Your child is active and alert; they ask endless questions and often surprise you with their insight – and their vocabulary. They are imaginative, creative, and pursue their passions with enthusiasm. So why are they struggling so much in school? For many gifted children, school is indeed a challenge. They often get bored or find the work too easy. This can lead to poor grades and even disruptive behavior. A gifted and talented education (GATE) program can help, but so can you!
Supporting Your Gifted Child
The best way to support your child is to provide opportunities for learning and growth – and fun! New, different, and engaging experiences help keep those brains active.
- Nurture their interests. If your child shows an affinity for and talent in art, for example, supply crayons, pencils, paints, clay, paper, canvas, books, and other materials they need to create. You don’t need to “push” them – they’ll pursue these interests happily.
- Expose them to new activities. Whether your child has found their passion or not, it is important to expose them to different activities and areas for growth. They love art? Great! But take them to science museums. Play math games on the computer. Listen to live music, go to sporting events, visit new cities or neighborhoods in your own area, let them help you cook interesting cultural dishes … the list goes on and on.
- Check in. When your child is at or above grade level, it can be tempting to “slack” when it comes to checking in on homework or making sure they’re doing their reading each night. Don’t! Stay involved with their education, and make sure they know that you prioritize their learning.
- Let them play. Or sit and think. Or do nothing. Let them be kids. Downtime recharges their batteries. And don’t be afraid to let your child be bored! This is fertile ground for creativity.
- Let them fail. Gifted kids often sail through activities that their peers are challenged by; expose them to new challenges – and let them fail. This teaches them perseverance and the reality that they are not perfect. And that’s perfectly wonderful. They’ll learn to dust themselves off, try again, fail again, try something different…. In other words, they’ll learn to deal with life!
- Choose a school that supports them. Many schools struggle to accommodate gifted children. When you find the right fit for your child, they will be empowered to pursue their passions and interests and challenged to develop new skills and competencies. A school with a strong GATE program can be a game-changer for your child.
Gifted and talented education programs are important for our children, but remember: you are the best teacher, role model, and guide they can possible have. Ideally, your school, teachers, and administrators work with you to provide the best opportunities for your gifted child.