Most parents like to think that their child is a genius.
It’s human nature to think your kid is awesome.
But what do psychologists have to say about gifted and talented children?
Research shows that highly intelligent children usually share key traits, and that these are apparent from an early age.
Not all young geniuses will fit this profile, but if your child shows most of these characteristics, they may well have a high IQ.
1. They have a talent for retaining information
Gifted children have amazing memory skills.
They absorb far more information than other children in their peer group.
This means they learn at a rapid rate; when you introduce a gifted child to a complex idea or theory, you only need to explain it once.
2. Their literacy skills are noticeably above average for their age
Children with high IQs usually learn to read by themselves before the age of four.
In comparison, most children do not acquire this skill before the age of six or seven.
Gifted children usually love to read, as it allows them to expand their knowledge and pursue their interests.
3. They have a good sense of humor
The ability to make and appreciate jokes requires a nuanced understanding of language, social interaction, and double meanings.
Most intelligent people are quick-witted.
Children who show an excellent sense of humor from a young age are likely to have a high IQ.
4. They ask a lot of questions
Most children are curious about the world around them, but gifted children are particularly likely to ask questions that allow them to explore new ideas.
They have an insatiable appetite for learning, and enjoy lengthy discussions about new concepts they encounter.
You will often hear them asking “Why?” and “What does that mean?”
As a parent, you might find it hard to keep up with their constant stream of questions.
5. They like to talk to adults, rather than other children
]A gifted child is usually frustrated by the limitations of others in their peer group.
As a result, they will often prefer to talk to older children and adults.
Highly intelligent children might be described as loners by their teachers, yet be animated and eager in conversation with people who are capable of understanding them.
They are frequently described as “emotionally intense,” and have a talent for picking up on subtle mood shifts in those around them.
This can lead to awkward situations whereby parents and teachers have to acknowledge the child’s feelings in such a way that doesn’t entail sharing age-inappropriate information.
For example, a gifted child may have picked up on tension between their parents and sensed that they are heading for a split, but some reasons for divorce – such as infidelity – are not suitable topics for discussion with young children.
An adult may be tempted to confide in their gifted child, but it isn’t appropriate to burden them with their personal problems.
6. They show perfectionist tendencies
Smart children want to improve themselves. From an early age, they show an appreciation for goals and plans. This extends to their personal achievements.
Typically, they will focus on excelling at school, but will also invest their time and effort in personal projects that allow them to develop their interests.
Talented children are often disappointed with themselves if they fail to live up to their own standards, which may appear unrealistic to other people.
If they are not taught to accept failure and overcome setbacks, they might become depressed and hypersensitive to criticism.
7. They show a talent for music
Some research suggests that there is a link between IQ and musical talent.
Moreover, musical training appears to improve cognitive functioning with time, meaning that the relationship works in both directions.
If your child shows an aptitude for playing a musical instrument, they might be gifted.
What should you do if you think your child might be gifted?
To get the most out of school, highly intelligent children need to be pushed further than their peers.
Although provision varies greatly by state and county, most schools have some kind of program in place for gifted and talented children.
Start by talking to your child’s teacher.
Ask whether they think your child might benefit from more challenging tasks, and whether they could be a good candidate for any special programs available at the school.
You could also ask to see a school psychologist, who will be able to test your child’s cognitive abilities and recommend educational strategies that will help them realize their full potential.