How do I keep my child challenged and stimulated?

Little Boy Bored at Home and Needing Some Challenge
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Question: How do I keep my child challenged and stimulated?

How do I keep my daughter challenged and stimulated? I don't want her to get bored and loose her fire to learn. And I don't want to be one of those parents who push in hopes that their child is gifted. I just want her to do well, stay challenged and most importantly, to be happy in her life.

Answer: Don't worry about being a "pushy" parent.

Parents of gifted children get accused of this all the time. In reality, most of us find ourselves being dragged by our gifted children, and we struggle to keep up. They have what some refer to as a "rage to learn." That means that they seem driven to learn; they need little or no encouragement to learn, particularly if the subject is something they want to learn about. Of course, for them to want to learn about it, they must know about it, so parents can introduce their child to new subjects. That's not pushing either.

For example, when my son was about thirty months old, he wanted to read. He had already "broken the code" and was able to read simple phrases and was starting to read easy readers. But he couldn't get enough reading and would read absolutely anything and everything, including billboards and the sides of trucks. To support his interest in reading, I took him to the library at least once a week.

I didn't force him to go; it was much closer to the other way around!

Many people, teachers among them, don't understand this rage to learn and will tell you to stop pushing your child. As long as your child is the one initiating the desire to learn, don't pay attention to them. Do want you can to nurture your child's interests to keep her challenged.

If your child is a toddler or preschooler, there are ways to keep your child stimulated at home. If your child is about to start school or is already in school, you can determine whether the school is a good fit and therefore likely to be a challenging and stimulating environment by carefully evaluating the school and its programs.

Whether your child is in school are not, there are five good ways to nurture his or her abilities. And if you worry about whether or not what you are doing is pushing rather than challenging or nurturing your child, it might help to understand the difference between pushing and nurturing. There is a point at which nurturing becomes pushing and parents reach that point if what they do with their child is no longer for the child, but for them.

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