While most toddlers are content to play with their toys and games, yours may seem to have an unusual interest in math. If your toddler enjoys learning advanced mathematical concepts designed for older children, she might be gifted in math. Giftedness in math, if properly nurtured, stays with your child as she gets older. Math giftedness gives your toddler an advantage when she enters school, and later in life, it can help her earn a job in a satisfying, challenging career field.
1 Learn the difference between the labels "bright" and "gifted." Gifted kids learn easily, while bright children work hard to achieve learning goals. Bright kids know answers to questions when asked, but gifted children are the ones asking the questions.
2 Practice counting with your toddler using workbooks, toys or objects. Alternatively, ask your child to count noises, such as claps. Find out how high he can count. Toddlers typically have trouble placing many numbers in sequential order, so if yours does this well, he may be gifted.
3 Give your child math problems to solve. Start with basic addition and subtraction problems designed for kids his age. If he solves those easily, work up to multiplication and division problems for older kids. If your toddler can solve these problems, he is likely gifted in math.
4 Listen to your toddler's questions to find out if he's mindful of math. If he asks about the price of an item, questions the concept of time or wants to weigh produce at the grocery store, he might be mathematically inclined.
5 Watch for evidence of your toddler's mathematical aptitude in the real world. Ask your toddler to help you measure ingredients when cooking or baking or estimate the number of objects in a container.
6 Look for other signs of giftedness, such as the eagerness to learn, ability to make complex plans, exceptional memory, understanding of abstract concepts, and the ability to quickly understand and apply new knowledge.
7 Ask your child's teacher to evaluate him for the school's gifted program, if he's currently in preschool. Even if your child shows signs of giftedness, many schools won't test him without prompting from you. Schools often overlook students who have lots of energy, are troublemakers, have a disability or who don't perform well on tests.
8 Monitor your toddler's performance in daycare or school, if applicable. Gifted kids often complain about boredom in school. Children with a gift in math usually do well in school, but surprisingly, some also do poorly.
- Challenge your toddler with plenty of math exercises and games, but give her time to play and enjoy being a kid, too. Allow her to play with toys and games that expose her to a variety of subjects, not just math.
- A gifted toddler will have an advantage when she enters school, but being gifted can also be difficult for your child. She may get impatient and bored at school because she already knows the subject matter. She may also brag about her intelligence and show off in front of her peers. Gifted children can feel immense pressure to succeed in everything they do.
- Mcfarland School District: Gifted & Talented: Is My Child Gifted?
- Davidson Institute: The 10 Most Commonly Asked Questions about Highly Gifted Children
- Free Spirit Publishing: You Know Your Child is Gifted When... (PDF)
- Teach Preschool: Everyday Math in Preschool
- Center for Talent Development: Activating Your Young Child's Potential in Mathematics
- Talent Igniter: Ruf Levels of Gifted Assessment
- Psychology Today: The "Bright Child" vs. the "Gifted Learner": What's the Difference?
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