Gifted children have a great capacity to learn quickly and efficiently. This is almost always a positive quality. The downside to this is that your child may feel bored and unmotivated when they have to keep the slower pace of peers in a group who may take a little longer to grasp the concepts taught. Your gifted child may also feel bored or unchallenged when they are working on any task that they do not find stimulating.
Many gifted children have specific areas that interest them and they prefer to focus on these areas. They may have trouble keeping focused when the subject matter is of little interest to them. Here are some ways that you as a parent can bring motivation and a good challenge to your gifted child.
Focus on Their Interests
Your child will naturally gravitate towards the things that interest him (or her) the most. Make it your goal to find time to develop these interests in your child. He will appreciate the things that appeal to him and it will stimulate his innate love of learning. This will help your child even in other subjects he is not naturally inclined to enjoy.
Nothing turns off a gifted child more than feeling like he is wasting time on unnecessary subject matter. If your child despises math but loves music, show him how the two relate, and how math will help him develop the technical side of his musical talent to an even greater level. Explaining to your child how the things they learn relate to the things they love is the best way to encourage cooperation.
Develop New Interests
Your child may hang tightly onto a few key interests to the exclusion of all else. Even if your gifted child shows distaste for trying a new activity he is not interested in – and he likely will at times – make him try new things anyway. It is through trying new things that his world will expand. Besides, who knows what new activity may become his next favorite?
Give Positive Feedback
Encourage your child. Be his biggest supporter. When your child accomplishes something big, let him know you are proud. Be sure to also encourage him when you see that he is willing to try new things, or working steadily at the daily tasks that feel like drudgery to him. Focus on the character attributes that you see in your child rather than making him believe that you only admire his intelligence.
Partner with School
It is important for any parent to partner with their child’s school. It is especially true for the parent of gifted and exceptional children. Check homework daily, be in contact with your child’s teacher, and be involved wherever possible. Speak highly of education and the school staff when your child is around. They are sure to pick up on and mimic the slightest negativity, if you express it. The negativity will begin to taint their own views and attitudes.
Motivating and challenging your gifted child can be a huge task. However, there are many things you can do to accomplish this goal. Diligently watch and listen to your child. He or she will give you cues as to what need is going unfulfilled. The cues can usually be seen in the details that are shared with you.Write down reminders when you get an idea. Usually, the more creative the idea is, the more likely it will pique your child’s interest.
Having taught exceptional children (and having been one myself) I understand how difficult things can be on both sides. Here are a few books that may help you understand and work with your gifted child better.
Raising a Left-Brain Child in a Right-Brain World: Help Bright, Quirky, Socially Awkward Children Thrive