Critically acclaimed author of edgy YA fiction, psych thrillers, and nonfiction self-help books. Drinker of skinny vanilla lattes. Lover of life. Titles include Lacrimosa, Transcend (both for YA) and The Girl Guide (non fiction for teen girls)
Parenting gifted children is a challenge in many ways. But it is also exciting. Their intensities and passions are electrifying to be around. But sometimes our kids struggle with wrestling that excitement into a dream for their future. Life happens, the world misunderstands them and slowly they begin to limit their dreams, their passions. This is where we need to intercede and help our kiddos NOT lose sight of their dreams.
Dreaming isn’t about being practical or pragmatic. It’s about imagining the most fantastical life you can dream up, and imagining it in perfect detail. Teaching our children how to visualize their passions can inspire them to do as Henry David Thoreau says and “go confidently in the direction of your dreams.”
A Dream Poster is a great way for your children to put their fantasies and dreams into something that can remind them of their passions. Making one is easy and can be done with minimal supplies. The how-to list below can be done to create a print poster. You can also adapt it to create a digital poster or collage board on Pinterest, Tumblr page, or similar online site:
How To Make A Dream Poster:
Start with a listing of your interests
Find or draw pictures that capture those interest, as well as your goals for the future
Make a collage, poster, or some other artistic representation of those interests. Be as creative as you dare. Some people have made 3-D letters, decoupaged with pictures of their dreams. Others have created Wordle posters or Tumblr pages. There really are no limits to what you can create.
Somewhere in the picture, write a goal of something you would like to do or achieve.
Date the picture.
Revisit it often and change it or add to it as you desire.
Most importantly, DREAM BIG!
It’s important for all of us to make visual reminders of where we want to go, both in terms of our goals and our dreams. Teaching your children to to this can help them harness their intensities and turn them into passions that ignite their future. A dream poster can be their (or your) reminder to help us when life throws curve balls, gets too difficult, or our dreams seem to fade from view altogether.
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.
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.