Supporting Your Gifted Child

  • Remember that they are still children.
    They need love, but controls; attention, but discipline; parental involvement, yet training in self-dependence and responsibility.

    Help children learn to perform tasks themselves.
    Teaching responsibility for one’s own actions and decisions is one of the most important things to help children learn.

    Emphasize the importance of doing well in school.
    Support verbal expression, discussing ideas, poetry, and music. Read to your child and model reading within the household.

    Be careful not to “shut down” the gifted child who asks questions.
    In particular, children should not be scolded for asking questions, nor should it be inferred that a subject is improper or forbidden. Parents may ask that certain questions not be asked at inappropriate times, or require the child to sharpen or rephrase the question to clarify it. Also, know that observant children may pick up on adult worries— about illness, finances, war, etc.— but not have the experience to cope with what they observe. Give reassurance in an age-appropriate way.

    Encourage children who have hobbies to follow through on them.
    The gifted child usually has a wide and versatile range of interests, but may struggle to concentrate on one area for a long time. Parents should help gifted children strive for real performance and mastery, rather than “going through” a lot of hobbies or collections in a short time.

    Take the initiative in leading children on trips to museums, art galleries, educational institutions, historical places, and other opportunities where collections of various sorts may enhance background learning.

    Understand the difference between pushing and intellectual stimulation.
    Parents should seek in every way to stimulate and widen the child’s mind through suitable experiences in books, recreation, travel, and the arts… without forcing the child into learning about a particular topic.

    Respect the child and the child’s knowledge, which at times may be better than your own.
    Assume your child means to do right, and that deviations from what is expected are not intentional. Allow as much liberty as possible on unimportant issues.

    Avoid over-structuring children’s lives so that they don’t have any free time.
    Children need free time to allow for creative thinking and imaginative play.