How to recognize, and handle, a gifted child at preschool age

How to recognize, and handle, a gifted child at preschool age

Renee EllisonDec 9, '20

The obvious signs of giftedness in a preschool child can include an unusually strong tactile grip, fine motor skills and keen auditory discrimination skills …i.e. the child can mimic pronunciations of words he or she may have never heard before.

If these and other obvious signs of giftedness are there, the way you as her (or his) parents manage it is critical. Here are some tips. As the child grows, never speak of his/her giftedness directly to him/her. Praise the child liberally and encourage frequently, yes, but don’t let on that this is out of the ordinary. Don’t draw his/her attention to comparing himself/herself with others their age. Just act like this is normal. Never speak of the child’s giftedness to each other or to friends or relatives in front of the child. Praise the child mostly for character qualities, not for intelligence. “You were so kind, so patient,” etc. Through all the coming years, praise the child for examples of godliness in his/her behavior.

I once saw a gifted Romanian ten-year-old play cello in a concert hall of thousands in a large city. I noted that after the concert all of her relatives surrounded her in a tight circle so that none in the audience could get to her or remark to her. She had no idea how gifted she was, and she remained humble and precious because they shielded her from needless adulation. It was the relatives’ priceless love for her as a developing whole person that made them take this unusual precaution. A gifted person needs to progress all the way to the edges of his or her capacity but never shift from the love of God to the love of self as he or she grows. We as adults have to escort such children wisely to make sure that devotion to the Giver of their gift is kept untarnished.

For more on this topic, read our booklet on Homeschooling a Gifted Child

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