I’m busy preparing for a keynote address and workshop at an event this weekend. As I was researching, I stumbled across this video from Ian Byrd. It’s the last 20 minutes of a keynote he did and I LOVE IT! His topic was how gifted kids identify smart with easy and how this happens. So, given our topic, I thought I’d share. Be sure to check it out –
Back to school means a lot of things to a lot of people. For some of our gifted kiddos, it means back to the social grind. Many of our gifted children struggle when it comes to making friends. The five tips below can help your gifted children feel more comfortable in the social aspects of their lives:
Healthy Habits: Start off on the right foot by making sure the child is practicing healthy habits that include the following:
- Rest – no one functions well on little sleep, and while many gifted children need less sleep, it is important that they develop healthy sleep habits
- Eat well – well-balanced meals are the key.
- Exercise and relaxation – both are needed in a healthy, well-balanced life
- Playtime – gifted children are often very serious. Building in playtime, preferably with others, can help provide much-needed balance
Perspective: Teach children how to discern between the things within his control versus those things outside of his control. The Hula Hoop technique can help:
- Imagine there is a hula hoop on the ground and step into it
- Everything outside of the hula hoop you have NO control over
- Everything inside of the hula hoop you have 100% control over
- The next time you are angry or upset think about the hula hoop. Is this something you have control over, something you can change? If so, make the needed changes. If not, let it go. There is little you can do anyway.
Temperament: Learn the difference between introverts and extroverts (my post earlier this month may help) and help your child determine which one is true for them. This can help in determining the cause and solution for potential problems with peer interactions
Intensities: Help your child deal with their intensities. Here are a few specific strategies to help:
- Teach children that their feelings are a normal part of his personality.
- Build activity into the day.
- Teach relaxation techniques.
- Allow for creative thinking and creative outlets.
Social Skills: Teach your children these five success tips from 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids (Prufrock Press):
- You don’t always have to be right.
- Be a problem solver, not a problem maker
- Never try to hide your giftedness to make friends – it won’t work anyway
- Accept yourself and others as you are
- Don’t take yourself too seriously
These tips will begin to help your children develop the social skills needed to develop healthy peer relationships at school and beyond.
Happy Labor Day to my US friends. As we enter this new week, most of our kids are back in school. This can be a hard transition for some, including introverted children and our gifted introverts (which many are).
Before I get into a few tips to ensure a great year, let me take a minute to define introversion. Introvert is a term that refers to how someone processes their energy and renews. Different from “shy” or “behavior inhibition” – things that can change over a lifetime, introversion relates to the way you interact with the world. Introverted children (and adults) renew through solitude and quiet, while extroverts tend to renew through social connections. For this reason, the social milieu of school can often be overwhelming. This can be particularly true for our gifted introverts who naturally feel things at a highly intense level. The constant push for collaborative projects, speaking in class and social interactions can leave our gifted children exhausted. And most of us who parent gifted children know that their exhaustion almost always leads to intense behaviors.
Here are a few tips that can calm some of the social apprehension many of our gifted children feel as they start a new school year, as well as ease some of the behaviors that often come at the beginning of the year:
- Prepare Your Child For the Year – Most introverted children struggle with transitions. So, curtail the difficulty with sufficient preparation: If your child is attending a new school, be sure to visit and walk the campus. Make sure he or she knows where to find things like the bathroom, the library, and the classroom. Don’t assume the campus tours are enough. Also, practice morning and homework routines. If you haven’t maintained these practices during the summer months, be sure to go over your expectations with your children. Include them in the development of the routine for even smoother transition. The more prepared your child is, the better the transition into the school year.
- Create a Partnership With School – Get to know the school personnel early. Speak with the teacher and find out what he/she expects regarding group work and oral participation. Talk with the teacher about your child and the impact of both giftedness and introversion. Work together to ensure that your child has safe zones – places they can go when they become socially overwhelmed or need an energy break. Also, work with the teachers and your child to develop a way for your child to advocate for him/herself with the teacher. Whether the concern relates to the introversion or the giftedness, the sooner your child learns how to get his or her needs met, the sooner these things become less of a problem in your child’s life.
- Avoid Afternoon Small Talk – Have you ever noticed how hard it is for your gifted introvert to talk about the day? This is often because the child hasn’t been given sufficient “downtime”. As I mentioned earlier, introverts require time to decompress after the socially draining school day. Avoid the habit of immediately asking your child about his or her day the second they get home. Give your child space and time to veg out after school. This will allow your child to restore his or her depleted energy and avoid energy-low behavioral outbursts. A natural conversation at dinner or before bed will often yield more complete answers to the “how was your day” question.
- Don’t Panic Over Friendships – As parents, we want our children to have lots of friends. However, most gifted introverts will only have one or two close friendships at any given time. Introverts, by nature, prefer deep relationships with one or two individuals. Gifted children, too, often prefer deeper friendships at a much younger age than their typical peers. Allowing and guiding your children toward the development of natural friendships without putting too much pressure to be overly social will enable them to recognize their particular social habits as normal instead of yet another thing to feel shameful about – and trust me, gifted kiddos feel plenty of shame without adding to it!
- Stress Healthy Habits – Las but not least, create life-long important habits by stressing healthy eating, exercise, and plenty of play and sleep. Introverts process energy differently than their extroverted friends. This extends to physiological functions like digestion too. Meals with balanced protein and slow-releasing sugar (like most fruit and veggies) are keep to help gifted introverts stay in balance. Exercise can keep the gifted introvert from becoming too detached and laid back, not to mention it helps them connect to the physical world and get out of their head a bit. Appropriate sleep (remember, many gifted kids need less sleep), and plenty of play are also important for balance. Developing these important habits will go a long way to prevent the more negative aspects of an overwhelmed temperament and avoid behavioral blow-outs.
The start of the school year can be an exciting time. Help your child make it a great year by considering both the giftedness and their temperament.How do you prepare your kid for school? I’d love to hear from you!
For more ideas on supporting introversion and understanding both introversion and extroversion, check out Quiet Kids, available from Prufrock Press.
Hey there – I am so excited to bring you today’s post! After attempting to blog by myself and getting lost in the creative weeds, I decided that I really missed my group blog. So, I have pulled the team back together. Jen Merrill and Tom Furman have graciously agreed to come back to this blog and post on things related to the world of gifted children. Kim McNeil is joining us as well. Along the way, we may have a few guest posters from time to time. The idea here is to create a community where we can talk about some of the issues related to the world of giftedness and offer insights where we can.
Each month we will embark on a different theme. We’ll be posting on the theme a couple of times a week – Monday and Thursday. This month we are focusing on gifted children and school. September can be an intimidating month for parents and kids as they enter back into the routine of school. Whether you are homeschooling, private schooling, or utilizing public educational systems, few things cause more angst than the school setting.
I’ll get us started on Monday with the topic. We hope you enjoy everything and share your thoughts too.
Wow! Has it really been over six months since I last blogged here. Yikes! Thank goodness I am switching things up again.😀 I am changing this blog again. Actually I am going back to what it was a couple of years ago – a group blog to talk about giftedness, intensity and the quirks of living an intense life. Five bloggers, including myself, will start blogging in a couple of weeks.
What does this mean for all of you?
Quality posts on a regular basis. FINALLY! I am so excited to bring this back! I will post more about this in the upcoming weeks.
What kind of topics would you like us to blog about?
Wow! I’ve been a bad blogger. It’s been three months since my last post. Oops. My only excuse – all the fun I’m having in my fictional worlds and with the new job.
Speaking of the new job, one of the things I love about it is my chance to create new content. In particular, I’ve been part of a group that has created a campaign to teach and promote the development of empathy on school campuses. This campaign, fittingly called #EverydayEmpathy, builds on the work from the Start Empathy organization and brings daily activities that promote the development of empathy.
I invite you to checkout the website for this campaign on the Collaborative Learning Solutions website. Maybe there are a few activities you’d like to try.
Did you know that emotional coaching is a highly effective way to reach gifted children? Not only that, but parent coaching can provide parents of gifted children with the insight they need to meet the needs of their gifted kiddos.
When I started working with families of gifted children nearly 2 decades ago, I became increasingly aware that teachers, parents, and students all needed more resources and more support than was available. That is a large part of the reason why I wrote Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students and 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids.
As the years went on, I realized that the books weren’t enough. I could do more to support our gifted population and those that serve them. My consulting and coaching business grew from that desire. Now I am a regular speaker at school districts and other venues. My audience includes parents, educators, and students. Topics include the social-emotional needs of gifted students, understanding the role of temperament and using social-emotional learning competencies to coach gifted children. Speaking events can be presentation or workshop style.
In addition to my speaking events, I also provide coaching for gifted children and their parents. Different from counseling or therapy, the coaching I provide is centered on understanding giftedness and how to maximize potential through empowerment and embracing the positive aspects of giftedness while managing some of the difficulties. I work with clients on goal-setting, specific strategies to address areas of concern, and other skills to help them fulfill their goals.
If you or your organization would like more information about speaking opportunities or coaching, please contact me through my website by clicking HERE.
For 2016, I will be looking for more ways to support the gifted community, as well as anyone living an intense life. If you have ideas about what you’d like to see from me, please leave me a comment and let me know.
Thank you for the ways you supported gifted individuals.
As I’ve mentioned previously, I changed jobs almost 2 months ago. This change has done more than enable me to pursue my passions in new ways, it has freed up my creative self. As a result, I have been working on several very neglected areas in my life ranging from my physical health, to goal-setting habits, to my writer’s life. It’s an exciting and productive time. I am so thankful for the sudden infusion of creative energy and commitment.
One of the by-products of my rekindled passion for writing and my coaching work has been opening my online store. This is something I’ve thought about doing for many years – ever since I started using a Square reader I guess. Well, I finally did it.
Currently my store includes signed copies of my nonfiction work, available at the special pricing I reserve for my speaking events. I am not certain how long I will be offering these prices, so if you think you might like a signed copy of my books I’d order them soon.
In addition to the online store, I am working on a new logo and new website/blog designs – all things that will be coming soon. Also, I will be putting out information on my coaching business as well.
Thank you for coming with me on this ride. It is exciting, overwhelming, and fun!
What things are you working on?
I am in the middle of a book event in Burbank, CA – a two-day series of workshops for parents and kids about the emotional aspects of giftedness. On each night, I start with a workshop with the kids. Last night, I met with about 20 gifted children in grades 6-8.
Let me say that again – WOW! These children were fabulous. Not only did they fully participate, but their insight reminded me, yet again, how amazing our gifted youth are. Together, we discussed topics that included:
- The meaning of giftedness
- The social-emotional development of gifted children, and
- The pressure of expectations
Throughout each discussion, the children offered insights that were poignant and profound. We ended with a Q&A session and while they did not have a lot of questions, I think one girl definitely summed up the workshop:
“I love that we are talking about all of this, and I think that it is important, but why don’t schools understand our need for this and do more to include this kind of discussion in the classroom?”
The message of the night for the students was simple – embrace your gifts, embrace your intensities and find ways to pursue your passions. Imagine what would happen if every gifted child – every child – got this same message…
Tonight I am meeting with Elementary school children for another workshop. I can’t wait!!
If you want me at your event, just shoot me a message and I am sure we can work something out.
One of the hallmark characteristics of gifted children and adults is an incredibly high-performance standard. While this is a fabulous thing, and the very thing that can propel many gifted individuals to excel, it can also be the thing that causes complete and utter stagnation.
For me, it is often the latter. Especially if I can’t reconcile WHY I’m struggling or not performing at the level I expect.
I’m a hard worker. I take pride in my ability to assimilate information, learn new things and improve in the various fields I approach. With my creative self, however, I struggle. I work hard at the craft of writing. And I get great feedback from writers, editors, and the industry. That doesn’t mean my books are performing where I’d like them to be. Or that I am able to produce at a similar rate as that of many of my high-performing author friends.
And therein lies the rub.
I struggle to accept that hard work and improved craft isn’t enough to bring success in creative endeavors. There is a huge, intangible part. There is luck. And I can’t “work” my way into that piece.
For the last several months, the dissonance created by this intangible element of the writing business has resulted in a complete standstill for me. I haven’t been able to produce my fiction work. Every time I attempt it, I stare blankly at my computer, eventually writing and deleting too many words to count until I finally do something else (usually that means finding a nonfiction project to jump into). For a while I decided that maybe fiction wasn’t in the cards for me anymore.
And then I stopped. I changed my focus and decided it was time to quiet the noise and recognize the truth of what was going on…
My high-performance standards had morphed into the paralyzing procrastination that many gifted individuals wrestle face. It was time to try something different. Focus on the action I could take and “let go” of the things that were out of my control.
So, I chose a new approach – a few different projects to work on and a different way to push past my demons.
This morning, for the first time in a long time, I woke refreshed and ready to tackle my fiction-writing world. I drew up a plan and my mind raced. I feel excited.
I feel ready.
Time to act. Time to write. Time to move forward.
Have you ever gone through something similar? What did you do to move forward?