#080 Parents Guide to Gifted Kids’ First Year of School – 5 Things You Need To Know
In this episode, our host Sophia Elliott takes us through the big 5 things you need to know about a gifted kids’ first year of school.
When should my gifted child go to school?
Where should my gifted child go to school?
How do I work with the School?
What do I need to know about the academic journey?
How do we get through the year looking after their social and emotional well-being?
Memorable quote… “
“What are the top five things that we really need to know as parents?
This episode is kind of like the cliff notes, and maybe that’s showing my age. Anyone born after the seventies may not know what Cliff notes are, but back in the day, if you had to do an assignment on a book, but you didn’t have time to read the book you would buy a tiny little book called Cliff Notes, which just told you about the book.
They were great. So this episode’s like the Cliff Notes on the previous episodes and all the great things that you need to know about that first year of school and a bunch of extra tips.
So thank you so much for joining us on this.” – Sophia Elliott
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Parents Guide to Gifted Kids’ First Years of School Series:
#074 Parents Guide to Gifted Kids’ First Years of School Series #1 Part 1 w/ Emily
#075 Parents Guide to Gifted Kids’ First Years of School Series #1 Part 2 w/ Emily
#076 Parents Guide to Gifted Kids’ First Years of School Series #2 Part 1 w/ Stephanie Higgs
#077 Parents Guide to Gifted Kids’ First Years of School Series #2 Part 2 w/ Stephanie Higgs
#078 Parents Guide to Gifted Kids’ First Years of School #3, Part 1 w/ Jess Farago
#079 Parents Guide to Gifted Kids’ First Years of School #3, Part 2 w/ Jess Farago
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Hit play and let’s get started!
Sophia Elliott: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to our final episode in the series that we have been unraveling over the last month. The Parents Guide to Gifted Kids first year of school, and we have been on quite a journey. We started out with. A parent of a gifted child, Emily, who had lots of questions and was the inspiration for this whole series, getting in touch and saying, do you have a podcast that covers all these things already?
I was like, no, but let’s make one. So we did. So she was very brave. Thank you, Emily, for joining us on this journey and in that episode, because they were just going into that first year of school, we had a conversation about what was the journey so far.
What are the questions they have, uh, as you’re entering that first year of school? And then we had our episode with Stephanie Higgs, who is, , an educator and differentiation coach for gifted students. And Stephanie [00:01:00] was able to give us some great insights from that educational perspective about some of those big questions as well.
And then we wrapped up with a great episode from Jess Farago. And Jess had just completed their first year of school with her gifted child. And so it was really great to kind of have that reflective conversation of all the things that they’d learned along the way.
So today’s episode is a bit of a wrap up. What are the sort of top five things that we really need to know as parents? It’s a, it’s kind of like the cliff notes, and maybe that’s showing my age. Anyone here born after the seventies may not be know what Cliff notes are, but back in the day, if you had to do an assignment, On a book, but you didn’t have time to read the book.
You would buy a tiny little book called Cliff Notes, which just told you about the book. They were great. So this episode’s like the Cliff notes on the previous episodes and a bit of [00:02:00] a summary of all the great things that you need to know about that first year of school and also a few extra tips and things, uh, about what you might expect.
So thank you so much for joining us on this. Let’s get into this episode. If you want to support the podcast, you can certainly leave a review, leave us a tip in the tip jar, or even become a podcast patron. You can join us on Facebook or Instagram, and it’s a delight to have you listening. So let’s get stuck.
[00:03:00] Okay, let’s do it. Let’s get stuck into this conversation. So, I’ve kind of really tried to find five key areas of things that you need to know, and this, this hurts me because, um, it hurts to summarize so small, but I’ve done my best. So first of all, we’re gonna go into when, when should a gifted kid go to school?
Where should a gifted kid go to school, working with your school? Then we’re gonna look at the academics and then we’re gonna look at the social emotional. So they’re sort of the five big areas about
getting into that year and how to get through that year.
So let’s start with when. When is the best time for your gifted child to start school? And I’m going to start here with the wise words of Stephanie Higgs [00:04:00] in her episode. And she actually said, well, Maybe there’s not a right answer to this question. We talked about the, the pros and cons of starting early, starting with their same aged peers, even starting later, which is often the advice for children who are born later in the year or sometimes boys and maybe they’re just isn’t a right.
It’s the kind of answer that’s going to be different from one family to the next, one child to the next, and very much about what that particular child needs, their maturity, uh, their cognitive ability. There’s so many things at play here. I also think it was very telling that Emily shared her experience of when they got the psych evaluation done for their child, who that did.
Clarify and confirm that they were gifted that it wasn’t so much about when that child went to school, but [00:05:00] actually about where that child went to school.
So I know it’s very painful not to have an answer because I think as parents, we have this problem in front of us and we just wanna solve the problem Now, preferably today, preferably if we can, but sometimes there is no right answer. And sometimes these challenges are sort of long term challenges and we need to.
Just relax into knowing it’s more about making the best possible decision that you can with the information you have and the options that you have available, and that’s going to be very different from family to family. For some families, they may have the privilege of staying home for longer and allowing their children that extra time before engaging in formal education for other families.
There’s a real need to actually. Get that train going because the financial sacrifices of not working just can’t be made. So again, it’s not about wrong or right, it’s about doing what is [00:06:00] best for your child and your family. Because in meeting the needs of the child, we also need to meet the needs.
Or at least consider the needs of parents and the rest of the family as well. Because if we make one decision, which is great for one person in the family, but actually completely writes off everyone else in the family, well, it’s not really going to give us that outcome that we are really looking for.
It’s going to cause a potentially, Broader harm. So we might need to compromise those positions and do the best we can for that person and allowing us to do the best we can for everyone else as well. So I guess it’s just a little bit of reassurance and validation that if you’re finding this a really difficult decision, if you’re doubting yourself, then really it’s.
What’s the best possible thing that you can do? What’s the best possible decision that you can make at this point in time? And just go with that.
We also talked a lot about [00:07:00] where should a gifted child go to school. So that was our number two. And it is a big question. And ultimately, when it comes to education of our children, We either do it ourselves or someone else does it for us. And there are a lot of families who do homeschool, they’re gifted children.
And if you have capacity to do that, then that could be available option for you. But many of us aren’t able to make those choices. And so we’re actually, we are looking for someone else to take care of that educational journey for our kids that may. Public schooling, or it may be private schooling.
And as we’ve discussed, if we could just throw money at a solution, then at least we would know that we were getting a particular outcome. But unfortunately, when it comes to the education of gifted kids, not even that is a sure thing. It doesn’t actually matter whether it’s private or [00:08:00] public. There are some.
Schools that are public and there are some great schools that are private. , it’s not down to one particular sector. It’s very much about. The leadership and the teachers within the school, the awareness of the school to be able to meet the needs of a gifted child. And it was really great to talk to Jess and Emily about the different things that they did to determine what schools nearby might fit their needs for their children.
Jess shared with us that she actually started looking at schools quite early, and then she was able to sort of revisit. The favorites, I guess as her child grew and developed and was able then to have a really good sense of what might work for her child when the time came to make the move. She talked about how she worked really closely with the psychologist and the kinder educators to make that final decision about when, her child should go to school and then we [00:09:00] had Emily also sharing with us her journey of selecting a school.
There was a real sense there of a lot of Googling to see what was in the local area or, and how far we can as a parent. , Commute each day to do the school drop off, especially when we’ve got more than one child. There can be multiple drop-offs and, and the logistics really do matter and really do impact a family as someone who, for,
for a good one or two years had three separate drop-offs. And spent like almost two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon dropping off each of my three children at very different locations around the city. That is hard. It is really, it’s hard to maintain that.
I think the only thing that got me through is I knew it was for a set period of time and, and, and we really just did not have any options. But if I’d had to do that for any longer, that would’ve just become unsustainable and probably was for the time that I [00:10:00] had to do it. But it was just a matter of grin and bear it.
So the simple matter of logistics and where a school is can it legitimately plays a part in deciding where your gifted child goes to school. There’s no point finding a great school that’s going to take you so far out of your way that it’s going to.
Impact your ability to parent and to exist in life. Because ultimately what’s good for our kids , when we are, our needs are taken care of as well. When we are happy and when we are grounded, when our needs are met, then we are better able to meet the needs of our children.
So there’s no point chopping that off at the knees. Driving insane distances to try and meet the needs of our kids when it’s just going to impact us dramatically. So it’s finding these balances. Emily shared how she also went on a whole bunch of school tours and how challenging it can be in that environment to say, [00:11:00] tell me about your gifted program, or what do you have for gifted kids?
I mean, it’s hard enough to talk about. Giftedness and raise that issue to start with, let alone being in a school tour. And there’s other parents around and, you know, you can be walking on these school to school tours and, and trying to find clues of how, aware they are of gifted students and their needs.
So what Emily did, which I thought was really awesome. Was she actually then called all of the schools, like just anonymously after she’d done the school tours and just flat out asked them, what do you have for gifted education at your school? And it was great to hear that cause it was very telling.
And she just said, some of the schools were like, huh, what’s that? Never heard of it kind of thing. Which is good to know.
But other schools were really engaged and had a great conversation with her about giftedness and were even able to recommend some other schools for her to look at if they had their wait list was full and things like that. So I just thought that [00:12:00] was an inspired idea and can be a really good way to get the information you need, but kind of take that awkwardness out of it, just that anonymous phone call.
Because ultimately the conversations we had about disclosing our children’s giftedness all ultimately agreed that what we really need to do as parents is be upfront with the school and say, our child is gifted. Here’s the report. Are you able to meet their needs? What are your qualifications as a school?
Do you have teachers who are qualified in gifted ed? And what are your gifted program? We need that upfront conversation because the school needs to know what they’re dealing with. And as parents, we need to know that they’ve got some clue about how they’re going to meet the needs of that child.
So it can be a really difficult conversation to have, but ultimately one we need to have, and if we can just call anonymously and bingo. We find a school that [00:13:00] responds the way we want to, it can be so much easier to have that conversation.
And this leads on to working with the school. So , we’ve decided when our child is going to school, we’ve decided where now the rubber hits the road , it’s the first year of school and we’ve gotta work with this school as a parent.
And the one thing we always talk about on this podcast is that our children need a community around them. We need that village around our children, and that includes parents, educators, and potentially. [00:14:00] Allied Health and all sorts of people in that village supporting our child.
So when it comes to our children in that first year of school, it’s all about working together with the school, with the teacher. With the principal and whoever might be involved, uh, in a partnership to meet the needs of what is a complex little individual and someone who is not going to, uh, fit into that sort of box of norms easily and needs those particular accommodations and support.
So we had some conversation about , when do you talk to the teacher? And I think there was a, a consensus there that ideally you are sending through if you’ve got a cognitive report or any reports that you’ve got through to the school and the teacher ahead of time. So they have the opportunity to read that and become prepared if that’s their approach.
But you’ve done your bit as the parent in terms of providing that information. And then we had a chat about catching up with the teacher about a month [00:15:00] in, or , a few weeks in when the teachers had the opportunity to work with your child for a few weeks. And that allows the teacher to get to know your child, have a little bit of a, a think about what they’ve seen and, and what, what accommodations or supports might be.
Something else that Jess learned in her first year. Was if she had her time again, she would’ve had a, a quick chat with all of the teachers that were involved with her child’s education rather than relying on one central teacher to pass on that information about their giftedness and needs to every single teacher.
So that may just depend on your school, how many teachers are involved, what their communication networks are like, but
it might be something that you could just check in on whether you need to do that for yourself or whether that’s taken care of within the school’s communication processes.
It’d be worthwhile as well. Doing a little bit of homework on what are the policies for gifted ed in your particular state, whether you’re in the US or Australia or where, wherever you are in the world, [00:16:00] everyone’s going to have different policies. Here in Australia, we discuss that in some states it.
Actually policy to have an independent learning plan or a personalized learning plan. They can be called different things at different schools, but it’s basically just that individualized plan that identifies the supports and accommodations that your child needs right from the beginning of term one.
Which is great. That’s the kind of thing you really wanna have in place, so worth inquiring about whether that’s something that happens at your school or in your state as a requirement, or even if it’s just something that you can be an advocate for your child and ask for.
It’s a very reasonable thing to ask for as a parent of a gifted child. And then once you’ve got that learning plan in place, having those catch-ups perhaps at the end of each term to see how things are going. Were the things in the plan implemented? How did that go? What are we doing for the next term?
And just having those [00:17:00] ongoing conversations throughout the year as a part of that, working as a team between educators and parents.
So our third area then is sort of about academics. It’s meeting that cognitive need for the gifted child.
We had some great conversations with Stephanie Higgs in her episode about this and some really great advice she shared with us an analogy from Andy McNair that she had heard. Which went along the lines of school should be like surfing for a gifted learner. An amazing experience, and it should be like that for all of our children.
They should be coming home excited about what they did that day and getting up excited to be going back to school. That’s what we’re all wanting as parents and educators. She also talked about the difference between snorkeling versus scuba diving. So if you can imagine, snorkeling is your, you’ve got your goggles on and you’re floating on the top of the water and you’re just kind of looking [00:18:00] down, but it’s very shallow and it’s very wide, whereas scuba diving is about going really deep into things.
So gifted learners love to go deep into things, and so it’s having a bit of scuba diving in amongst the snorkeling when they’re. So it’s talking about that depth as well as acceleration. Stephanie shared that it’s not always about just speeding ahead because they can, and they will, as you know, as a parent of gifted kids, they will happily just speed ahead and consume more and more content.
They love, , the depth, , and within gifted learning. It is quite common that they might develop gaps in various parts of their knowledge about things, , because of the way that they learn. Uh, and that’s something that happens quite a lot, and that’s okay. It’s just when those gaps are identified, it’s just about taking a little bit of time to filling in that gap, uh, and moving on, and of course trying to reduce gaps as you go. But understanding that is [00:19:00] very much a part of the way that the gifted brain learns is that these gaps can pop up.
I think I may have told this story before, but I think it demonstrates it really well.
The child was demonstrating some good literacy and reading skills at home, but that hadn’t really transferred to the preschool, and so the parent was having a conversation with the educator about how can we also, you know, see some of this reading growth. At preschool as well. How can you support them?
And the educator commented that the child really wasn’t across rhyming yet. And so while there was a gap, they weren’t going to accelerate in any particular way because obviously they didn’t want gaps in knowledge. But then the parents sort of turned around to the child and said, Hey, This is what rhyming is and, and explained what rhyming is and provided a few examples.
And then they said to the child, well, can you tell me some words that rhyme? And the child replied with a few rhyming words and then the parents sort of turned around and said, well, we’ve filled that [00:20:00] gap. Now can we kind of move on? And. And start doing some reading, you know, that he’s demonstrating at home as well.
And probably a bit of a cheeky example, and I’m not meaning to paint the educator in a bad way there, but, but just a way to demonstrate that as a gifted learner. Gaps don’t have to be a big deal. Obviously we don’t want them, but they will pop up because of the way gifted learners learn it. And that’s to do with that high level learning sometimes and the way that they consume that content.
But they’re gifted. They’re very capable learners. So it’s just about pausing. Okay. Oh, found a gap. Let’s pause here for a moment. Fill that gap in. Are we good? Yep. Okay. Now let’s move on. It doesn’t have to stop meeting those sort of cognitive needs. It doesn’t have to be a big brick wall.
It was also great talking to Stephanie because she pointed out very rightly, just because they [00:21:00] can doesn’t mean they always want to. So it’s about we never wanna be pushing our kids, whoever they are, gifted or not. It’s not about pushing them and as a parent of a gifted child, I know that you hear me when we say we don’t need to push them.
They, it’s, as a parent, it’s more about hanging on while they’re just going miles ahead. That’s rarely pushing involved at all. But when they’re at school, a gifted child is going to have those moments where. , maybe accelerating with things, but then they might cruise and process for a little while. You know, the speed of learning can go up and down and that’s quite a good thing. You would never wanna be like full steam ahead forever. So it’s about providing those opportunities.
Just because they can, doesn’t mean they always have to for the whole time. Starting school is also about. Learning how to school, what are all of the expectations and the personalities [00:22:00] and dynamics that they’re having to learn. So it can be not always about acceleration, but providing opportunities to kind of work horizontally. And Stephanie shared a great example about addition. So if you had, uh, an early learner and they’re already across addition and the rest of the class are doing addition, rather than racing ahead to multiplication or something like that, maybe just enrich that moment of time with addition by bringing in some basic algebra.
So that they’re as a, yeah, as a gifted learner. They’re still dealing with addition, but they’re sort of broadening the experience of addition rather than racing ahead to the next thing. And that’s a really great example. It’s not always about accelerating. We do need to have that breadth as well for our gifted learners.
I also love that Stephanie said there is space for both picture books and chapter. This warms my [00:23:00] heart. No, because I love picture books and for children, uh, of I, you know, any age. A great picture book is a great picture book. Don’t give them up too quickly. Stephanie was advocating hard not to miss great literature, even though your child might be at reading chapter books already. And bear in mind, not all gifted kids start school being able to read. That is also totally normal. They may pick it up quickly once they’re there, or they just may come to it in their own time.
Don’t think because your child’s starting school and they’re not already on chapter books doesn’t mean that they’re not gifted. So definitely don’t miss great literature. Those picture books are amazing. There’s so many great picture books with different. Stories and values and morals for our kids to learn, and so many great picture books that can be very supportive for children as they’re grappling different [00:24:00] things.
We’ve got some great books here that talk about how to deal with a challenge, how to do hard things, how to deal with perfectionism, great illustrations, great stories, so there is always space for both, and I absolutely love that. Thank you, Stephanie. Stephanie also talked about not limiting what they can learn because they might be lagging in social or emotional area, and that comes up a lot at schools.
An educator might say, well, we’re not gonna move on to this sort of academic area, because what we are seeing here is some social emotional kind of issues. Ironically, a gifted child is more likely to exhibit behaviors that are challenging when their cognitive need is not being met. So if you’ve got a young student who is having some challenging behaviors in the classroom, the first thing you wanna do is provide more challenging content, and that you may just find that that is what the child is bored and not coping, and actually what they desperately need is that more [00:25:00] challenging content.
I also wanted to challenge this idea of lagging in social emotional skills. And they may not have been Stephanie’s words, but, but this issue comes up time. And again, for gifted children. They’re seen as having very high cognitive function and often very advanced in that intellectual area. But compared to their same age peers, they can sometimes demonstrate what appears to be a lag in that social and emotional development.
But if we think about what a gifted kid ears. Their child with very intense experience of the world. Very intense emotions. So rather than this idea of a lagging social skills or emotional skills, Perhaps, it’s just taking a while for them to learn to emotionally regulate because their emotions and internal world are so incredibly intense. Other children, their age don’t have to find their way through such intensities. So inevitably it might take a bit longer to build those emotional regulation skills.
Especially in those [00:26:00] younger years, because that asynchronicity is so extreme. There’s a big difference between their cognitive ability at those early ages and their ability to manage such intense emotions. As they grow older, different parts of the brain develop at different stages and this difference or this extreme asynchronicity starts to lessen.
But they’re always going to have an intense experience of the world.
They’re always going to be individuals with. Heightened sensitivities and. When big feelings. But as they grow older and mature, The brain starts to develop in different ways and they learn tools and strategies to use. They gain that life experience. As their brain develops over childhood and into the teen years. And they learn those tools and strategies to use, to manage their , increased sensitivities. They’re basically gaining that life experience. So be gentle with our little gifted kids. Nurture their [00:27:00] intellect because I absolutely need it, but support them with compassion as they navigate these big emotions that their same age peers aren’t necessarily going to be grappling with.
I can recall numerous conversations with the psychologists of my children. Whereas parents where we’re trying to find solutions to certain challenges and the psychologist just flatly saying, look. Any number of these things that you have already tried would have typically worked the first time with a typical child, but your child is asynchronous complex gifted, and it’s just that.
That bit more challenging to find those solutions that kind of meet all those needs. And so when our kids are a little, we really do need to just. Find out deepest compassion for what they’re going through because they’re having such bigger emotions and experience [00:28:00] of the world than other kids, their age they’re having to deal with.
So our final kind of fifth area today, was that looking at that social, emotional. So let’s have a chat about that. And basically I kind of call this section that getting through the year section really. Because in meeting those social and emotional. Needs of our children through that first, in those early years of schooling. And to be honest, I think these tips could apply to any year of schooling.
It’s really about how do we set our kids up for success socially and emotionally. So the first thing I would say, and something that came across, definitely in that conversation with Jess who was on the, the end of that first year of school was low. The expectations. And lower them everywhere.
ALO them the expectations of your child. Uh, low the expectations of the school, of what [00:29:00] academic outcomes you might think there will be low. The expectations of yourself. Just. Breathe. And just breathe. And I think this is important because there’s been inevitably. Either some angst or quite a lot of angst in that process of when do we go to school? Where do we go to school? How do we talk to teachers and talk to people about giftedness? Like, it’s a pretty intense period of time for us as parents, to me navigating this all. And then we find ourselves in that first year of school finally. And so we can still be very.
Heightened in terms of, right. What is this going to be like? We’ve just. Managed to navigate our way through getting here now, what is this experience going to be like for the next 12 months? So I would just say breathe. Let’s lower, our expectations of everything and everyone. The important thing about this particular year.
Is that you get through it. And that’s basically the important thing of every [00:30:00] year. And I would say that you get through it as a family. With lots of laughter and fun. And there can be various times in our children’s lives where.
Stuff just gets real. And hard. And the best thing we can do is connect to our children and connect through fun and laughter and love. And especially when the world around them is really hard, what they need at home is that connection. The love and the laughter. So the more we’re able as parents to just kind of chill.
Have the confidence that it all be okay in the long run. And to be in the moment. And connecting with our kids. And just spending that time with them after school. That’s that’s the one thing that we can do for our kids every single day. I picked up a book recently called ADHD 2.0. And it’s on my reading list too. I picked it up and this cause there was a [00:31:00] section called love. I’m like, hello. Don’t usually see that in these kinds of books. What does this have to say? And basically it just validated that idea that what our kids need more than anything to build up their confidence and resilience is.
To be told that they’re loved so reassuring our kids of the great things that they’re doing, telling them that we love them, giving them lots of hugs, having those opportunities to do whatever it is that we enjoy doing together. And I think.
Those things will be the things that you personally enjoy doing as well. I personally like reading and so. I have some really nice moments with my kids of all ages. Where we will find a book we’re both into and read together. And that’s really nice and, and all the other things that you enjoy doing with your kids, but we try to laugh a lot and that goes a very long way. So if I would say.
The one thing that’s going to get you through that [00:32:00] first year of schooling is remember as a family to laugh a lot. And if you have so much on your plate as a parent, And I know, I believe me. I’ve so been there. I’m trying to claw my way out. Like everyone else. If we have so much on our plate as a parent, that we can’t just be in the moment with our kids and connect and laugh.
As a family and have fun. We really got to get rid of some stuff. We’ve got to reevaluate. So we’ve got this first year of school. Our kids are learning how to school. And we talked about that. In our conversation with Jess. It’s not all about the academic outcomes in that first year of school. It’s just about learning. What does school look like? What are the expectations? It’s also about building that resilience of lasting five days a week at school.
And that can be a really big thing. So two of my children. Uh, had the option in their first year of school. To have a half day on one of those days. So if you’re a [00:33:00] parent and you’re able to accommodate that in your life, or if you’ve got a grandparent, who’s able to pick them up for half a day. And that’s something that the school does.
It’s a great option. . You might do it for just a couple of weeks or you might do it for the first term. It just helps them adjust to. You know, being at school for five days, because in the afternoons, they will be getting tired, especially later in the week. So it was also a great idea to limit the extracurricular activities during this first year of school.
All that afterschool stuff or the weekends stuff that used to do it. Look, it’s great. I’ll gifted kids love doing these extra curricular things. They’re always into new experiences and going deeper with it. Favorite topics. But when you’re expanding all of your energy on just getting through that five days a week at school, because it’s a new thing. And if you’re learning about all the different things at school,
It can be a period where you just, you don’t need the extra [00:34:00] stuff. And actually what’s really nice is to create that space. So I would say limit all of the extracurricular and weekend activities that you can. And. And even Jess shared some really lovely examples of school holidays. Uh, and not over-scheduling school holidays, and actually allowing our kids to use that period to rest and recuperate and sort of build up their batteries.
There’s nothing worse than if you have a busy weekend or a busy school holidays, and then you’re sending your kids back to school and tired on Monday. Or tired in that first week, it’s really missed that opportunity for them to recharge that battery that they really need. Uh, and I can say that from experience have totally been there and done that and felt bad about it. It’s like, oh, sorry.
Um, Learning that lesson, but where possible look at weekends and holidays as a time to recuperate. And [00:35:00] recharge. Um, in as much as the gifted kids, they get bored and they want to be busy. I get it. I really do. So there’s always going to be some stuff scheduled and perhaps you need vacation care because you need to keep working.
That’s totally. Okay. It’s just, don’t feel like you have to be doing things. Uh, because that’s that space and free time is going to be good for them. Unstructured play is still one of the best things that kids, all kids can do growing up.
It can also be great to get into a particular routine. And that routines. R a way of providing a sense of safety and consistency that stability lets kids know what’s coming and what they can expect. And that’s one less thing that they have to think about. So, if you’re able to get into routines throughout your week or over the weekends or the holidays,
these are really great ways to support ourselves as well as our children.
It’s also important that throughout [00:36:00] the year, you’re keeping an eye on your child and to see whether there are any. Extreme differences in behavior between home and school. A child that demonstrates a very different behavior in either of those environments or just between the two environments can be a real red flag that actually all is not well.
Your ideal is a child who wakes up is happy to go to school. Comes home from school and is still regulated. Like isn’t melting down. Seems to have had a nice day. And when they’re at home is also sort of grounded and regulated. If you’re finding a child is. Either demonstrating sort of challenging behavior at school or is fine, totally fine at school, but then you pick them up and they’re melting down or their, their revenue slowly can sharing information. When they’re at home. These are red flags that.
They’re not getting their needs met. Often. Those [00:37:00] kinds of behaviors can relate to a gifted child. Not getting those cognitive needs met. And as I said before, it’s really important because if a child isn’t getting that challenging educational experience, their behavior will deteriorate. But people who don’t get gifted will go, well, we’re not going to do.
The more challenging staff until the behavior improves, but they don’t actually get that. You need to meet the needs, the educational needs before their behavior will improve. And that’s one of those times where you really want a school or a teacher that gets gifted so that they can help to make those decisions in the best interest of that child.
meeting their educational needs is not. A reward. It’s not a privilege that they get for behaving. Well, it’s an essential need.
It can be great if you are a parent who has this time too, when you picking your child up from school. Um, two. And this can depend on the [00:38:00] school. Some schools are different. They’re like not, you’ve got your kid off. You go. We need to close the gates and do other things. And that’s understandable.
Um, but we’ve, you know, as a family also been at schools where. There’s a, you know, you can hang around for 10 minutes as the kids kind of play and just decompress. It can be a nice opportunity for them just to move once they’ve gotten out of the classroom. I have a little chat with their friends. You can have a little chat with parents or the teacher just before transitioning out of the school and heading home.
It’s not always possible. And, and you may not always be on pickups. Your kids might be going to after-school care. But if that’s an option, it can be a really nice mechanism just to stay in that regular contact with your educator and, and being a part of the team and just like, how are they going? How is it today? Or sometimes the educator will make a bit of a beeline for the parents that they need to talk to, which is great to be there for that.
If you can.
Also what we do. And I think this is great for kids at any age [00:39:00] is. Providing opportunities for our kids to regulate after school. So you may have heard of that kind of Coke bottle metaphor. Um, so if you put a mentor’s into a Coke bottle and give it a shake or, or actually just shake a Coke bottle, obviously.
The top will pop in all spurt out. So some kids, if they’re really having to hold it together through that out the day, You know, they might make it to the car or not even the car or they might make it home. And then there’ll be a huge meltdown. That’s that Coke bottle popping. And that indicates that they’re really ha they’ve been holding it.
Well a lot. Together that really had to manage their way through the day to the point that when they get home to you and that safety of home and you as your parent, They’re able to let out all these big emotions and this big meltdown. It’s a very. Natural kind of process. Um, and in, in those moments,
It’s important to. [00:40:00] Just support your child with the utmost compassion, you know, meltdowns, it can be very challenging behavior. They’re not being naughty. They’re just completely dysregulated after having regulated themselves so hard all day. And so what can be good is providing opportunities for them to help regulate after school.
So some of the things that we’ve tried in the past is a couple of blocks from school is actually a park. So I was, went through a phase where I actually parked my car at the park. Walk to school, but the kids we walked back to the park had to play before we got in the car and went home. And that just allowed that opportunity to move and regulate.
I, we always have snacks in the car when I pick up my kids. Uh, because one they’re hungry, but too chewy or crunchy foods can be quite regulating and you don’t have to make this hard on yourself. Sometimes it’s literally a packet of rice crackers, cheese flavored, usually. Um, and that does the job. [00:41:00] Sometimes I’ll stop at the bakery and pick something up.
Uh, don’t make it hard. It’s just. A little bit of food to quell those hunger grumps and. And I try and go for chewy or crunchy things. Cause that just adds that extra kind of regulation.
It can be great to have fidget toys in the car as well. Uh, or other things in the car to help regulate. So I’ve seen little lap pads that are like little weighted blankets, which can be good or little pillows, which have like a vibrating thing. So you hug it and it kind of vibrates can be a really nice regulating thing.
Or just any old fidget toys, squishy balls, fidget spinners. Anything that, you know, you can pick them up. Stationary shops. They can be just great. Ways to fidget and help regulate on that trip home, or even, um, you know, ear protectors, uh, noise, canceling headphones, or just kind of them. The ones that [00:42:00] block out the noise can be great. If you’ve got more than one child.
Uh, and someone’s feeling a bit sound sensitive. It can be good for them just to put those on.
So it’s setting our kids up for success and it’s sort of anticipating what their needs will be. Likewise in the mornings. How can you set yourself and your child up for success? Just in terms of getting out of the house in the morning. Some kids really struggle with executive function. And so while they might be more than capable of putting clothes on.
Asking them to get dressed for school in the morning. Maybe more than they’re capable of because of the executive functioning processes involved in that the opportunity to get distracted by a book or anything else along the way to finding their shoes or. Or just the process of digging around in the cupboard and finding their uniforms might just be a step more than they’re capable of at that moment. [00:43:00]
And so it’s good to kind of scaffold this and it depends on the kid. Um, and where they capabilities and how far you might go with this. Sometimes if. I know, where are they going to be in a real rush or in like it’s turned four. My kids are naked. I will actually just put there. You know, close on the ch on.
I have one set of clothes on each chair for the kid, so they can just grab it and put it on. Uh, sometimes we have tried in the past as well, having a little visual chart. So, um, particularly for those that might not be reading it, they can just tick it off when they’ve got their socks on their shoes, on the brush, their teeth, and it can be a helpful reminder. You can go like, what’s next on your chart rather than like, nagging, go get your shoes on.
And you know, it just kind of shifts. That communication in the morning. Because ideally. What you want, what the goal is. We all get in the car on our way to school. And we’ve managed not to [00:44:00] kind of. Yell and get stressed at that process. Like that’s kind of parenting Nirvana. It’s getting through that morning, everyone’s dressed teeth, a brush, breakfast lunches, already bags, et cetera, et cetera. And we’ve managed not to yell. We’ve managed not to get stressed. We’ve managed to get in the car.
Because we all we want to set out. All of ourselves up for success in our day. And when we, when. That environment. First thing in the morning is a bit stressful or tense because it’s busy. The how kids take that into their day with them as do we, as humans, you know, we take that. So at that ideal is we, we get through that morning routine.
Without that stress and or yelling. Um, so that we’re all getting set up for success in our day. So I’m a parent, there’s no judgment. Like we’ve all had those mornings. Believe me. We [00:45:00] as a family have gotten much better over the years at avoiding getting to that situation. There’s certain things that we do and that I know will help me and the kids.
And sometimes it’s also about making a judgment call on where they’re at and where we’re at in the year and how tired we are and going, you know what, I’m just not going to expect that from them today. Because I know that’s too much. I’m going to help them out a bit. And I’m going to get up 15 minutes earlier so that I’m fully dressed and I’m not also trying to get dressed and ready to get out the door while they’re all getting dressed and ready to get out the door.
So some tips prepare lunches the night before. Um, I’ve gone through a phase of doing that. I don’t do that at the moment, but I w I will do is prepare all the lunchboxes and make sure they’re all clean from the day. So the night before I’ll put all the lunch boxes out and make sure the bits are ready for the morning so that I’m not.
You know, it’s like, 20 minutes to walking out the door and I’ve realized I’ve got a dirty lunchbox from the night before you got to [00:46:00] wash it and dry it and everything else. Um, as I said, sometimes the kids will just get dressed. Other times we might be at that point of the year. I’m like, here’s your clothes right now. Go pop them on.
Sometimes I will get breakfast balls out and things ready just to get us started. Uh, we’ve have, and I’ve got a friend who uses Google to. Um, for reminders. So Google it, you know, with half an hour to go, Google might be, might say, A little alarm might go off and it might be like, Hey, everyone should have finished breakfast. Please go put your shoes on. And it’s just this little reminder. That’s not the parent that guides the children.
Um, which has really great way of using that home automation. Uh, we also use Google to Google, you know, is our alarm in the morning and it pops music on. It gives us the weather. Because it’s always different here.
Make space for yourself in the morning. I mean, we’re getting our kids already. But make sure you [00:47:00] eat breakfast, grab your coffee, have time to get dressed. And I say, this is someone who inevitably is racing out the door at eight to get the kids to school. And I have not eaten breakfast or had a coffee and I’ve barely gotten dressed. Um, and I always pay for it. So it’s like,
Even if it means getting out 15 minutes earlier, so you can just sort yourself out. It’s always worth it because it puts us as parents in the best place we can to parent our children and be there for them. And that makes it easier for everyone. We also have a what’s called like a launch pad. And it’s a little part of your house where.
You might set up the school bags and the shoes, and you might have all the things that you need for the day. Um, so for us, we’ve got three hooks near the kitchen that the bags go on every afternoon. Uh, and then we take the lunch boxes out. And so, and we always have the shoes always in the shoe box by the front door. So even have a think about where things go around the [00:48:00] house that can make it easier for you in the morning.
Uh, or in coming home from school. So when the kids come home from school, Uh, I’m not saying it’s perfect, but we are getting better at rather than get a bag, getting dumped at the front door, the bags, getting hung up on the hook. Um, or at least thrown under. At the wall under the hook. So it’s, we’re making progress.
Um, but it’s it, you know, we know where they are. It’s right next to the kitchen. We pull the lunchboxes out and it just makes life easier.
And probably my last tip is. Ten four is hard. As the year goes on. Everyone just gets more knackered. It just gets harder. So as the year progresses, Uh, yeah, we deliberately don’t do things in term for any more. We don’t do or we limit. The appointments and activities that we [00:49:00] do. In that last term of school, because.
You just find that by the end of the year, resilience is low. Everyone’s a bit tired and we just need that space to recuperate. And care for ourselves a bit more. Uh, and, and in all, honestly, since COVID. And, you know, life has gone back to whatever normal that might be. I’ve actually noticed that study to kick in, in the late term three.
So that latter part of the year, we really try to be kind to ourselves and we will take whole terms off appointments as well. Just to create space in our lives for both the kids and the parents, because it’s a big commitment. You with gifted kids, we can be doing lots of appointments. So it’s just sort of like, how can we make our lives easier from time to time?
It’s, you know, our kids need various therapies, but it’s okay to take space out from that. It also gives our children that opportunity to consolidate what they’ve been doing in that space. So it can be really good [00:50:00] thing to have in amongst the therapies as well.
So there are five things. When should we go to school? Where should we go to school? Working with the school, the academics and the sort of getting through that year in terms of the social and emotional. I hope that those tips are helpful. It’s a bit of a consolidation of the conversation we’ve been having so far as this.
Parent’s guide to gift a child’s first year of school. If you’ve got more tips you would like to add to that. I would love to hear them. You can get in touch with us on Instagram and Facebook. We have a free Facebook group. You can get involved in and share your tips there.
And it’s been lovely having you on this journey with us, and I’m really looking forward to our next episode. So I will see you again soon. Bye. [00:51:00]