While all parents find their children fascinating and exceptional (and they are), sometimes a child just seems to be outside the norm and exceptionally bright. Since children are all extraordinary in their own way, it can be hard to know if your child is truly gifted in an area. (After all, to a first time parent, the first spit bubble that their newborn produces is amazing!)
1. A gifted child will start to show some differences in young childhood
Gifted children are curious, highly energetic, often prone to not sleeping, and achieve developmental milestones (not necessarily the physical ones) at an earlier age and progress through them more rapidly than their peers.
2. A gifted child may enter school already knowing how to read
The process of learning to read will often have been accelerated and perhaps have happened without any or much formal instruction. Reading for a gifted child may be more as a means to gather information than for entertainment.
3. Gifted children may have difficulties making friends that are age peers
A young gifted child may approach another child at the playground who is playing with plastic animals. The gifted child may become frustrated and even infuriated by his peer’s play if an African elephant is playing near a tiger. This different level of play makes it challenging as a parent of a gifted child. It puts you into the unique position of either being one of your child’s primary playmates or letting your child play with an older child that is more intellectually on the same level as he is.
4. Your gifted child may have a vast vocabulary and be interested in a wide variety of topics.While many children are curious, a gifted child takes this to another level and will be intensely curious. They may devour any and all information at their disposal. They may go beyond liking dinosaurs, and learn all of the vital statistics about every breed of dinosaur.
5. Your gifted child may be friendly and adult like with others
They may also appear to be rigid and become very frustrated when things do not go their way. (Remember the kiddo in the sandbox example?)
6. Your gifted child might have a real knack for retaining information
She may seem to have a card catalog type organization system to her memory. She will be able to recall small details about events or information that others would probably miss. (“Remember when we had car trouble that one time? You were wearing your blue tennis shoes and the leak from the car came out in a semi-circular pattern onto the street.”)
7. Another trait that you may notice in your gifted child is an ability to focus
She will remain with a task with a longer attention span than normal (provided that the activity engages her mind) and be able to creatively solve problems. In this same pattern, your child may selectively pay attention to what interests her and ignore the rest. Your child may be able to see multiple perspectives and struggle with keeping things in balance.
8. Your gifted child may show a certain musical or other artistic talent at a young age
This can be another instance of being able to do something that is beyond his years in expectations.
9. Your gifted child will likely have a very personable personality
She will be fairly easy to work with. In a setting with other children, gifted children can often be found off by themselves reading about the American Revolution, (or whatever else strikes their fancy) while their peers are having a lesson about not using the glue sticks as lip balm.
10. Finally, your gifted child will likely have a passionate and intense personality
They are passionate about the world and engage in the world in a way that is unusual. They may take up causes for others more easily and become quite driven.
A. Lynn Scoresby, founder and president of My Family Track , First Answers , and Achievement Synchrony , and has been a marriage and family psychologist for more than 35 years. He has published more than 20 books and training programs.