In a country of more than a billion people, being the parent of a gifted child can make you feel blessed. According to the article, 'The Gifted Child's Right to Education', published on the website of Teachers of India, "Assuming normal probability, gifted children would comprise approximately 3% of the population…."
While it will leave you feeling immensely proud that you are the parent of a gifted child, it also places a huge responsibility on your shoulders. You need to nurture his exceptional abilities and help him develop those qualities. However, if you are unaware of the right way to guide your gifted child and encourage him, he may not be able to fulfill his potential. Here is how you can nurture his talents and skills:
- Have engaging conversations: Children need to expand their vocabulary, understand what others are trying to convey, learn to verbalise thoughts and ideas, and read others' body language and tone of voice. By engaging your child in a conversation, not only will you help him acquire such skills, but also pass on your fund of knowledge to him. This will put him at an advantage. To do so, use everyday routines for these discussions. For example, when gazing at the night sky, you could tell him about the solar system.
- Encourage asking questions: It is also important to teach and encourage your child to ask questions. This will help develop her critical thinking ability and make her an active participant in the learning process. To encourage this habit, model asking good questions yourself, guide her towards asking open-ended questions that require comprehensive explanations, rather than short 'yes' or 'no' answers. And do not hesitate to appreciate perceptive questions. If you don't know the answer to a question or are running short of time, tell your child that you will get back to her later with the answer. Remember, never show your annoyance when your child comes to you with a question.
- Develop talents: A gifted child is blessed with several special abilities. Observe him to understand what he is interested in and is passionate about. For example, does he prefer to play with building blocks, solve riddles and puzzles, engage in physical activities, or enter into debates? Once you identify your child's talents, find ways to develop them. If your child is enthusiastic about building blocks, give him challenges like building a table for his toy cars or, a magazine stand. You can also ask him to construct things using playing cards, straws, matchsticks and so on.
- Set challenges: A highly talented child loves challenges. A curious nature, urge to tinker with things she sets her hands on, and the ability to master skills quickly — make such children thrive when presented with challenges. Look for opportunities to test your child's abilities and connect her with peers who have similar interests or abilities.
- Teach prioritisation skills: A gifted child has varied interests and involves himself in several activities. This can lead to over-commitment and an increase in stress levels. Therefore, teach your child to prioritise. This will help him choose what he wants to do and when, and prevent him from feeling overburdened.
- Allow free time: While you set challenges and expose her to different activities to uncover and enhance her talents, keep in mind that your child too needs free time like others her age. Unstructured free time will give her a break from the routine, help her de-stress, bond with friends, and prevent her from feeling bored.
- Praise effort: Praise can be immensely motivating to a child. And, when you see your gifted child doing well, you may want to applaud those abilities. Instead of doing so, praise the effort. This will reinforce to your child that talent bears fruit only when it is supported by hard work.
As a parent of a gifted child, it is your responsibility to encourage and inspire your child. You need to provide him with the right opportunities and guide him towards success. Remember, your gifted child will flourish only when his talents are fully supported.
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