Every child is special
All parents want to believe their children are special and unique, and they are! But some children are destined to be the next great thinkers. How can you tell if your little one is more than just smart and in the leagues of Einstein, Mozart, or Marie Curie? How do you know if you’re raising a child genius? The National Association for Gifted Children estimates that 3 million children in the U.S. are gifted. (They define “gifted” as “those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude or competence in one or more domains.”) Assessing whether a child meets this criteria is far more complicated than simply relying on test scores, that’s for sure. In fact, many educators look for other signs of exceptional intelligence that cannot be measured by a test or exam. Be on the look out for the following signs that you might have a future Mensa member on your hands.
Racing through milestones
One of the first signs that you may be raising a genius appears very early on in a child’s life. Achieving developmental milestones way before predicted can be a sign that your child is ready to be challenged. Eboni Hollier, MD, board certified in developmental and behavioral pediatrics says, “Many parents of gifted children note that they often master developmental milestones at an earlier age than expected. In particular, language skills may be significantly above age level. Many gifted children often develop an extensive vocabulary and speak in complex sentences at an early age,” she says.
Early pattern recognition
Pint-sized geniuses will begin to recognize repetition at an early age but it’s not just simple color or shape patterns that catch their eye. Niranjan Reddy, Ph.D, from SuperBaby suggests that gifted children not only notice patterns and shapes in games and activities but can also see repeated behaviors, activities, and actions more easily than their peers. “Gifted children notice everything, from which bus passes the house after breakfast time to how many bricks can fit inside the toy trunk. They are very good at observing and remembering key information,” he says.
Curiosity about the world
Smart kids are interested in the world around them, but real geniuses have an insatiable curiosity to find out about the very minutia of how things work. From inquiring about every single mammals individual eating habits to insisting on knowing exactly how the toaster works, super smart kids will test their parents patience with an unending stream of questions.
A detailed knowledge or interest in their favorite topic
Gifted children will often have in-depth knowledge in one particular subject specialism or area of interest. This might mean they can tell you the scientific name of every dinosaur or explain the internal workings of a car engine. Whatever the topic a child prodigy’s knowledge is usually all encompassing. As an article in Science Daily explains “a prodigy is someone who, by the age of roughly 11, displays expert proficiency or a profound grasp of the fundamentals in a field usually only undertaken by adults.”
Preferring the company of adults or older peers
Gifted children may find it difficult to relate to their peers who may have different interests and abilities. Very smart kids can often feel bored in class as the work is too easy for them and will seek out more stimulating conversation with older peers and adults. You can help your child to make friends with people of all ages by teaching them social skills and empathy.
Focus and determination
Gifted children have perseverance for sticking with a task or habit until they have mastered it. Sunny Verma, founder and CEO of Tutorbright says, “Gifted children typically have an amazing sense of focus. When given a task, they tend to work on it without distractions until completion. TV, video games, and social media do not divert their attention, allowing them to finish with efficiency.”
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