Congratulations! Your child is gifted. A gifted brain often manifests as hitting developmental milestones unusually early. And the difference between a gifted child and other children is usually pretty clear.
As the parent of a gifted child, you might be worried about whether you can provide them with an ideal environment that helps them reach their full potential. You might feel you lack the resources or the intelligence to overcome this parenting challenge.
If that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place. Because in this article, we’ll discuss 7 ideas to help you nurture your gifted child.
- Find out their ability
Gifted children are brilliant in certain areas. For example, your child might show extraordinary mathematical aptitude. Or they may be way ahead of their peers in sports or music (or science). You get the idea.
And the first step of nurturing a gifted child is to find out their ability. Because this will help you provide them with the right resources, training, and experiences according to their ability. A child gifted in math will not benefit from music classes. But a math tutor via a platform like Cluey Learning will greatly help them take their math skills to the next level.
A gifted child’s ability is pretty obvious, so make sure to pay attention and pick it up early in their life. This will give you plenty of time to nurture their talent as they grow up.
- Look beyond their special talent
As the parent of a gifted child, it’s easy to fixate on their talent (and ignore everything else). Sure, it’s important to nurture their talent and help them take it to the next level. But it’s not okay to keep them away from other experiences and activities.
You should understand that your child’s special ability is not their only source of entertainment and joy. Just like other humans, gifted children need a wide range of experiences to grow up as confident, well-rounded human beings. Here’s more on how to keep your kids entertained and healthy.
It’s also important to expose your child to a bit of failure, which they’re unlikely to encounter in areas they excel at. Without exposure to failure, your child will never learn to handle it and is likely to get severely disheartened when they do eventually encounter it. Because some failure in life is inevitable, no matter how gifted you are. Here’s an excellent post by Child Mind Institute on how to help kids learn to fail.
- Ensure they are aware of their ability
It’s common for parents of gifted children to hide their ability from them. For example, they might withhold the results of an IQ test from their child to prevent them from becoming “overconfident”.
This is a bad idea. Because if your child is unaware of their talent, they might never fully pursue it. Plus, knowing that you’re gifted is a source of confidence and happiness, which can do wonders for your child’s success.
Instead of keeping your child in the dark, it’s much better to teach them the importance of staying humble. It’s also important to teach them that raw talent can take them only so far in life. Hard work, consistency, discipline, charisma, and street smartness are as vital for professional success as being gifted is.
A good adage to imprint in your child’s mind right from the beginning is hard work wins when talent doesn’t work hard.
It’s also important to discourage comparison. All of us like to compare ourselves to others to feel better.
Gifted children are more likely to do this because they are aware of their intelligence. And they might ask you to validate their comparison. Make sure you don’t. Because it not only instills a sense of superiority in your child, but might also be insulting to other children (and their parents).
- Understand that they might not always stay at the top
Your child may be ahead of their peers at school right now. But it’s very likely that this is due to an intellectual growth spurt they are having — or due to the fact that the average intelligence of their class is a bit low.
This means as your child grows up, they might end up at the same intellectual level as most other people. This can be disturbing, especially when a person enters university, where the environment is highly competitive and everyone you meet seems to be the most intelligent person on earth.
As a parent, you must accept this reality and not blame your child for their “dropping intelligence”. This is another reason behind tip #2 in this article. When you expose your child to activities they are not extraordinary at, growing up to be at the same intelligence level as most other people becomes a bit easier for them.
- Provide intellectual stimulus
Once you’ve determined your child’s special ability, it’s time to provide them with intellectual challenges related to it.
Luckily, you don’t have to stimulate the mind of a gifted child too much to get them going. A slight intellectual stimulus is enough to get them thinking and make the best use of their gifted mind.
One of the easiest ways to provide intellectual stimulus to a gifted child is talking to them. You can simply ask them questions about their interests to spark a discussion. But be ready to answer a lot of questions too because gifted children are extremely curious.
Gifted children are also very observant, which is why it’s a good idea to take them outdoors and expose them to new environments. For example, if your child seems to be brilliant at science or geography, a simple stroll down a park is enough to get their mind racing.
You can also consider sending your gifted child to a special educational center designed for gifted children. This will provide them non-stop intellectual stimulation as they engage with other children of similar intelligence and get taught by trained teachers.
But keep in mind that this might be a bit disturbing for your child as they struggle with the notion that they’re not the only one to be gifted.
Of course, age-appropriate books and toys related to your child’s interest are a must. Here is how you can find the right books for your child (and here’s a similar guide for toys).
- Don’t forget to work on their social skills
Gifted children find it difficult to relate to other, “normal” children. Some gifted children have high-functioning autism, which makes social interaction even more difficult for them.
So it’s important that you work on your child’s social skills right from the beginning. Sending your child to a specialized center for gifted children is especially helpful in this regard. When your child interacts with other gifted children, they can use some of their advanced vocabulary without feeling awkward.
Here are the 7 most important social skills you should encourage in your child.
- Don’t be too hard on them
Finally, remember that nobody is perfect. It’s easy to expect too much from a gifted child. And since gifted children tend to be naturally perfectionist, added expectations from parents and teachers can be a source of significant anxiety and stress for them.
Remind your child that you love them regardless of their achievements and that you’ll always be on their side. Also, remember to praise your child’s efforts (and not only the results). This will remind them that their hard work is valued and keep them motivated as they work towards excellence!