As I sat at my sister’s house, chatting away. Her 2.5 year old came up to me and grabbed my arm. She smiled at me and interrupted with a question that shocked me. “Do you have batteries for your car?” I stopped and smiled at her. I couldn’t believe what a intelligent question she had just asked, so I explained that my car ran on gas and not on batteries like her toy ones, she seemed amazed.
It made me realise that our 3 year olds are soaking up every little bit of information from us and the world around them. Most kids will astound us everyday with their thoughtful questions, but some will leap ahead of the others. These children could be gifted, and it’s so important to recognize this as soon as possible so they can be encouraged. Around this time in their lives at 3 years old, gifted children start to pull away from the pack, whether they were born with it or they learn it, some children are destined to do more in their lives than others.
It’s important to recognize their gifted abilities now. If they show even the slightest spark of above average intelligence then they need to be encouraged now and given the chance that they deserve. It will set them on their path to future success.
I have researched all the possible signs that your 3 year old may be gifted, however small and insignificant. I then put together the following test for you. They are all YES / NO questions, so make a note of your answers as you go along and compare the score at the end to find out if your child could be gifted?
3 YEAR OLD GIFTED TEST (18 Questions)
Childhood Intelligence Questionnaire CH-01 A/B.
Time to complete: Approx 10mins.
- Did your child develop their language skills at an earlier age than other kids around them? Examples would be using more words and forming grammatically correct sentences. (YES / NO).
- Can your child understand simple addition and subtraction? (YES / NO).
- Does your child ask lots of questions throughout the day? (YES / NO).
- Are they extremely curious about the world around them? (YES / NO).
- Can your child read some words from story books? (YES / NO).
- Can your child use a phone / tablet independently? (YES / NO).
- Does your child understand some elements of humor? (YES / NO).
- Can your 3 year old write letters, numbers, words or maybe even their own name? (YES / NO).
- Does your child talk to themselves during tasks / playtime? (YES / NO).
- Can your child recall memories that you wouldn’t expect? For example where a relative lives? (YES / NO).
- Does your child display an interest in musical instruments? (YES / NO).
- Could your child complete simple jigsaw / other puzzles? (YES / NO).
- Does your child show a talent beyond their years in something that would be considered unusual in other children?
- Can your child recognize their own name written down? (YES / NO).
- Does your child show interest in math, such as times tables etc? (YES / NO).
- Does your child show exceptional physical talent for their age? (YES / NO).
- Does your child ask unusual questions for their age? (YES / NO).
- Can your child understand concepts of love and family relationships? (YES / NO).
This test isn’t confirmation whether your child will ever be gifted or not, as some children are late bloomers, but it tries to pick out the children in need of nurture for their natural talents. This time is crucial for their future.
To score the test, please count up the amount of times you have answered YES to any of the above questions. The total amount of YES answers is the overall score.
If your score is 7 or Lower:
Your child does not show enough signs that they would be considered gifted at this age. This may be due to their young age, so they should be tested again in the future as some children develop gifts at later stages.
If your score is between 8 and 14:
Your child has many signs of being gifted. This is the time you need to work with your child and encourage their abilities. If you work with them now, you may be able to boost their abilities even more. Their future success may depend on how much extra attention from you that they get in the coming years.
If your score is 15 +:
Your child shows strong signs of being gifted. They are ahead of the pack in terms of development for their age and if you put in the work now to encourage them then there’s no telling what they might achieve in later life. If take the time to nurture their gifts now, they will seriously appreciate it when they grow up.
YOUR CHILD IS GIFTED? HOW TO ENCOURAGE THEM
If you think there is even a chance of your child being gifted then you need to start encouraging them now. All too frequently children can slip through the cracks at school. Early intervention and help can make a big difference so that their talent can stand out.
Highly gifted children are frequently placed at risk in the early years of school through misidentification, inappropriate grade-placementM. Gross (Roeper Review Research Publication)
anda seriously inadequate curriculum.
Parents of gifted children are usually the first to know about it, they know their kids inside out and they can tell when their little one is saying and doing things that are above the normal standards. Unfortunately, schools are unlikely to take your opinion on the subject and will look for more classic academic signs of giftedness. This is why it is important to recognize their talents now and get them to develop in the areas tested at schools so they can access programs for gifted students.
The very early development of speech, movementM. Gross (Roeper Review Research Publication)
andreading in many highly gifted young children serves as a powerful predictor of unusually high intellectual ability.
15 SIMPLE TIPS ON HOW TO ENCOURAGE YOUR GIFTED CHILD
- READ TO THEM:
Reading is the one skill that can influence most of the others on this list. Reading for your child represents part of the language center in their brains. Gifted children often display increased development in their language skills. This is why we need to push them to develop their reading skills further. The other reason is that as they grow older a higher than average reading ability will allow them to excel in other skills. Skilled readers are able to teach themselves.
Encouraging their reading at 3 years old is easy, it just takes time. They can learn so much from your language skills. Just make sure reading is a daily activity in your house. It doesn’t always just have to be at bedtime (although this is a great time to introduce it if you haven’t already). Patience and spare time are the key here.
You can develop reading skills around the house and when you are out and about in your community every single day. Let them read road signs, encourage them to read everything they see, get them to read the menu out at a restaurant. There are plenty of opportunities in our daily lives to get them reading and it all adds up.
- ENCOURAGE THEIR MATHS SKILLS:
I know math isn’t everyone’s favorite subject at school, but it is such a key one. Natural numerical skill doesn’t doesn’t have to be something that we are born with, it can be taught and learnt. If you have a negative view of math as a subject, it’s important not to let your 3 year old soak up that feeling. Try to stay positive, maybe you can re-learn those skills that you used to struggle with and turn it into a bonding experience.
Math is another one of those subjects that links so well into so many other subjects. It’s needed as a base for things like physics, engineering etc. That’s why it is so important to encourage these skills at this young age. Luckily we can weave in maths skills into everyday life. Why not use your 3 year old as your own pocket calculator?
Have your 3 year old add prices at the supermarket, they could take off coupons from the price at the till, or simply add up the numbers of items in the basket. You need to make it fun. You could also sit down with them and show them simple math problems and work through them together, they will thrive on the attention.
- DEVELOP THEIR SOCIAL SKILLS
Encourage your 3 year old to recognize other people’s talents around them. Some children who are gifted can struggle in their social skills. This means it’s important to start them learning early. Make sure they are having enough time socialising with other children their age, they can do this by having them join activity groups or even just at the playground in the local park.
Having them interact with children and adults who are older than them is also a good idea. Make sure it’s with supervision so their interactions are appropriate. The reason why you would want to encourage this is because sometimes gifted children aren’t getting the inspiration to push themselves from children their own age. Playing and interacting with children slightly older than them will boost their development and give them some encouragement to aim higher.
- ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILD’S SEARCH FOR KNOWLEDGE
One important aspect of encouraging your gifted child is to help their natural search for knowledge. The spark in their eye and the constant effort to understand everything around them should be rewarded. I know life is busy and sometimes the time for them to really stop and understand what is going on in their everyday life may get pushed to the wayside when your late for the dentist, or have your hands full of groceries.
Patience and time to indulge their exploration of their lives is the key to encouraging their gift. Explain how the tills at the shop work, how the food gets to the store or how snow is cleared from the roads. They have a whole world to explore, you can enable them to do it.
- USE THE RESOURCES AROUND YOUR COMMUNITY
There are so many resources all around you in the community to take advantage of. Think about all the museums, art galleries, plays, concerts and aquariums. They can all fire your 3 year old’s imagination and spark so many conversations that can lead into learning experiences.
You can’t go to an aquarium without them excited to learn all about fish, you can’t go to a concert without them wanting to take up a musical instrument as soon as they leave the venue. This is what you should encourage, community resources like this give them exposure to ideas and experiences that they wouldn’t have through their everyday lives.
Another community resource that you should take advantage of is your local library. It’s so much more than just books, they have music and films. The library is a hub of activities, it’s a place for people to meet, groups and activity days. It’s a great resource that is sadly underused in most communities. Take your 3 year old and go explore what your local library has to offer.
- ENCOURAGE THEM TO ASK QUESTIONS
I don’t think I have to tell you just how often your 3 year old will ask you questions everyday. A recent study in children found that on average a four year old asked 390 questions in one day. That’s one question every 1 minute 56 seconds! I know that is a lot of questions and yes it does get tiring, but it’s so important that you filter out the less important ones and spend some time trying to answer the more important ones.
Why is the sky blue? Why do I have to sleep? … the list could go on. These types of questions are the ones you should be exploring with your 3 year old. If you don’t know the answer, that’s fine. Find it out together, your 3 year old is going to learn so much just watching how you find out answers to questions. We should be encouraging our gifted children to ask the right questions and they will go very far in life.
You could create a little reference library in your home that they have access to. It could have a visual encyclopedia, a simple dictionary and books about subjects they love, like birds or dinosaurs. This will encourage them to find out information by themselves, which is a very important skill.
- ENCOURAGE THEIR PLAY TIMES
Sometimes play time for your 3 year old can seem unimportant. This couldn’t be further from the truth. If you watch your child during playtime you will notice that they sometimes recreate real social situations with toys as stand in actors. They will also switch roles for themselves so they can see things from different perspectives. Play is a time for your child to act out their ideas and thoughts about the world around them. It helps put everything into place and order in their developing minds.
- INTRODUCE THEM TO SCIENCE
Science is another fundamental subject that your gifted child should have exposure to. Thankfully science can be so fun that it can naturally attract children from a young age. Three years old is the ideal time to be creating experiments that produce goo, studying small insects, and using pasta to construct bridges. Science can fire up their imagination and teach them important problem solving skills.
- LET THEIR CREATIVITY FLOW THROUGH ART
Three year olds love art, they have a natural spark for it. As adults we tend to think of art as drawing but children know better, they know art as finger painting and sculptures with clay. Gifted children will love to let their imagination run free. Art is such a positive outlet for some children and can show a level of intelligence maybe not as apparent in their other academic work. It’s important to help them explore their artistic side as this is where some children might naturally excel.
- EXPOSE THEM TO NEW IDEAS
New ideas are all around us, but sometimes our children haven’t been exposed to a hobby or activity which may become their lifelong passion. I’m sure you can relate, I think we all as adults have had this experience. Think of a hobby / passion you have in your life and think of the first time you experienced it, I bet you had no idea that it was something that you would carry on for such a long period of time. It takes many tries of many different activities to find the ones that fire up your passion. This means you should let your gifted child explore their interests to see what could develop.
- NURTURE THEIR INTERESTS
Once your gifted child has found their passion, you should nurture their interest in it. Encourage them and take an active interest in the passion yourself. Share it with them and you can enjoy it together. Spend time helping them learn more about their passion and help them develop their skill at it. Learning something new will help expand both of your brains and will be a lovely bonding experience.
- HELP THEM TAKE CONTROL OF THEIR OWN LEARNING
Gifted children should be encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning as much as possible. If they are truly gifted then you should let them lead the way. It helps them develop skills in scheduling their time and teaches them the important skill of learning how to learn. As parents we won’t always have the time to be there spoon feeding them every drop of information that they will need. We need to prepare them to be independent in their learning adventure
- THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ACHIEVEMENT AND MOTIVATION
In our society today achievement is preferred above everything else. Achievement is important but motivation and perseverance is far more important. If you can encourage your 3 year old to take their time and not give up when it comes to overcoming a difficult problem then you will be helping them to learn an extremely important skill which will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
It is so important to reward hard work rather than achievement if you want the best for your gifted child. If your child doesn’t try hard at a test and still receives good marks which they are then praised for, this can then set a bad example for the future. Children won’t always succeed in everything they try, but if we reward them for seriously trying their hardest then they will always work hard.
- DON’T OVER SCHEDULE
Having a gifted child, it can be tempting to fill their daily schedule with all types of fun and educational activities. Just remember, like an adult, children need down time too. Time for them to relax and let their minds rest and make sense of their day. They don’t need to be occupied for the whole day to get the most out of it, there is a certain point where they will reach the limit for what knowledge they can absorb in a single day.
- DON’T BROADCAST THEIR INTELLIGENCE
I know it’s tempting to want to shout about their great and new found intelligence to everyone who wants to hear about it. I get it, they are your little miracle and that makes you so proud. Just be careful not to brag about it too much as this puts pressure on your child to perform well, even if you don’t tell them directly. Reward them for hard work and let their results speak for themselves.