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Sarah was just two years old when her mother discovered she had a knack for playing the violin. By the age of four she was playing like a professional. At age six she started writing her own compositions. Now barely eight years old, she is a sought after violinist, and recently released her first album. Sarah is by no means your average child; rather, she is among the estimated 6% of children in the US who have been identified as being gifted. This is largely defined by their ability to master an adult activity at a very young age.
Gifted children are naturally very curious. In addition, they also very creative, quick learners, voracious readers, intuitive, emotionally sensitive, and have a tendency to be perfectionists.
Below are some tips that can be useful when parenting these children.
Provide support and encouragement. Parents must make every effort to encourage their abilities, and satisfy their quest for knowledge. Some parents opt to home school their gifted kids. This is because they are academically advanced, and the normal school system does not provide the stimulation they need. As a result, they become easily bored. In order to perform at the highest level, they must be challenged. Holding them back can prove very detrimental.
There are cases of persons whose gifts were not unearthed until very late in life, because at an early age, they were not in an environment that provided stimulation.
Ensure that they understand that their gift does not define who they are. Help them to recognize that their gift relates to a talent or ability, it is something they can do, not who they are. While it is a very important part of their persona, there are many other things that they are capable of doing. Therefore, it is a good idea to help them develop other interests, and take part in additional activities.
Do not neglect discipline. There is sometimes the temptation for parents to be so overawed by the gift, that rules of conduct are neglected. There is also the tendency to treat these children as equals, due to their above average intelligence, and ability to comprehend and reason at an adult level. However, the gifted child must be made to understand that despite their amazing abilities, they are still children in need of guidance and direction. Consequently, very clear standards of discipline must be set.
If there are other children in the home, maintain a balance. Never focus all your attention on the gifted child and neglect the others. This is vital, as they can be very demanding, and tend to be more intense, thereby requiring more attention. Ensure that they understand and appreciate the fact that, there are other members of the family, whose needs are equally important.
While parenting your gifted child ensure that you enjoy their gift, communicate openly, and encourage them. Perhaps one of the key things is to help them to focus not only on performing exceptionally, but also, on learning as much as possible. Ensure that they learn to interact with others, and get pleasure from the gift they have been given.
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