Parents of gifted children often have to approach parenting with an entirely different style.

Parenting a child who has the intellectual capacity of an 8-year-old, but the social and physical skills of a 4-year-old can be a real challenge. Balancing the social, intellectual, physical and developmental needs of a child who is at varying stages of development can be a real juggling act.

As you parent your gifted child, consider:

Fostering his natural inquisitiveness.

Set up lots of materials in an organized fashion so that your child has access to many different educational and play items. Encourage exploration through play and through conversation. While it can be tempting to tune your gifted child out after he asks “Why?” for the thirty-second time, don’t. Instead support his natural desire to learn more about himself and the world around him.

Set clear limits.

Show your gifted child that you love him unconditionally by setting clear and firm limits that you consistently enforce. When gifted children reason their way out of problem or avoid disciplinary action through reasoning, they are led to believe they have power and control. Gifted children need to know that they are safe and well cared for. Setting limits sends that message.

Nurture his creativity.

Gifted children are often creative children. Making books, writing stories, and solving problems can nurture your gifted child’s creative side. Tell a story and let your child finish it or have in depth child led conversations.  You’ll be surprised at the depth of his creativity.

Offer an enriching environment.

Provide opportunities to do brain teasers and puzzles, which boost brain development. Take trips to the local zoo, natural history museums and science museum. Expose your gifted child to all type of music and dance. Doing so offers your gifted child opportunities to make rich brain connections.

Teach him to relax.

Gifted children often experience tremendous amounts of stress. They are often multi-talented and take on too much, which causes them to be spread too thin. Gifted children also tend to be perfectionists, socially isolated and understanding of adult problems. Deep breathing, visualization exercises and exercise can help reduce stress.

Support friendships.

When a gifted child finds a friend he truly connects with, parents should strive to support the friendship. Driving the next town over for a playdate may not be appealing, but it’s essential if doing so helps foster social connections and peer relationships for your gifted child.

Be an advocate.

Parents of gifted children must be their best advocates. Parents should meet with teachers to discuss learning plans and to flush out how advanced content can be made available to the gifted child. Parents must also consider which educational program suits their child best. They should consider programs that meet the child’s intellectual level but operate at the child’s social and physical developmental levels.

With the right support, gifted children can excel at home, at school and at play. Parents of gifted children should be sure they have the support they need to parent their child effectively.