A long time ago (!) I had a gifted baby. I didn't know I did for thirteen months. She was born a few weeks early and was jaundiced and sleepy for the first six weeks. She then perked up and did well. On reflection she did enjoy shape sorters and puzzles early and was very alert generally . I did nothing special but I was a very happy new mum.
At 12 months she had about 12 words and could walk well. Completely normal. At thirteen months I was surprised to discover that an 8 year old neighbour had taught her all her letters with words attached in one afternoon! I discouraged it as I thought she would be confused between letters and words. But she went into overdrive after that! By two she was making up long stories and reading the Mr Men books without having to sound out anything.
When she started kindy at three she was called "The Professor". She won many scholarships and prizes throughout school. At medical school many years later she was called "scary smart" . Her IQ is well over 160. She is now a very bright doctor with 2 separate first class honour degrees and a university medal. She is a happy, fulfilled adult with lots of friends and a baby of her own. She enjoys her work, continues to study, to learn things just for fun and to enjoy passing passions in recreational activities.
I was a teacher for many years and have seen some terrible attempts to pressurise gifted children and many who were not really gifted and must have had a hard time indeed living up to their parents' expectations. Here is my advice:
. Talk to your children, read to them even when they can read themselves, play with them , have fun together as a family in whatever ways you enjoy.
. Allow your children to enjoy all stages of being a child without pressure. If they are truly gifted they will seek out ways to learn through books and real life experiences without being coached or pushed. Going to university at 12 with parents in tow is theft of childhood and risks their overall development, maturity, independence and balance.
. Allow them lots of spare time and space to think up things to do on their own or with friends. You may be surprised what they think up. Fortunately, gifted children do not need to study for too long! Leaving plenty of time for mischief!
. Hobbies and pastimes are very important too. Music is especially good for gifted children as it requires effort no matter how gifted they are. Also something that involves helping others .
. Encourage them to spend time with friends. It will help them stay sane if they stay connected to other people and, as they become older, networking is very important and will provide opportunities. Being able to get on with all kinds of people is very important. So is empathy!
. Encourage travel and independence. My daughter went off to Europe on her own with a youth orchestra at nine and had a great time. Every time she went away she returned more mature and more confident.
. Enjoy your children for who they are , not as possessions you can boast about.
. Most important of all, remember that you cannot live vicariously through them. They own their own lives.