Identifying Childhood Talents

Author: Stephen A. Peterson

Every child has interests and talents along some line, whether athletic, drawing, musical and any of a multitude of possible activities. In the majority of instances, a child’s talents, are usually not great enough to place her/him as a “genius” or “extraordinary”—but it serves as a basis of interests and activities that may help bring a child happiness, emotional health and success in life. Encouraging a child develop their interests and talents are well worth the time and effort parents/caregivers give to their cultivation.

Many parents/caregivers generally want to know how to recognize what talents child has and at what age they can be recognized. A child’s talent shows itself in activities related to it. A child with musical ability will demonstrate an absorbing interest in listening to music. The child will also take advantage of every possible opportunity to produce music of her/his own, either by playing with a music like toy instrument, playing with an instrument they find at home or asking for an instrument of choice.

By observing a child’s behavior, a parent/caregiver will be able to determine what her/his interest and abilities are. The stronger the talent, the stronger her/his interest and the more things he/she will want to do related to their interest.

No one knows at what age a talent will manifest itself in a child. A great deal of a child’s interest depends upon her/his environment. Educators and child development specialists will tell parents/caregivers that childhood talents are realized when a child has some contact with what interests her/him and the environment is conducive for the blossoming of their particular talent. For instance, a child with chemical abilities may not demonstrate her/his talent until her/she goes to school and has her/his real first contact with a high school chemistry laboratory. Similarly, a child who, as a little boy or girl, is given no opportunity to work or do things in a kitchen for fear on the part of her/his parents/caregivers that he or she will hurt her-/him-self. A child, in this instance, may exhibit no indication of their talent for cooking until he/she has the free and unlimited access to a kitchen.

Interest and ability go hand in hand. It is very helpful when parents/caregivers make every possible effort to identify, encourage and learn what their child’s talent or talents is/are. Then given them every opportunity possible to develop and enhance them.

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