Children that are prodigies can also suffer from difficulties even though they love what they do. If your child is a mathlete (math athlete), learn how to navigate with the little genius in your house in order to create a healthy learning environment for him or her.
When having a gifted child, some parents, not knowing how to nurture their talents, tend to place more pressure on their children.
For a better understanding, imagine you are feeding a hungry child with enormous quantities of food in order to keep the child away from feeling hungry. That child might develop other issues such as not receiving a healthy intake of nutrients or storing too many fats and calories. The same goes for feeding a child’s gifted brain.
Offer them the appropriate amount of challenges and never skip the basics, even though they might seem boring for your super child.
Common Problems Mathletes Struggle With
Some of the problems a gifted child can encounter are: burnout, boredom, impostor syndrome, feeling overwhelmed, or being deprived of the childhood experience. All these situations can lead to frustration and social isolation. However, most of the gifted children facing these situations will have the tendency to dwell on maths even more since that is their comfort zone.
The issue with comfort zones is that they tend to become a dark place of circular depression and low self-trust. In order to avoid that from happening to your child, mathematics needs to be challenging even as a comfort zone.
The purpose of mathematics is not to solve all the problems in the textbook. Through mathematics, your child should learn skills that will help them later in life, as a well-functioning adult in a world that computes each second.
Your mathlete should develop the thinking process by finding reasonable arguments to discussions, analyzing contexts and reactions, making conjectures, coming up with new ideas, and backing facts with their own explanations.
Keep Your Mathlete’s Mind On A Positive Track
The learning experience should be fun and entertaining. The Online Math Center is a supporter of learning through games and you can find a couple of ideas on how to combine this practice with your child’s educational activities in our past articles.
Mathematics is basically all about practice and while pragmatic tips are all over the Internet, you as a parent, need to understand the wiring behind your child’s genius mind. Mathletes have a certain psychological maze and you should know how to read through it.
The Next 6 Tips Will Help You Navigate Better Through The Fascinating Mind Of Your Gifted Child
1. Detect The Mindset
Psychologists argue that there are two main mindsets in people: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. Neither of them is the correct one so-to-say but both can be improved and used for leading a better life.
People with a fixed mindset consider talents or abilities a given. You either have talent or you don’t. Children with this type of mindset find it more difficult to deal with failure and disagreement. Even more, criticism is usually considered a personal attack. That’s right, most of us function on a fixed mindset even as adults.
People with a growth mindset are more daring in tackling the unknowns. For them, talent and abilities are all about practice and improvement. Criticism doesn’t overthrow them and they go over issues again and again in order to find a way to solve them. The downside is that they can meet people unwilling to help them sort things out or people that aren’t looking to improve things.
Once you detect the mindset of your child, though, it can become easier to relate to them and find early solutions to their problems. You can even find ways around the mindset, especially when it comes to criticism and the perception of things they can actually change. They can definitely change a learning behavior.
2. Use Praise Wisely
Try to avoid huge and unreal phrases like: “you are the smartest child in the world” or “you can never do something wrong” or “you can solve everything”. These create unnecessary pressure on your child.
Keep in mind the fact that children’s goals change throughout life so at some point maybe your child won’t want to keep nailing it at school. In order to avoid such pressure, but still compliment them on progress, use more specific compliments such as: “that’s really great, your work paid off”.
3. Set The Bar Lower
Achieving small milestones is more beneficial for the child’s self-development. Often, when we set the bar high in the process of achieving the goal, we end up frustrated and in burnout. You don’t want this for your child. Therefore, when you set the bar lower, the child has a dynamic and more rewarding experience.
4. Practice Mental Math
With the use of calculators and computers, the child can easily lose the ability of thinking in mathematical terms. It happens to adults, too. We lose the ability to make a quick multiplication during shopping in order to predict our costs. Sounds familiar, right?
That’s why it is very important to encourage your child to use the mind like a calculator. Mental math will enhance their ability to think critically and make quick and reasonable decisions. It will also feed the need of a mathematics genius to use the brain for practical situations.
5. Let Them Answer Their Own Questions
If you have a mathlete in the family, a prodigy, or a math genius, let them sort things out. Of course, you need to play along and guide them through the whole process. Children ask a lot of “why” questions. Answering can be even more difficult for parents that have a genius in the family. “Why have they built a tunnel here?”
In order to encourage them to think for themselves, you could answer with: “Can you figure out how this tunnel could help them?”.
6. Look Out For Special Events
The same goes for gifted children that are good at mathematics. There are local and national math competitions, workshops in robotics, or computer programming.
The Good News Is That…
The Online Math Center has all the tools you need to keep a mathlete happy.
Contact us anytime to help you out with your little genius!