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Gifted Child: Nurturing Advanced Development

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: I went through the gifted characteristic checklist that you provided and our daughter meets every criteria but one, she has never required or needed "little sleep." Everything else was a definite yes. Our daughter is now 22 months old and can memorize songs, tunes, etc very quickly. We read at least an hour to her a day and she has really clear verbal skills.

Other people always comment on how smart she is but I have always let the comments go. It is not unusual for her use 7-8 words per sentence. Am I just over-analyzing here or is there something I need to do to maintain and grow her gifts? Thanks.

A: It is indeed not quite possible for a child to demonstrate every criterion on the checklist, so if she fits in most, she is likely to be advanced compared to her peers. The fact that she is absorbing learning quickly indicated advanced abilities. Sometimes, parents do tend to over analyze their child's potential which may not be very healthy.

What is important for parents here, whether their child is gifted or not, is to nurture the child's potential as much as possible by providing the means and environment to learn. Your daughter appears to be advancing at a higher pace that her age mates, therefore, naturally you would need to maintain that spark and nurture her gifts. Quite simply, the best parents can do is to observe the child well. This requires spending quality time with the child and awareness of their developmental milestone. If your child enjoys reading, make it more interesting for her by getting different kinds of reading materials, pop out picture books, and many other easily available at any bookstore for children.

In fact, if you are a reader, you may want to share, say, the magazine that you are reading with her by explaining the pictures and getting her to do some talking/making stories from the pictures. This will also enhance her communicative skills. Educational toys, visual and audio materials also provide a good base to develop her other senses. It is very important to observe her interests and provide her with what she learns best with. In addition, you need to monitor her advancement in order to keep stimulating her by giving her more difficult material as soon as you observe that she may be getting bored with what she already has. Most importantly, enjoy her growth by involving yourself in her world of discovery. Good luck.


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