how can parents of gifted children nurture their intellectual growth
“Gifted children are not really like the others but, like the others, they are children”
– Dr. Olivier Revol
What is ‘Giftedness’?
Every child is a gift from God. Every single child is a blessing and reward for the parents. So, there can never be a comparison between any two children. One child may be highly creative; the other child may be a great artist while another could be a genius in Science or Mathematics.
A child who excels significantly in one or more of such domains when compared to others of his or her age is said to be ‘Gifted’. These children (with an IQ level above 180) develop asynchronously, and the development of their minds is earlier than their physical growth and also earlier than the average children in imagination, emotions, reading and talking.
How to identify a gifted child?
Gifted children commonly exhibit the following characteristics:
1) Gifted children often dislike routine tasks. They always look for something new to break the monotonous routine and try to refresh themselves every time.
2) Extensive vocabulary – A gifted child has a high degree of word power which implies a greater depth of knowledge.
3) Outstanding memory – These gifted people have extraordinary memory abilities which can be in the form of sustained memory span, good recall of sounds, visuals, events, etc. which happened many years ago.
4) A gifted child is highly imaginative and more emotionally sensitive to the world around him/her.
5) A gifted child is intensely curious and precocious than the other children of the same age.
6) Gifted children are perfectionists, so it is essential to explain to them that making mistakes is a part of learning.
7) These children have a long attention span and can spend hours doing something that they find interesting.
8) Gifted people have excellent observation skills.
9) Gifted children enjoy learning independently and require fewer instructions in their learning process. They try to find unique ways to solve problems.
10) Gifted children have great thinking and reasoning skills.
There cannot be any single measure that can be used to identify a gifted child.
THE REALITY OF GIFTED CHILDREN
A gifted child is labeled as ‘Genius’, ‘Studious’, ‘Bright’, etc. The child finds it difficult to be different and faces many problems. These children make mistakes purposely as they try to avoid getting noticed and being called different. Such children find it more difficult when their giftedness is ignored or rejected. Some teachers and parents feel that such children are so talented that they should do things on their own and also they should adapt themselves to the level of other children of their age.
It is the responsibility of the parents, teachers, and friends of the gifted kids to help these children lead a happy life emotionally, academically and socially by recognizing and accepting them. If children get the right opportunities to nurture their amazing potential in a safe and supportive environment, only then, they will be able to develop their abilities to a higher level.
It is almost a miracle that modern teaching methods have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for what this delicate little plant needs more than anything, besides stimulation, is freedom.”– Albert Einstein
What are their needs and how parents can help them?
Gifted learners have an insatiable appetite for knowledge and self-expression. They want to explore, learn more and grow more. They always look for new challenges and try their best to excel in everything they do. Parents play the most significant role in a child’s development. Parents are the first teachers in a child’s life. It is the responsibility of every parent to provide a supportive and responsive environment for their child’s development as per their unique needs and areas of interest.
Like all other children, a gifted child’s education starts early in childhood. To help gifted children grow intellectually, parents should praise the effort they put in to achieve something rather than their inherent ability, thereby supporting the child to develop a ‘growth mindset’. Parents should encourage their children to take intellectual risks, accept failures positively and teach them to learn from their mistakes.
Labeling the child should be avoided since being identified as gifted can be an emotional burden.
Gifted children have a tremendous ability to grasp complex concepts, so they will always require more complex tasks and opportunities to nurture their innovative and curious minds.
Parents can nurture the intellectual growth of their children in the following ways:
|Being identified as gifted is a huge emotional burden for a gifted child. Everyone expects these children to excel in whatever they do. However, parents need to acknowledge their accomplishments; however, they perform. This will reduce the burden for their children as gifted people are always under tremendous pressure to be perfect.|
|People usually fail to understand a gifted child’s extreme degree of strength and needs. Sometimes the only place where children feel safe to express themselves without being judged is their home. So parents need to provide a safe place for their children to speak out and discuss their problems.|
|Gifted children love to get involved in many things happening around them and like to decide what is right or wrong, so parents need to include their children in family conversations. This may provide a new perspective and ideas to the child. Parents should involve their child in decision making whenever possible by giving them various choices.|
|Parents should make their children understand that failure is the stepping stone to success. Gifted children need to learn how problems can be used as opportunities for growth and learning.|
|Parents of gifted children should often talk to their children which will help in their child’s education and growth. Parents can share their own experiences and views with their children since these gifted children’s curious minds would always want to know more. Parents can provide reading materials like magazines, manuals (for kids to learn how things work), newspapers, a collection of poems, travel brochures (to learn about geography), encyclopedia, etc. They should provide opportunities for creative writing or art projects. If children are interested in learning about how things work, parents can help them to build cars, airplanes, making of a robot, or play games with them. There are many games (strategy games, thinking games, and creative games) that have been developed for gifted and talented children.|
A lot of love, care and attention are required to be given by parents and teachers to enhance every child’s potential and realize every child’s giftedness.
This is my message to all the parents of gifted children: Enjoy living with your gifted child. Although it is a never-ending challenge, it is an unbelievable joy!