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How to Approach the Endless Questions of a Gifted Child
If you live with a gift child, one of the things you will constantly contend with are her endless questions. Curiosity is a prominent characteristic of gifted children and you may as well get used to it. Gifted children are driven to explore their world, to know it and categorize it. Relax and enjoy the ride.
Your child may delve deeply into one subject collecting encyclopedic knowledge anbout anything from penguins to the time space continuum. You can bet she'll out-ask you in no time. On the other hand, you may have a broad learner on your hands. This child wants to know at least a little something about everything. Either way, you are in for more questions than you have ever imagined.
Set some boundaries to help you and your child cope with the endless questions because nobody has endless energy. There's nothing wrong with letting your child know there is time for asking and time for quiet.
Become a Conversationalist
Maybe you learned, or maybe you didn't, about making nice conversation. Isn't it all about the other person?
How are you today? - Oh I'm fine, and how are YOU?
You make another person feel important by putting the attention back onto him. This is a handy trick when you have absolutely no idea what the answer is. Engage the child's imagination.
Why do YOU think trees have bark?
How would YOU construct a time machine?
Don't fool yourself. This only buys so much time. Gifted children find out soon enough that they're running on a different engine than you, especially if they participate in a formal program for gifted children. But this strategy will get you out of enough jams to get by.
Learning All the Time
Traveling is a great catalyst for learning. Just make sure you've got guidebooks on hand or you have handy access to and Internet connection. Thank goodness for that. Stuff you thought was boring as a kid, like reading the little markers on the trees of a nature hike, will fascinate some children. A gifted child can spend a while taking in the information and then turn to you and ask:
Why do you think God made Redwoods so big? Or
What is so special about the fern that it's survived this long?
And if you're lucky, she'll go on to answer her own question.
This is an amazing book of daily learning that is great for adults and gifted children alike. Once you suspect your child may be gifted, you might want to get a
Look It Up
A gifted kid usually has an excellent memory, so don't try to bluff your way to an answer. Look it up. The Internet makes it so easy. Remember when you're plucking those easy answers to also teach your very smart but naïve child about healthy skepticism. Teach her to check different sources and compare information. That is a key skill in this information age.
Invest in some quality reference books too:
- Book of World Records
When you're on your last nerve, ask the child to write down some of those burning questions and save them for another day. Buy her a special notebook and tell her that you'll work through it together. That should buy you enough time to make dinner!