This question comes up a lot in some of the parenting groups that I’m in. “My 17-month-old knows all the letters, is he gifted?” The older, more experience parents usually reply … wait for it … “maybe.”
Because it’s just too early to be certain.
Now, if you ask any parent of an older gifted child, most of them can – in hindsight – point to things that stood out, that made them think “hmm, that’s odd.” There are almost always indicators of giftedness at a young age. The question that the younger parents are asking by default is “what do I do about it?”
No one really answers that question, assuming they answer at all. You see, to a lot of parents with gifted children, the endless “is my infant gifted?” questions can seem like bragging. As if the parents of the infant want the label of giftedness so badly that they’re reaching for every tiny bit of potential evidence. Those of us with gifted and 2e kids don’t always see it as a positive thing, so we may shake our heads and ignore the question.
A good question
That said, the question you’re really asking – “what do I do if my infant is gifted?” – is actually a good question. It deserves an answer. You deserve an answer. Which is why I’m writing this post, actually. I’ve been there – watching my infant do something absolutely crazy and wondering “is this normal?” Of course, now, sleep deprived, perpetually tired, with 3 gifted kids running around, I’m more likely to ask something like “will this get anyone killed?” Priorities change!
There’s a simple answer to that question of “what do I do?” Nothing. That is, nothing different than you were already doing!
Think about it. You were already planning to give your child the best, nurturing environment that you possibly can, right? You wouldn’t be reading this if you were one of those parents who doesn’t have their child’s best welfare in mind, after all.
You already provide intellectual stimulation. You talk to your baby. You play with your baby. You go fun places, do fun things, and expose them to the world around them. You’re doing what your child needs! You’re providing a loving, amazing, wonderfully interesting environment for your child, and that’s what they need. Gifted or not.
It’s not a race
Breathe. It’s not a race. You have a lot of time to figure out what giftedness is and how it manifests in your child. If it turns out that your kiddo is a perfectly amazing, wonderfully average child, celebrate! Because giftedness isn’t a badge of honor or a shiny, spiffy medal of intelligence. Being different than those around you isn’t easy for a kid.
You have time. Your child is only an infant, who hasn’t fully developed their personality and abilities yet. Give them the gift of time. Give them the gift of caring, nurturing, and acceptance. Because gifted or not, that’s what they’ll need as they grow up.
Once they start talking, walking, reading (it’s possible) and begging for more intellectual meat in a world of diapers and pureed foods, then you’ll be ready to jump in and swim in the sea of gifted challenges. You can tackle the job of parenting a gifted toddler with aplomb, and even try homeschooling a gifted toddler if they need more. They probably will – because giftedness is “more” of everything, even at a young age.
“Is my infant gifted?” Maybe.
“What do I do if kiddo is gifted?” Nothing!
Just be a parent. I’m serious. That’s all you need!