I am the mother of two wonderful daughters. Both of my daughters are very bright, intelligent and delightful. My older daughter was deemed to be gifted at a very young age. Being the proud mother that I am, I certainly felt she was very advanced, but it was not until she attended elementary school that I realized she was definitely academically ahead of her classmates. Here are some clear signs that your child falls into the gifted category as well:
1. Your Child Is Very Advanced in Language Skills From a Young Age
If your son or daughter developed strong language skills at an early age and uses vocabulary far more advanced than his or her peers, this is a very strong indicator that your child is gifted. My husband and I were amazed at the vocabulary my daughter developed and used in the right context well before she attended preschool. She seemed to have a hunger for words and their meanings and loved to converse with everyone she came in contact with. Later I learned that this was one of the first signs that she was gifted.
2. Your Son or Daughter Is Very Curious. All children have a natural sense of curiosity, but with gifted children it goes a bit further. Children that are truly gifted become extremely curious about topics that interest them and have an insatiable desire to learn everything they can about those interests. For example, my daughter has always had a great love for animals, and from the time she was in kindergarten, she collected as many facts about animals as she could. Instead of cartoons or comic books, she wanted to watch documentaries and educational television about animals and read non-fiction books that added to her wealth of knowledge on the subject.
3. Your Child Prefers the Company of Older Children and Adults
Gifted children often prefer to engage with older children and adults over their peers. They often have a sense of maturity about them that is unusual for their chronological age. While my daughter could certainly be just as silly as other children her age, she always had that old soul quality to her. She wanted to stay in the room with the adults at holiday gatherings and birthday parties instead of running around with her cousins. If your child shows similar interest, allow your child to stay with the adults sometimes for intellectual stimulation. At other times you might want to encourage your child to spend time with the other children so he or she can develop socially.
4. Your Child Passionately Argues With You
My daughter became somewhat difficult to get along with when she was in third grade. My daughter’s teacher that year let me know exactly what was going on. I happened to mention to her at the Parent Teacher Conference that we were having a bit of conflict since my darling girl had recently become very argumentative and stubborn when she disagreed with us. Her teacher told me that is a very clear indication of a gifted child, as they always feel that they are right. It was like a light bulb went off in my head. It explained so much to me, and still does. While I don’t tolerate any disrespect from her, I do allow her to disagree with me when she feels the need to do so. She is always very passionate about her side of the argument, and now that she is just about a teenager, I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.
5. Your Son or Daughter Has a Highly Developed Sense of Humor
Having a clever and witty sense of humor that seems to be a bit out of place with the child’s age is another clear sign of a gifted child. For example, my daughter told her very first joke to us when she was two years old. This was not a joke that she had heard before and just memorized. It was a very funny retort to a question that I asked her. She then proceeded to laugh hysterically at her own joke. My husband and I looked at each other in amazed amusement. To this day she has a very mature sense of humor that is quite observational in nature. She truly makes me laugh along with her each and every day.
Gifted children need to be challenged academically so that they live up to their potential. They also need ample time to socialize with their peers so that they do not lack in friendships or fail to develop in that area. Your child’s pediatrician and school administration can work with you on a plan that will ensure your child achieves success in the classroom, but also joy and companionship in the schoolyard.