Every parent wants their child to grow up into a healthy, happy and successful person who reaches their full potential. One way of planting the seeds of happiness and successfulness in your child’s life is to nurture the special gifts and talents your child naturally possesses from a young age. From birth to preschool age you watch your child grow and develop into their own person, beginning to show traits and characteristics of their own personality and their special gifts and talents.

Special gifts and talents are something that a child is blessed with as a birth right. Gifts and talents can be shown across a broad range of areas. Some are more noticeable such as music, maths, technology, drawing or sports.  In contrast, less noticeable gifts and talents such as the ability to understand other people’s feelings, caring for others or the welfare of animals or even their ability to remember past events or conversations in detail are equally as important.

Everyone has at least one thing they are great at. As parents you are the best person in your child’s life to help them discover and develop their special gift and talent. Below are some ways to encourage your child’s special gifts and talents:

  1. A child’s gift and talent requires nurturing

Your child will naturally be drawn to activities which give them a chance to develop their special gifts and talents. These are the activities that you think they just love doing, you can’t get them to do anything else or they find it easy to learn etc.

If you can’t think of anything or nothing springs to mind, don’t panic! Just give your child plenty of free play time to explore what they are interested in and they will play games in relation to this activity. It is through this exploration and playing that children will learn about their interest and where you will notice their gift and talent beginning to shine through.

Once you are aware of the activities your child is naturally drawn to, children need opportunity and encouragement in order to develop these talents. For example, if you notice your child singing along whenever they hear music, introduce them to various selections of music. This will help encourage your child as well as giving them a chance to develop their interest and ability further.

  1. A child needs to develop basic skills in an area before they can use those skills creatively

People often mistakenly think creativity is simply something that comes from within and that no skill or teaching is required for your child to display their creativity. This sometimes can stop parents from showing their children basic skills for fear of interfering with their creativity. This is not the case. For example, if your child is interested in baking they will need to learn about the basic ingredients and recipes of baking before they can become a star baker or if your child is interested in football they will need to learn how to hold, catch and kick a football before they can showcase their creative skills on the football field.

  1. A child needs to use their gifts in order to develop them

This may sound obvious but it requires some thought to put into practice.  Sometimes it is easier to take over from your child than to let them do something for themselves. Perhaps you can think off a time where you have told your child over and over how to do something or use something but they can’t get it.  It can be very frustrating but it is important to take time to let your child do things.  You could say “Would you like to do this?” This will allow your child to develop their talents and gifts and teach them motivation, determination, persistence and to learn by their mistakes which will help them in the future to become the person they want to be. After all practice makes perfect!

Whatever you may find your child enjoying or interested in, whether they are pretending to be someone from a book you read to them or they are interested when you water the plants, the key to encouraging your child’s gifts and talents is to embrace and respect their uniqueness, their ideas and dreams (even if they aren’t what you hoped for them). Your child needs to know that their uniqueness is valued and that they are appreciated for just being themselves.  As a parent you are the key educator in your child’s life. It is important not to discourage your child’s gifts and talents but to encourage, help, and guide your child allowing them to develop their gifts and talents. You will able to sit back and enjoy as you watch the seeds you nourished blossom, as your child reaches their full potential.

Above is a snapshot of how you can encourage your child’s special gifts and talents. If you would like to learn in more detail how to encourage your child’s gifts and talents, please see Issue 56 of the Growing Child Magazine. And as usual you can buy our ‘Growing Child’ from our website here!