Have you got a child who is gifted? Being a parent to a child who does not fit neatly into “the box” can be stressful because you want the best for them and want them to be happy. At the beginning of the school year, talk to your child’s teacher. Give them any reports that might be useful and then allow the teacher a few weeks to get to know your child. All children learn differently and your child won’t necessarily have the same needs as a prior student. Each and every child is an individual and not all gifted children learn best in the same environment or in the same way. It is important that the teacher finds the best way for your child to learn. Whilst the settling in stage is in motion, send along books for your child to read in case they find themselves bored with nothing to do. Tell the teacher you are doing this.
Don’t expect extra work for your child to complete. Hopefully your child’s teacher will find ways for your child to explore the topic in greater depth and from different angles rather than more of the same work which is not necessarily helpful. You shouldn’t want your child to have yet more homework or bore them. Your relationship with your child doesn’t need the extra burden of more homework!
It is really important that gifted children have a healthy balance between school work, social play and relaxation. Nurture your child’s friendships with others. If your child is awkward in social situations encourage them to be friendly towards others and help them to develop social skills.
Find local activities in the community that your child is willing to participate in that encourage social interaction. Visiting the library together is a great free activity as is playing at the local park.
Nurture your child at home and expect the school to as well. Support your child’s teacher and remember that you might not always be 100% happy but as long as your child is enjoying school and developing as a thinker then that is exactly what you should strive towards. Giftedness thrives when a child feels loved and understood as does the child. This piece was originally written for Kidspot in 2011 as part of their Buddies Bright ideas series.