Do’s and Don’t For Supporting a Gifted Child
It’s a wonderful feeling, knowing your child is gifted. They’re intelligent, they’re quick to learn new things, they’re curious about the world around them, and they do well on school assignments without really trying.
However, sometimes these advanced children get ahead of themselves. They learn things about life faster than their parents would like, and sometimes end up nihilistic and apathetic as a result. They get bored in school and fail to complete assignments when they don’t see the point.
Supporting a gifted child at school and at home is not the same as dealing with other children. Here are some do’s and don’t you as a parent should follow in keeping your gifted child going.
– Forget who is the child and who is the parent
You cannot assume that your gifted child is capable of making decisions about their schooling or their extracurricular activities. That puts way too much pressure on the child. It is your job as parents to decide what activities will best build your child’s mind.
– Overschedule your child
Just because a child is gifted does not mean they need to be in activities every hour of the day. Children need time to relax on their own and to socialize with their friends in an unstructured setting. Provide enough opportunities for them to explore and discover what makes them happy, but outside those activities, allow your child the freedom to vegetate, think, and so on.
– Use a gifted child as an example to siblings or classmates
Telling other children that the gifted child is someone to emulate is going to lead to social tension. The gifted child may choose to tone down expression of their abilities in order to avoid being ostracized. Plus, it isn’t fair to tell other children that their effort is going to have the same effect on their success as the natural talents of a gifted child.
– Hide facts about their abilities from them.
Share what you know about their IQ and other test results with your gifted child. Don’t be afraid that knowing these things will make them vain or give them an attitude. Instead, it’s going to make it easier for the child to understand why they are different from their peers. This knowledge may make it simpler for them to interact and even make it easier for them to make new friends.
– Provide opportunities for your child to grow
Give your child room to discover what activities pique their interest. Let your child try a range of activities and express to you, which one is the best fit, without necessarily pushing them to decide which they should continue immediately. Help them see which skills are most important to a functioning adult and allow them to practice those skills in a low-stress environment. Growth can be provided by an in-home private tutor like A Team Tuition where the strategy is not just tuition but developing and mentoring the child.
– Tell your child when they’ve done well
All children need reassurance that they are completing tasks successfully. Gifted children are no exception. Be generous with compliments when your child has done something exceptional. This is especially true if the child put a lot of effort into a project, whether a hobby or something for a grade at school.
– Provide intellectual challenges
Enrolment in a traditional school environment teaches a gifted child to underachieve, because they don’t have to try very hard to meet basic objectives. Instead of allowing them to slide by with just succeeding, give them other chances to stretch their intellectual muscles. Your gifted child needs the opportunity to work hard at something, to struggle, and perhaps even to fail, otherwise they may suffer from perfectionism and test anxiety later in their school career.
– Enjoy this time with your gifted child
Your gifted child is likely to have a sense of humour and a vocabulary to match your own. They will likely have more in common with you (and other adults) than they do with their peers. They are also likely to be highly perceptive to your moods and needs. This gives you a unique opportunity to bond with your gifted child in a way that many parents cannot.
Parenting a gifted child is different from having a typical child, but it’s important to remember that your gifted child is still a child. You are still responsible for teaching them and helping them grow both in their academic pursuits and as people in general. There are many things you can do to help them reach their full potential.
The tips on this list are just the start of the ways you can support your gifted child at school and at home. You are your child’s first and best teacher; you know his or her strengths and weaknesses better than anyone. You are best equipped to determine how to support them.