrich their love and skill in them.
A constant pressure to succeed and excel can make a child lose interest in what had been their greatest passion. Give them the space to explore, fail and experiment in their own way to maintain a curiosity to learn.
It can be an idea to speak to your school to see if they have an extension programme that will help your child develop their skills without a constant pressure to succeed.
Spend time talking with your child and asking them questions that allow them to demonstrate what they know. Let them see that their opinion matters by listening to what they have to say, regardless of their age. Don’t be afraid to use big words, even if they don’t understand the particular word, they will piece together the meaning and work it out.
Reading opens pathways in the brain and allows children to learn about any manner of things. Reading allows children to absorb and apply their knowledge.
Celebrate curiosity and Praise Results
As your child gets older, they may lose the curiosity that they had as a preschooler. Encourage curiosity as they grow and praise the results of learning from that curiosity.
Make The Most Of Teachable Moments
Almost anything can be a learning opportunity. Instead of pointing out a paddock of cows as you drive past, ask your child what the cows might be doing, what they enjoy eating, or how they spend their days. Get your child to help write the shopping list, budget for the cost of the groceries, or help you plan and cook meals.
Whether your child is gifted or not, make sure you are involved in their lives and their learning. Help them be the best that they can be. It is more important to be happy, loved and secure than the top of their class.