Gifted Children/Advanced 15month old?
I am wondering if my almost 15 month old is gifted. To me she seems advanced but I am unsure if it is just proud mummy syndrome.
She has a vocabulary of almost 200 words – mostly nouns but also words like open, shut, on, off, empty, sticky, flap, dance. However, she is only just starting to use 2 word sentences. She sometimes refers to herself as ‘I’ and ‘me’ but usually uses her name.
She can identify and name 5 colours (blue, yellow, pink, purple and black) and is able to point to other colours when asked. She was able to recognise and name the shapes ‘star’ and ‘heart’ by 13 months and has added several others recently. She knew most major body parts by 12 months old and is now identifying more specific ones such as nostrils, eyelashes, thighs etc. She knows the names of most children at her daycare centre.
As soon as she gets up in the morning she wants to read books and is starting to complete the ends of some of the repetitive sentences. She started taking an interest in the alphabet about 6 weeks ago and can name some letters, recognises a few more and takes delight in finding the letters O and S everywhere. She does not count upwards, but will say 2 if she gives me 2 objects.
She pretends to feed her toys and puts them to sleep. When she is drawing she sometimes names her scribbles – mostly balls, spiders, and a carer from daycare.
After reading your previous answers I am going to work on her physical abilities, emotional development and having fun. However I am unsure if she is getting the stimulation she needs at daycare in terms of her speech and vocabulary, as on those days she rarely says new words, whereas on a home day she will say many new words. Is this something to be concerned about? Perhaps she is just being stimulated in other ways there.
Your daughter sounds delightful. Girls develop verbal ability earlier than boys, and your daughter's verbal ability is somewhat ahead of the norm for her age, especially, the ability to use the same word in abstract and/or different situations, such as colors and numbers.
Daycare can be a good thing, better for many kids than staying at home full-time. I've observed that for gifted kids, they often do better with the stimulation of daycare rather than just home. I was able to find very good care for my children, home daycare. Their mother did better being away some of the time, too. The important thing is that you or whoever takes her to daycare is able to walk away, leaving her without nagging worry about her needs being met. There will be a time when she won't want you or whoever to leave her there. When you kiss her goodbye, say something like, "I know you're safe and have fun here." I's a nice ritual to form. If she's screaming or crying as you walk away, don't look back at her or say anything more than "See you later" as you keep walking. To go back to her gives the message that you don't entirely trust the situation. If that reaction lasts more than a few days or weeks, or if you have a gut-feeling that something isn't right, look into the situation to make sure that things are ok and she is safe.
It may seem that she learns fewer words at daycare, but she may just be saying them there, where many of the words apply. Those words may not be triggered at home because the environment is different. It may be that she expends energy there and is a bit tired at the end of the day. That's ok.
At your daughter's age everything is a learning experience. You sound responsibly aware of her development without being excessively focused on it. Your daughter may or may not have exceptional physical ability; its important to be aware to encourage physical development without expectations of exceptional performance.
Reading to your child is important at any age, even as a teenager. We often found books that are relevant to handling safety, tricky and moral/ethical situations without being "gooey" or unrealistic. We enjoyed biographies. Many books we read were from Christian publishers, not only because we are Christians, but because they were well-written, and value-driven, but definitely not at all "preachy". Last thing before leaving home in the morning we had a devotion from "Keys for Kids." It's just a paragraph or two. That or something to establish that ritual is a great gift to a child. We ALWAYS read just before bed, even if for just a minute, because the ritual to close the day is an anchor and can help with letting go of anxiety, shaping falling-asleep thoughts. Even when I thought I was just toooo tired, I consciously said to myself "You can do it, little acts are shaping her lifetime." Often there was a quick "God, help." It works. I'm not promoting a religion here. My son is 23 now and still remembers that as a cherished part of his upbringing.
In the previous couple answers you'll see reference to a PDF e-book available free from Free Spirit Publishing; it's great. I'm no longer recommending "Children: the Challenge". I first read it 25 years ago, but recently reread it. It made more references to "light slaps" and spankings than I remembered. It surprised me, because then, now, or in the future, there is NEVER a reason or justification for physical punishment applied to a child's body. I can't imagine that I let that go by me at first reading. Free Spirit Publishing has excellent materials about discipline. I'm searching a particular title I can recommend. "Parenting by Design" is an important resource about the spiritual elements of discipline.
I sense in you that priceless quality of not taking yourself too seriously. That's a great gift to your daughter. I'm glad that you understand the importance of having fun. Please tell your daughter that she has a cool mom.
MAKE YOUR MARRIAGE HIGH PRIORITY.
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