Discovering your child is gifted can be wonderful for a parent. However, your child does not have to running about composing symphonies to be considered ‘gifted.’ So how do you tell if your child is gifted or just simply bright? And what’s the best way to identify and nurture their specific talents?
Babies and Infants
Some infant studies show that babies and infants can show signs of giftedness at a very early age. This might include speaking several words at an early age or being able to construct sentences and statements at around 18 months. Gifted babies are also unusually good at problem solving. They might identify and solve problems or puzzles easily or understand how to transfer their learned skills into a different area. Infants can also be considered gifted if they get bored easily or need constant change or stimulus to keep them occupied.
And yet, a gifted child can be difficult to determine at this early age. If you do recognise some of these signs, it can help to think of ways to stimulate, motivate and challenge your child. Perhaps more complex toys or puzzles are needed. Or you may want to take them to a baby “learning class.” If you’ve got the time, you may even want to consider using teaching resources to teach them yourself at home.
In children aged 2–4 years, giftedness may be more apparent. Again, the child may be bored with the level of stimuli given to them and may be constantly seeking out new areas of interest. While they might appear bored or uninterested with some things, other topics or activities will hold their attention for a long period of time.
Signs of giftedness in children can include:
- asking mature questions
- learning to read quickly
- having a high level of concentration when interested in something
- expressing strong opinions
- learning new concepts
- using intuition and instinct to approach or solve problems.
Gifted children also tend to have excellent memories and are able to see and assess the relationship between ideas, facts and objects. If you think your child is gifted or has potential in one particular area, take steps to nurture this. Enrol them in a fun class, talk to them about their interests or look for educational resources that you can introduce into the home.
Primary School Children
At school, it can be much easier to determine if your child is gifted because you have the support of educational programs and tests to help you. Parents can look out for signs like high grades and ratings at school, strong imaginations, fast and accurate completion of homework or simply a determined interest or passion in one particular area (maths, reading, sport, music, etc.).
You can also gauge if your child is gifted by feedback from teachers. Later on, IQ tests and quizzes can also give you an insight into your child’s brain. You may want to consider enrolling your child in extra-curricular activities, moving them up a grade or even transferring them to a ‘gifted’ or ‘selective’ school that can better nurture their talents.
By the time your child is a teenager, you should already have strong evidence showing whether or not they are gifted. They might excel in all areas or they might have developed a talent in one, specific area and will maintain this passion independently.
Further ways of nurturing your child come from providing them with the right environment and resources to cultivate their talents. For example, if your child is gifted at music, you may want to consider moving them to a performing arts school or a music conservatorium or getting them extra music lessons. If your child is a skilled athlete, you might want to consider getting them sponsorship or transferring them to a sports high school.