Milestones

As parents and teachers, it’s our job to ensure that our children and students are given the opportunity to discover their individual talents. While you can learn more about this in my book, you’ll find some basic information on common milestones right here.

Infants (0-2)

gifted toddlersBabies have so much potential. They’re little bundles of love, ready to start learning and to absorb the world around them. How does this translate into milestones and talent development? Let’s take a look.

Emotional/Social

During these formative years, your baby needs lots of love and nurture. Cuddles and hugs will help reassure your child that you are always there for him. Baby wearing and keeping your child close to you in the beginning can be an excellent way to build bonds.

At the same time, it’s important for children to experience the world, while still feeling safe. Let them meet other children and adults.

Thinking & Learning

There is an abundance of toys designed to help small children learn. You can take advantage of the best of these. Look for toys that are recommended by leaders in the field. These are the items that will help your child develop those thinking skills. Remember that babies go from nothing to walking and talking in just a couple of years. They are constantly learning!

Brain Development

At this stage, your baby’s brain is growing and developing at a rapid rate. Take the time to expose your child to a variety of experiences, textures and playthings. Music should be introduced as early as possible, but there’s no need to force your little one into anything.

Health

Babies and toddlers need to stay healthy in order to continue learning at high velocity. Great nutrition is essential. All infants need for the first 6 months is breastmilk, but after this, they can begin to eat solid food. Be sure to start your little one off with great brainfood!

Screen time should be limited . . . at this age, your child needs to spend lots of time in imaginative play, exploring the world around them and testing out their body and its functions.

Parenting Tips

Try to read to your baby every day and make sure you spend time with him, playing at his level. Stacking blocks might seem boring to an adult, but for a child, it’s a very complex learning activity and one that will keep his brain working hard.

Time spent with your toddler and infant will never be too much, so go ahead and indulge in kisses and snuggles and tickles while you can.

Young children (2-6)

gifted preschoolers

As your little one emerges from toddlerhood, you’ll see firsthand how fast their brains can work. Preschoolers are picking up life skills at a breakneck pace and it can be a lot of fun to watch and help with.

Emotional/Social

Emotions are a big deal to little children. They aren’t quite in control yet, so you can expect frustration and anger to become overwhelming for your child. This may result in outbursts or tantrums, even as your toddler grows into a preschooler.

Social skills will start to become important as your child makes friends at daycare or on play dates and at parks. There’s a big learning curve, but you can help by discussing appropriate behavior ahead of time.

Thinking & Learning

Cognitive ability begins to really change at this point. Your three year old will be surprisingly more articulate than a two year old and you might be surprised at the way the wheels turn in that cute little head. At this age, kids begin to pick up the basics of preschool learning, too. Things like shapes, colors, numbers and letters are important early in the preschool stage. Later, your child may even begin to read and write before they enter first grade.

Brain Development

Children in this age group are starting to try out their independence. Things like getting dressed on their own and making their own lunch should be encouraged to develop a sense of self confidence. This can also be a good time to make sure your child is well versed in their own information, including full name, address and parental phone numbers.

Health

 

Preschool children are often very picky about food. It’s important not to make a big deal out of eating, since this can result in long-lasting issues. However, you do want to make sure that the food served is as healthy as possible. Check out the brain food section of this site for recipe ideas.

Parenting Tips

Continue to read and play with your child. Take the time to talk to him and really listen to what he has to say. You might be surprised at how chatty your once quiet child has become. This makes for a great time, learning more about your child and his personality.

 

Older children (6-13)

gifted children

Once children begin school, things  get trickier. For the first time in their lives, your children are spending more time with their teachers than with you. This can bring up a number of concerns, but it’s also the perfect time for children to spread their wings and test out the big, wide world.

Emotional/Social

You’ll see big social leaps as children begin to expand their social circles and develop friendships outside the family. You may find that your child has friends you’ve never even met before! While this can be disconcerting, it’s all part of growing up.

Peer pressure can be an issue throughout this age group, so make sure you’ve talked to your child about this and helped them feel confident in their choices. You might notice that your school age child is beginning to consider her future, as well, and to think about what she wants from life.

Thinking & Learning

There are some pretty big leaps in learning as your child begins school. Learning to read and do math is just the beginning. As the grades progress, schoolwork will become more and more complex, but don’t worry . . . your child’s brain is more than able to handle it.

Around age 10, logical thinking really starts to kick in and your child will begin to reason and negotiate with surprising clarity. This can be alarming as parents can actually be outmaneuvered, but it is just a sign that your child is developing normally.

Brain Development

Teens are still building valuable connections in their brains, so make sure you help them out by limiting screen time and ensuring they have lots to keep their minds busy.

Reading, playing music and attending concerts or plays can be excellent ways to boost those connections. Keep your teen thinking and working on problems and he’ll grow into a well-rounded adult.

Health

Older kids will be more responsible about their health, brushing their teeth and exercising, for example. They’ll also start to understand the importance of a balanced diet and if you had a picky eater as a toddler, their tastes may begin to expand. It’s a great time to start introducing new foods.

Again, limiting screen time and ensuring that your child gets lots of healthy food to eat will help keep him healthy. Avoid stocking junk food in the house and limit what you can outside the house, too. Childhood obesity is a major issue and much of it is due to inactivity and overeating.

Parenting Tips

Your child will thrive with special one on one time with parents. Take the time to enjoy your kids, but don’t force your views on them. At this age, your children will have a mind of their own and it can be very revealing to engage them in activities that they particularly enjoy.

Teenagers (13-19)

gifted teens

Teens can be challenging to raise, particularly if you have a gifted teenager. You’ll likely be treading in unfamiliar territory, but it’s far easier to handle those mood swings and outbursts when you realize what is going on behind the scenes.

Emotional/Social

Emotionally, teenagers are all over the place. They tend to be moody and can be rude or grumpy toward their parents and other authority figures. Often, they ‘ll be under considerable peer pressure and, as they reach higher grades and begin to think about their future, the stress can also weigh on them.

The older your teen is, the easier it will be to get along with him. Older teens tend to spend more time with their peers and are likely to show considerable interest in the opposite sex. This is all normal and if you’ve laid the groundwork early on in life, you’ll be reaping the benefits now.

Thinking & Learning

Just because your child is nearly an adult doesn’t mean he is done with the learning part of his life. You’ll notice that your teen becomes more logical as time goes on. He’ll also start to think about his future and plan ahead, focusing more on school and/or his talents. At this point, children often develop a much stronger sense of what is correct and what is not right in the world.

Brain Development

Teens are still building valuable connections in their brains, so make sure you help them out by limiting screen time and ensuring they have lots to keep their minds busy.

Reading, playing music and attending concerts or plays can be excellent ways to boost those connections. Keep your teen thinking and working on problems and he’ll grow into a well-rounded adult.

Health

Unfortunately, your teenager is at the most vulnerable stage of her life for eating disorders. It’s not uncommon for teenagers to skip meals and eat more than their fair share of junk food. This, coupled with too much screen time, can result in health issues.

Getting kids to eat well is a major part of health, but you will also want to discuss other health situations with them at this age. At 13, kids are old enough to understand the importance of nutrition, so make sure they understand. Health and exercise are very important for growing bodies and minds.

Parenting Tips

Teens might be difficult to parent, but these can also be some of the most rewarding years of your life. Take the time to talk to your teen, being clear and honest. Make sure you do take into account your child’s thoughts and feelings, though . . . his opinion should matter.

To really help teens develop empathy and good work habits, try volunteering with them. There’s a lot to be learned by helping others who are less fortunate.

Find out more, visit ‘What if My Child Doesn’t Seem To Be Gifted?’