How old does a child have to be before he or she exhibits characteristics and traits of giftedness? Many parents and teachers believe that a child is gifted when school tests say they are, and these tests aren’t given until third or fourth grade, if at all. The truth is that gifted traits show up in toddlers. In fact, some of them can be seen even in infants!
Browse through the following lists and see how many characteristics apply to your young child.
Keep in mind that to be gifted a child need not have every one of these characteristics.
Traits and Characteristics in Young Children:
- Toys and games mastered early, then discarded
- As infants, appear alert
- As infants, may get fussy if facing one direction for too long
- Frequently reach ‘milestones’ such as walking and first speech earlier than average
- Need less sleep, even as infants
- Strong desire to explore, investigate, and master the environment (opens up cabinets, takes things apart)
- May speak late, but then speak in complete sentences
- Very active (but activity with a purpose, not to be confused with ADHD)
- Can distinguish between reality and fantasy (questions about Santa or the tooth fairy come very early!)
Highly gifted toddlers may also show an intense interest in numbers or letters. These are often the children who start doing simple math or teach themselves to read by the time they are three. However, a child who does not read or do math early may still be gifted.