Tag Archives: child development

Is My Child Gifted?

Potential of a child

How do parents know if their children are gifted?

You realize they are very “in tune” with their intellectual ability for their age and are intense regarding almost every issue. Many will know they are different by the time they are four or five — and so will you. Unfortunately, testing is the only acceptable way a school will confirm that your child is indeed gifted and needs extra advantages provided by a special curriculum.

Who are some famous people who were overlooked?

Beethoven’s music teacher never considered his musical talent. Winston Churchill failed the sixth grade and finished last in his class at Harrow. Sir Isaac Newton dropped out of grammar school at 14, was sent back at 19 and achieved the Cambridge courses with an undistinguished record.

More Characteristics of Gifted Children

There is no “normal description” of a gifted child, due to a wide variety of special abilities or specific talents. Social environments contribute a large factor to varying personality patterns as well as achievement patterns. Differences among gifted children will be found even when they are grouped together. Some are very strong in one subject and weak in others. The gifted reader may be an average artist, while the gifted artist may be a poor or average reader.

There are many forms of being gifted including leadership and/or social cognitive and intuition above and beyond normal sensitivity for their age. Most will have many of the characteristics listed below — although no child will possess them all.

Gifted Children…

  • have a heightened self-awareness of being “different”
  • display unrelenting goal-directed/organized behaviour (although many are very unorganized)
  • possess an intensity of emotional depth
  • take less for granted
  • can spot inconsistencies and inaccuracies
  • are unwilling to accept authoritarian lifestyles or guidance without critical examination
  • have a keen sense of humour
  • have a highly sensitivity to moral and ethical issues
  • have unusually high expectations of self and others
  • resent structure and rules
  • have an unusual sensitivity to the feelings and expectations of others
  • have a variety of interests and a discriminating nature of curiosity
  • can construct and handle abstractions than children of same age
  • read intensely and widely
  • have incredible memory
  • learn basic skills faster, quicker and better
  • have a highly intense thought process
  • have a longer attention span
  • possess superior level of verbal ability
  • have the ability to understand diverse relationships
  • have the ability to generate original ideas and solutions that seem mind-boggling to others but will be right on target
  • show extraordinary insight
  • have an eye for little, as well as large details
  • are greatly motivated to learn

14 Potentialities of Man – Dr Montessori

Potential of a child
Dr. Montessori’s theories are in line with modern psychologists who acknowledge the influence of both nature and nurture in the development of the child.

She writes about the ‘inherited characteristics’ and ‘pre-determined patterns of behaviour’, but she also advocates the very strong influence of environmental conditions. Dr Montessori recognised the passive nature of the child and maintained that they pass through a period of absorbing all the sensations that come from the environment in which they live. She also recognised the strong active nature of the child which allows children to freedom to select their own activities spontaneously. Maria Montessori had great intuition and a marvellous insight to recognise that the growing baby had both keen sensitivities and a highly absorbent mind to take in impressions and learn patterns of human behaviour, cultural knowledge and skills through a series of personal experiences offered in the environment that surrounds him.

Dr. Montessori observed that nature has taken great care to give certain special sensitivities and a very receptive mind to aid the unconscious learning processes within the child which gradually build up a strata of knowledge in the subconscious, all of which play a vital part in the laying of the basic foundation of characteristics that will form the individual personality. From her observations of children, she formed the idea that a world of people could exist that would be an improvement on what was already in existence. She was convinced that the whole human condition could be improved if we would ‘follow the child’.

Montessori believed that all conflicts could be solved by developing the great potentialities of the human personality whilst the child is still ‘under construction’. She believed that the child possesses an intrinsic motivation towards his own self-construction. Maria Montessori’s concept of the child’s self-construction needs to be carefully explained. This idea is the central point of her whole educational philosophy.

Both the child rearing practices and educational methods she advocated are grounded in her ideas of the child’s self-construction. Montessori drew attention to her idea that the child has two ‘creative sensibilities’, an ‘absorbent mind’ and ‘sensitive periods’, both of which are internal aids which make the child’s adaptation to the environment possible.

Potentialities of Man

Montessori had very specific ideas about the way children grow and develop. She believed that we are all born with a unique combination of certain predominant behaviour patterns, universal among humans, which she called the ‘tendencies of man’ or the ‘human potentialities’. Montessori observed children all over the world, in a variety of settings and she was able to identify fourteen specific traits which she considered to make up the totality of the human potentialities.

  1. exploration
  2. order
  3. gregariousness
  4. communication
  5. abstraction
  6. curiosity
  7. calculation
  8. work
  9. repetition
  10. concentration
  11. self-control
  12. perfection
  13. creativity
  14. independence

Growth of one’s potentialities proceeds according to natural staged or sensitive periods. If one’s urge is satisfied by suitable environmental conditions, then growth will occur – the potentialities are fulfilled.


Making bedtime simple, easy and loving

This is such a difficult scenario that all parents face at some point, so how can we make it easy, gentle and enjoyable for children and for parents alike? Is bedtime a power struggle, ending with “not another word, or else?”

Let’s look at it from a child’s point of view:

Imagine that you are in the middle of a good book and your spouse says, “It’s time for bed, honey.” In spite of your response, “No, I’m not ready yet,” you are unwillingly taken up the stairs, your clothes are removed, and you are forced into taking a bath. How would you feel? Would you feel disrespected, violated, angry, devaluated, and controlled? You may be thinking, “yes, but a two-year-old doesn’t think that way-It’s not the same, he’s not an adult. Besides, I’m the parent.”

True, your child is not yet an adult. However, he is a person. He has feelings and is at an important growth stage of wanting independence and to have his choices be known and honored. This is the beginning of his being an individual-he is establishing his separateness from his parents and is exploring his competence and capabilities. The command of being told what to do and when to do it brings up a feeling of being controlled and having no choice. The issue becomes one of wanting control over ourselves and what happens to us even if the “command” may have value for us (i.e. Going to bed in a timely manner).

Let’s examine what a child’s wants:

Bedtime can be a special time between parents and children because it is natural for us to desire closeness before going to sleep. When we read a bedtime story, your child’s desire for the potty or a drink is a desire for more closeness. It  is expressed through asking for a drink and “going potty” , one must understand this.  So, consider these questions:  What does your own child want before bedtime?

Children want to:

  • Feel independent
  • Feel close to parents
  • Feel a sense of control over what happens to them
  • Feel respected and listened to.

How can you, as a parent, give your child what he wants and needs and still have him go to bed in a timely manner?

You can:

  • Respect your own needs
  • Set your child’s bedtime at an hour that allows you some solitude or “couple time” with your partner after your child goes to bed
  • Whenever possible have both parents be part of the bedtime ritual
  • start your own bedtime ritual 45 minutes to one hour before your child’s actual bedtime to avoid the unnecessary pressure that create stress and struggle
  • Respect his sense of time by telling him that bedtime is in 15 minutes, allowing him to complete a particular activity before his actual bedtime hours
  • Offer choices instead of orders, your child will have a feeling of control over what happens to him when he is given choices. (For example: “Do you want to wear your blue pajamas or the red ones?”
  • Create a bedtime ritual with your child’s help and advice; for example, read a story, snuggle, give three stuffed animals to be kissed, give a him a hug and two kisses and leave the room singing a song (routine is particularly important).

Creating closeness is also important. Here are some ideas:

  • Talk about “remember when….,” such as, “Remember when we went camping and that raccoon got into our food stash?”
  • Listen to your child’s feeling about his day.
  • Say three things that you love about each other.
  • Ask open-ended questions that allow your child to share more about himself, such as, “What was the best thing that happened to you today?”
  • Some children may talk more freely with the lights out. Try to discover what is most encouraging to your child that will enhance your communication time.

When you start this new bedtime routine, explain once to your child, “If you come out of your room for any reason other than an emergency, I ill lovingly guide or carry you back to your room. I will not talk to you after I say good night and close your bedroom door.” After you have completed your bedroom routine, leave your child’s room as you explained.

It is essential that you do not talk to your child after the bedtime routine is established. Your child will pay much more attention to your actions than to your words. You may have to guide him back to his room several times, particularly at the beginning, because children will sometimes test their parents on new experiences.

You can make bedtime be a time of nurturing, closeness, shared communication and fun. By involving your children in the decision making process and spending this special time with them, they will feel valued and respected, which builds their self-esteem.


Discipline a dirty word – How to get children on your side

parenting and discipline


There are as many philosophies about how to discipline a child as there are parents. However, it is always important to match the disciplinary approach to the child’s age. Children will respond to certain methods more readily at certain developmental stages than at others. Here are a potpourri of ideas to get children of all ages on your side.

  • Spend time chatting with the Child after class
  • Ask the Child about life outside school.
  • Eat snack with your Child occasionally.
  • Invite the Child to share a snack with you.
  • Attend school event.
  • Get involved in a community project with your the Child.
  • Schedule individual conferences to let the Child know about their progress.
  • Chaperone school events.
  • Send cards, messages, and homework to absent the Child.
  • Express real interest in the Child’ work or hobbies.
  • Share your interests with your Child.



Discipline is a dirty word – Deal with the misbehavior immediately

children discipline 2


After you have categorized the misbehavior, you’ll want to choose specific interventions for dealing with that type of behavior. Give these strategies a try:


  • Give “the eye” so the student knows you mean business.
  • Stand close to the student and continue your presentation.
  • Distract the student by asking a direct question or using the student’s name while continuing your presentation.
  • Give specific praise to a nearby child who is  ‘on task’.


  • Avoid direct confrontation by agreeing with the student or changing the subject.
  • Acknowledge the student’s power and state your actions: “You’re right, I can’t make you finish the math problems, but I’ll be checking the levels at the end of the day.”
  • Change the activity, do something unexpected, or initiate another class discussion on a topic of interest.
  • Use time-out by giving a choice: “You may sit quietly, keep your hands and feet to yourself, and complete the work, or you may go to time-out. You decide.”


  • Revoke a privilege.
  • Build a caring relationship by using affirmation statements that give the message: “You’re okay, but your choice of behavior is not.”
  • Require the return, repair, or replacement of damaged objects.
  • Involve school personnel or parents if necessary.

Avoidance of failure:

  • Acknowledge the difficulty of the assigned task, but remind the pupil of past successes he had doing similar tasks.
  • Modify instruction, and materials.
  • Teach the pupil to say “I can” instead of “I can’t” by recognizing achievements.
  • Provide peer tutors or ask the child to help someone else, perhaps a younger child, to help build self-confidence.

Provide some encouragement

The trouble with many discipline programmes is that they give teachers strategies for addressing misbehavior, but don not show them how to keep the misbehavior from recurring. Cooperative Discipline assumes that pupils will misbehave again if the strategies are not accompanied by encouragement techniques that build self-esteem and strengthen the child’s motivation to cooperate and learn.

Encouragement techniques are neither time-consuming nor difficult to learn. Commit to using them daily and your pupils will feel like valuable members of the classroom. Strategies for encouraging pupils fall into three categories:

Capable: Pupils need to feel capable of completing their work in a satisfactory manner. How?

  • Create an environment where it’s okay to make mistakes.
  • Build confidence by focusing on improvement and on past successes.
  • Make your learning objectives reachable for all pupils.

Connect: Pupils need to believe they can develop positive relationships with teachers and classmates. How?

  • Be accepting of all pupils, regardless of past misbehavior.
  • Give attention by listening and showing interest in their activities outside of class.
  • Show appreciation by praise or written notes.
  • Use affirmation statements that are specific and enthusiastic about a student’s good behavior or abilities.
  • Build affectionate relationships with simple acts of kindness.

Contribute: Pupils need to contribute to the welfare of the class so they feel like they make a difference. How?

  • Involve them in maintaining the learning environment by holding class meetings.
  • Ask for suggestions when decisions need to be made.
  • Use cooperative learning groups frequently.
  • Encourage peer tutoring.

Pupils feel good about themselves—and about their ability to succeed in school—when they believe they’re capable learners who can connect in positive ways with classmates and teachers. They’ll also feel good about themselves when they find ways to contribute to the class and to the school. Keep in mind that encouragement strategies not only prevent misbehavior but are being used successfully as violence and gang prevention measures.

Making partners along the way

Cooperative Discipline is a process that promotes collaboration. Building a strong partnership with pupils and parents is essential to maintain a positive discipline programme that works.

Start by creating partnerships with your pupils. One way to involve them is to get their help in developing a classroom code of conduct. They’ll be more interested in keeping and enforcing the rules because they helped develop them. Another strategy is to teach pupils about the three C’s of encouragement (capable, connect, and contribute) and help them find ways they can encourage themselves and their classmates.

Set the stage for effective parent partnerships. Have your school principal invite parents to a meeting to get their input on writing a code of conduct. When you conference with parents about a problem you are having with their child, limit your complaints to three or four misbehaviors. Discuss with parents which intervention and encouragement strategies you will be using to help their child choose more positive behavior. Send a clear message that you want parents to participate in the disciplining of their children. Reminding parents that “you cannot always do it alone” sometimes will get you the support you want and need.