Question about differences in gifted babies - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 02-09-2012, 02:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm pretty sure DS is gifted. He had 3 words by the time he was 3 months old and has continued to increase his vocabulary (I'm pretty sure he can say around 15-25 words), though his pronunciation of certain words is difficult to understand. DS can match colors and is starting to name facial features. Everything is going really well on the learning front.

 

Unfortunately, DS is a little terror when I am not paying attention to him. He seems to need to be talked to and entertained constantly. I am perfectly happy to spend the majority of my time playing with him but I am desperate for ideas on how to help bright children play more by themselves so I can have just a little bit of time to myself.

 

I guess I have a couple of questions: Do gifted children (and babies) seem to need extra attention and stimulation? What activities did your gifted babies/ young toddlers enjoy doing by themselves?

 

 

TIA!


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#2 of 13 Old 02-09-2012, 05:12 PM
 
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Hi,  and Welcome.gif!!!

 

I don't have much time (lol) but thought I'd try to help.  I think your DS is 8m or so?  My DD was crawling and walking (if holding something) but not quite walking on her own at this time.  My DD is about 18m now and JUST learned how to self entertain (about a month ago?) but when she did she went from needing ALL my attention to spending some manageable moments by herself.  So, first I would say, I completely understand what it is like to have a child that literally needs every second of your time.  Some ideas I would have (using my DD's developmental stage as a reference) is walkers, bouncers, or the playmates, and swings.  Depending on what your DS movement capabilities are.  If he is really into colors or has really good hand eye, maybe a light up toy, ummm, Simon says or something like that.  I don't know if that one would work, but I think you can imagine what I am trying to generalize.  I just got my daughter a Mr. potato head...but that might not fit the bill cause I think that may have to be supervised cause of the pieces....I will try to think of some more?....Are these the kind of things you meant?  Maybe books that make lots of noise when you turn the pages, to work on fine motor skills?   Ohhh, and she had a ball, that if you pushed it would make noise, crawling aid.  Ohhh, lol and some books let you record your voice, when you turn the page it has you talking, and you can say anything you want...that may work, your voice talking to him...Or a recorder...

 

 

EDIT:  Sorry, is (5/1/2011) May 1 2011, or 5 Jan 2011.  My advice for a One year one month would be different  from 8m....redface.gif


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#3 of 13 Old 02-10-2012, 08:31 AM
 
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At 8 months there was almost 0 entertaining of himself going on.  I got a hiking backpack carrier so he could sit up high and look over my head while I was cleaning or cooking.  He enjoyed chewing on my hair irked.gif  And, (go ahead, flame me)  I put him in a jumper in front of the TV to shower before work.  He fell in love with Dora and it worked - so while I don't love this idea, he picked up some Spanish and I got a shower.  Other than that, I'd say, hang in there!  It's difficult, but it gets better with time.  Once the imagination kicks in, I've found it's gotten quite a bit better.


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#4 of 13 Old 02-10-2012, 09:30 AM
 
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Gifted babies have as diverse of needs as any other babies. Some are really good at self-entertainments and others are not. It's important that even if your child is bright, you continue to hold them to reasonable behavioral standards. It's not OK to be a terror when you don't get your way. Of course, he's little and so it's to be expected that he's going to try this but don't let him "win" using this technique. If he's clean, fed, and just had 4 stories read to him it's really OK to expect him to wait while you take a shower. Yes, he may cry. He may tantrum. He may pound on the bathroom door. Let him know what you are doing, what you expect from him, make sure he's someplace safe and take your shower. 

 

I had one gifted baby who at 7 months would spend hours pouring over her books alone and be very upset if I disturbed her. No issues with self-entertainment there... ever. My other gifted baby was extremely extroverted and wanted constant interaction. I wore him in a sling. I spent lots of time reading, talking, playing with him. He had a big sister to suck energy out of lol. Sometimes though, I just had to let him throw a tantrum in the pack n' play or high chair while I made dinner, used the restroom, helped elder child with a project, ect. It wasn't easy to hear his pleas and see him throw all his toys at the wall but at the same time, 10 minutes out of 3 hours is not too much to expect a toddler to entertain themselves. I'd finish what I needed to finish, wait for him to calm and then we'd do something together. He did learn. We did find a happy medium. At 11, he's a lovely boy who still would prefer constant interaction but also knows how to respect the needs of others in the family.

 

If you need large chunks of time, you might consider hiring a mother's helper to come in once in awhile. An older child or tween is often a good choice. The baby has someone to play with and you can get whatever project you need done completed. 

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#5 of 13 Old 02-10-2012, 01:08 PM
 
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Don't know that DD is gifted but she is definitely precocious in her play and verbal skills.  She didn't self-entertain to speak of until her sister was born (at just over 2.5 years).

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#6 of 13 Old 02-10-2012, 06:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by pranava View Post

At 8 months there was almost 0 entertaining of himself going on.  I got a hiking backpack carrier so he could sit up high and look over my head while I was cleaning or cooking.  He enjoyed chewing on my hair irked.gif  And, (go ahead, flame me)  I put him in a jumper in front of the TV to shower before work.  He fell in love with Dora and it worked - so while I don't love this idea, he picked up some Spanish and I got a shower.  Other than that, I'd say, hang in there!  It's difficult, but it gets better with time.  Once the imagination kicks in, I've found it's gotten quite a bit better.

Thanks for the reassurance! I've had to resort to the television a few times too, though I feel bad about it. I think I may need to try a back carrier for cooking, good idea!

 

 

Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

Gifted babies have as diverse of needs as any other babies. Some are really good at self-entertainments and others are not. It's important that even if your child is bright, you continue to hold them to reasonable behavioral standards. It's not OK to be a terror when you don't get your way. Of course, he's little and so it's to be expected that he's going to try this but don't let him "win" using this technique. If he's clean, fed, and just had 4 stories read to him it's really OK to expect him to wait while you take a shower. Yes, he may cry. He may tantrum. He may pound on the bathroom door. Let him know what you are doing, what you expect from him, make sure he's someplace safe and take your shower. 

 

I had one gifted baby who at 7 months would spend hours pouring over her books alone and be very upset if I disturbed her. No issues with self-entertainment there... ever. My other gifted baby was extremely extroverted and wanted constant interaction. I wore him in a sling. I spent lots of time reading, talking, playing with him. He had a big sister to suck energy out of lol. Sometimes though, I just had to let him throw a tantrum in the pack n' play or high chair while I made dinner, used the restroom, helped elder child with a project, ect. It wasn't easy to hear his pleas and see him throw all his toys at the wall but at the same time, 10 minutes out of 3 hours is not too much to expect a toddler to entertain themselves. I'd finish what I needed to finish, wait for him to calm and then we'd do something together. He did learn. We did find a happy medium. At 11, he's a lovely boy who still would prefer constant interaction but also knows how to respect the needs of others in the family.

 

If you need large chunks of time, you might consider hiring a mother's helper to come in once in awhile. An older child or tween is often a good choice. The baby has someone to play with and you can get whatever project you need done completed. 


This is great advice! I do need to work on establishing times for DS to self entertain for a few minutes without throwing a tantrum. It can be really hard to get anything done because I want to pick him up the second he starts to fuss, but most of the time he doesn't want to be held, he just doesn't want me to do anything away from him!

 

Did you find any toys/other objects helped your son learn to self entertain in the pack n' play?

 


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#7 of 13 Old 02-10-2012, 10:14 PM
 
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Our pack-and-play was pretty much unused, as my son would start protesting within about thirty seconds. The Jolly Jumper was a hit for about two days at around 4 months and then rejected. I carried him a lot but he was heavy-- and squirmy! He was much happier and less frustrated once he was crawling and mobile but he still wanted to be with us and interacting constantly. He is independently entertaining himself for spurts of time now... he still prefers to have me involved or at least listening, but he can do things on his own if I am busy... and he is seven! It took quite awhile, honestly. As a toddler, he was pretty full-on intense and busy. The PP who suggested a mother's helper has a good idea... I was so grateful that I had extended family to help out.


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#8 of 13 Old 02-11-2012, 07:20 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamapigeon View Post


 

Thanks for the reassurance! I've had to resort to the television a few times too, though I feel bad about it. I think I may need to try a back carrier for cooking, good idea!

 

 


This is great advice! I do need to work on establishing times for DS to self entertain for a few minutes without throwing a tantrum. It can be really hard to get anything done because I want to pick him up the second he starts to fuss, but most of the time he doesn't want to be held, he just doesn't want me to do anything away from him!

 

Did you find any toys/other objects helped your son learn to self entertain in the pack n' play?

 


Honestly, my DS has never understood toys as something to be played with alone. He'd rather stare at the ceiling and just wait for someone to come play. Even with books, he only recently started ENJOYING a book on his own (and like I said, he's 11) and he's a very advanced level reader in two languages lol. The only things he's really been happy to do alone is play on his i-touch and of course, that wasn't something he had until age 10, and learning magic tricks... again not something I'd give a toddler! So, for us, toys really weren't the answer. However, I'd recommend anything open-ended... duplos, blocks, stacking cups. 

 

Sensory activities offered more distraction for him. Sometimes I'd give DS a dough ball for the high chair when I was cooking and that would keep him occupied though make sure he's not in the "eat everything" stage. I sometimes let him finger paint with yogurt in and empty tub while I was grooming (and of course, he'd need a rinse down after.) We did have some DVD's we'd put on once in awhile and that would occupy him too well (and thus something we used sparingly but certainly helped.) There is a collection of stories on DVD which are basically just someone reading while they show the pictures in the book... a tiny bit of animation. Those were calming and interesting to him but still DVD's I didn't feel were total trash. 

 

The pack n' play was never something he liked... it was just something that would contain him when I just absolutely needed to and seemed a better option than locking him in his room. 

 


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#9 of 13 Old 02-11-2012, 10:17 AM
 
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My daughter, who is now 6, was reasonably self-entertaining as a baby, in that she liked to look at books and we had some toys she would play with alone for quite awhile.  But I would say she was more like a year old before I could actually put her down and she'd do something without my attention for more than 5 minutes.  And this is a child I consider to be VERY good at self-entertainment.  My son, who is closer to 2.5, doesn't like to do ANYTHING by himself, and will really only leave me alone for more than 5 minutes today if his sister is entertaining him.  At 8 months old he would wait and weep and make a big production like somebody was killing him if I tried to leave his sight for more than 30 seconds. Now (since 18 months?) I can put him in his crib with some books and some small, safe toys first thing in the morning and he'll entertain himself with those while I shower.  He'll also sometimes watch TV for awhile, like maybe 15 minutes.  But he pretty much wants my attention most of the time.  So long story short, I don't really think giftedness has much to do with ability to entertain self; it's more a personality thing. 


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#10 of 13 Old 02-12-2012, 10:13 PM
 
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I just finished reading "The Five Levels of Giftedness," and that desire for constant interaction with a parent at such a young age was definitely a common issue for many highly gifted babies. I don't know that the book gave much advice for infants, but when the parents interviewed weren't reading the babies lots of books, they DID let the babies watch tv!  An interest in and ability to learn from television was actually quite common.  I know I used it way more than I ever intended to with my oldest, because he seemed to need less sleep than I did, plus I was pregnant with my next one.  By age one, he could turn on Sesame Street for himself, so I could sleep another hour.  I really don't think it hurt him at all. :)

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#11 of 13 Old 02-15-2012, 07:58 AM
 
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I know my kids have been very different with this. I wonder if some of it also has to do with birth order, as well as temperament and maybe learning style, etc. My first was very demanding of attention. I started to explicitly encourage him to self entertain around age 1 (maybe a bit before) bc I really needed him to be able to do something for 10 or 15 minutes while I made dinner, took a shower, etc. (he was HUGE and strong so having him on my back was not always a safe or reasonable option). I would get down with him and set up something... some boxes and interesting objects, blocks, trains, etc, and when he was engaged, I would back off and let him play on his own. at first it was just a few minutes, but slowly his ability to play on his own increased. Trains were the best bet for a long time. At 7yo now, he still likes a lot of interaction but can also engage in his own activities for hours at a time.

 

My daughter- she could play with toys for 1 or 2 hours by the time she was 8 months. I was floored. It was completely different. She (at 2y9m) is still extremely good at doing her thing. Long, involved, imaginative games. I am not sure if she is gifted or not but she doesn't seem any less smart to me at this point, just very different personality.

 

(and we do very, very limited tv/screen time under 5. Actually I found my son was very, very sensitive to it and his behavior after having screen time was really awful, so we went to no screen time at all until he was older. Now he has some limited time with computer and watching movies.)


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#12 of 13 Old 02-19-2012, 09:00 AM
 
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DD took her first steps at 8 months and it has been uphill since then. I was exhausted with her as a baby. All she ever wanted to do was control her own body and I get it now.

Anyway, puzzles, shape sorters, wooden toys (like a stacker with rings) and books all kept her attention for long periods of time when she was younger. Also, things that make music. The mozart music cube is nasty because it has PVC on it, but I bought it and she constantly plays the music and now dances to it. I let her keep it because she doesn't put it in her mouth. Vtech also makes a musical ball she used to play with. I only buy her wooden and cloth toys usually and she loves those, too.

Books are generally the thing she loves more than anything, but lately (at almost 15 months), she is enjoying drawing. I give her crayons and a pad of paper and she carries them around and draws. 

She can play by herself for... hours? and just stops by to nurse or get a little attention here and there. She brings us books and puzzles, too.

Also... Signing Time. She is always signing "time" to me, because she wants to watch it. She is up to 120+ signs now. When you need to make dinner or just get a quick break, I think a little educational TV is OK. I used to be really against it for babies, but intense babies really wear you out!

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#13 of 13 Old 02-19-2012, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I really appreciate all the suggestions! I'm trying to encourage more independent play but it is a little rough right now. DS is teething and needs more cuddling than usual. I love the idea of giving DS a dough ball or other things to play with while I cook. I think that would make for some fun times!


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