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Children's Health

Bored toddler

06/29/2009

Question:

My 2 and a half year old son is always bored. He is very intelligent for his age. He can count from 1 - 30 and backwards. He knows all the alphabets and he even can show most of the countries in the map. He also can spell some words to an extend.He understands everything very quickly. He is multilingual and can count the numbers in 3 different language (thanks to diego and other progarms that he watches on TV)

But we feel that he is always bored if he doesn`t have a book or a pen around him. He never likes to run around and play. He sucks his finger most of the time. He has no real interests other than reading books and coloring with crayons.. I am at a loss with how to encourage and motivate him to play with other kids at the park. He is very sensitive too. I am a sit at home mom and he is with me all the time. If i do some work of my own he comes to me and sits on my lap sucking his finger. Because of this I feel guilty all the time. Can you tell me what to do to encourage him to play and mingle with other kids and have some iterest in other things apart from reading and drawing. We are planning to send him to a preschool once he turns 3. But I am worried about him because he wants somebody to sit with him all the time or he wont play. Please advice on how to handle this or if this is perfectly normal situation and just let it go. I love him so dearly and as a mother I keep worrying about him so much because I dont want my poor son to be left alone when he goes to school. Thanks!

Answer:

It sounds as though you likely are the proud mother of a gifted toddler! Gifted young children are often advanced in language, reading, and counting skills. However, gifted young children are often not as equally advanced in their social skills or gross motor skills as they are in reading and language. So it is really a challenge for parents to walk the tightrope of nurturing and supporting their child's advancement in selected skill areas while remembering his or her child may not be equally advanced in all areas. Often young gifted children find the company of older children more interesting than that of peers the same age. They also benefit from parents' efforts to enrich experiences to appeal to their unique level of ability, e.g. helping to plan a vacation or museum excursion.

Parents of gifted children often find it helpful to read books about the unique trials and tribulations many gifted children experience in typical preschools and schools and with social relationships with their age-matched peers. A potentially helpful book is James Alvino's "Parents' Guide to Raising a Gifted Toddler: Recognizing and Developing the Potential of Your Child from Birth to Five Years" and James Delisle's "Parenting Gifted Kids: Tips for Raising Happy and Successful Children." Books available at teacher supply stores such as the Lakeshore Learning Store(http://www.lakeshorelearning.com/home/home.jsp) offer helpful ideas for gaining your child's interest and engagement in more active pursuits.

I don't think you need to worry about your child in general as long as you offer him the love and nurturance he needs and avoid pushing him too hard and too fast for where he is as a total child. Enjoy your talented son! I hope these prove helpful suggestions.

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Response by:

Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University