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#040 The One Thing You Need to Confidently Parent Gifted Kids

#040 The One Thing You Need to Confidently Parent Gifted Kids

The One Thing You Need to Confidently Parent Gifted Kids

“Like so many, as he entered school it went horribly wrong, and I’ll never forget how incredibly distressing that was.  And yet we were so freaking lucky to find a school that would work for him and within that school a community.  From that  journey, I learnt that the one thing you need to confidently parent your gifted kid is that community- is that place where you can feel like you’re not alone and it will start to give you confidence and peace of mind.” – Sophia Elliott So, I created the Our Gifted Kids Podcast and now, the Our Gifted Kids Hub, and you’re invited to join our community as we start a new journey together… 7 reasons you should join the Our Gifted Kids Hub:
  1. Confidence in understanding what gifted is all about
  2. Support in parenting your gifted kid
  3. Peace of mind that you’ll get through this
  4. Connection with other parents of gifted kids
  5. Relief from having a direction and knowing your journey
  6. Safe places to share and talk about your journey
  7. Belong and be seen in a great community
Our Gifted Kids has always been about bringing people together and saving time and energy for parents by laying it all out there. Right now, the door of this early bird launch is open, but it will close in 3 days – midnight Monday 24 January. 7 things your monthly subscription gets you:
  1. Everything you need to know about gifted in the ‘Understanding Gifted Course’
  2. A pathway through parenting gifted kids with ‘Journey to a New Normal – 5 Steps that take you from Survive to Thrive!’
  3. Monthly live online information sessions
  4. Monthly live online gatherings to meet other parents of gifted kids
  5. Access to Our Gifted Kids Hub private Facebook Group
  6. Exclusive member-only Podcast video and interviews
  7. OGK Hub portal to more information and resources
As our first official early bird launch, it’s only $24.99 per month as long as you remain a financial member; future launches will pay $35+ per month. Or pay $249.90 for an annual subscription and get two months FREE! If you are ready… … To have peace of mind and confidence while consciously parenting your gifted kids … … To take on life without feeling isolated and unsure … You are ready for the Our Gifted Kids Hub. Our Gifted Kids Hub https://hub.ourgiftedkids.com/signup That’s peace of mind & support for the equivalent of a coffee per week! You can cancel any time so what have you got to lose? Do it now so you don’t forget!

Transcript

[00:00:00] Sophia Elliott: So, what is the one thing you need to confidently parent you’ll give to kids. Well, in my experience, that’s all about community. It’s finding that place where you can talk about your kids with other parents who are going through the same journey. You can compare notes, you can commiserate with each other.

[00:00:20] You can celebrate with each other. And that’s what I wanted when I first started this journey. When I first discovered that my eldest was gifted. And what that was all about. What I was yearning for was just somewhere I could go that had all the information I needed that answered those questions that I didn’t even know how to ask or that I wanted answered that would just connect to me because I felt so incredibly isolated. I had no idea what was going on. I’d never heard of gifted before. And I just wanted some peace of mind that this very heavy burden that I felt on my shoulders.

[00:01:08] This sense of. Twilight zone the complete overwhelm and sudden responsibility of having this incredibly intelligent child that was just starting to drown me. I just needed a way out of that. And as I learned over the years, The way out of that is to find other people who get it to other people who, when you share the quirky things, your kids do, they go, oh yeah, I get that.

[00:01:46] And here’s my, you know, here’s what happened to me and they share their stories and you get to laugh and you get to cry and you get to feel like this isn’t all in your head that this is real because. There, you know, there is an element of gaslighting. There’s an element of, oh, you think you’ve got a gifted kids?

[00:02:12] You know, there’s so much of myths and myths, misunderstanding out there about what giftedness is. And when you start to talk to other people, when you start to talk to teachers, health professionals, even like psychologists, all sorts of people that you imagine shouldn’t know this more than you should know it.

[00:02:32] And they kind of give it, sending you this message that you’re making it all up and you’re sitting there thinking, what do I know they’re supposed to be the ones who know what a typical or atypical child looks like. And then you, you felt, you feel like you’re, you’re in this Twilight zone. Like you’re, you’re making it all out.

[00:02:54] And there’s all that self doubt, which contradicts the gut feeling that you’ve. As a parent, that gut feeling that there is something seriously, not right going on something seriously, not typical going on. And as much as you don’t know what the hell gifted is all about, it resonates. There’s something in that that just addresses that gut feeling more so than.

[00:03:28] You know, the, the pro the professional or the teacher, or the other parent who was just blowing you off. And so we need that community and we need to know that that we’re not alone. We’re not imagining all this, that this is. And not only is it real, it’s really freaking important. It’s really freaking important that we get this right for our kids, because there are repercussions, you know, it can start to impact their self-concept their idea of who they think their are from this ridiculously early age.

[00:04:04] And who they are is amazing. You know, all kids are amazing. They all have these incredible strengths and incredible challenges and something wonderful to offer the world and our gifted kids do too. And they deserve that opportunity to express that in a safe place where they’re understood whether that be at their school.

[00:04:29] In the doctor’s office, when they’re seeing their therapist, we need to do better as adults to understand these kids. And we also need to do better understand ourselves because the chances are, if our kids are gifted neurodivergent as parents, we probably are too. So it’s a journey that we all go on together and it’s definitely a journey that I have going on.

[00:04:56] Oh my God. So I dunno, we started out five or so years ago on this journey and it was a rough, it was a really rough start. We were completely clueless. Our eldest is profoundly gifted. We had no idea, never heard of giftedness before. Like so many kids as he entered school, it went horribly wrong and I’ll never forget how incredibly distressing that was.

[00:05:27] It was awful. And yet we were so freaking lucky to find on our doorstep, a school that would work for him and within that school a community. And. From that experience and that journey, I learnt that the one thing you need to confidently parent, your gifted kid is that community is that place where you can feel like you’re not alone and it will start to give you some confidence and peace of mind.

[00:06:01] So somewhere along this journey, a couple of years ago, I was like, right. What we really need is what I wanted was a place I could go to with this community, with this information. And I couldn’t find it out there. And so I was like, well, someone’s going to do it. And, and I just, I couldn’t let it go. So I created our gifted kids podcast to start talking about.

[00:06:31] Giftedness because it’s such a taboo thing and it was not easy at first. I’ll never forget. The first time I went live on Facebook. I’ll never forget publishing the first podcast because I was packing it. I was like, oh, it was very scary. I, you know, even though I had my community around me, On the ground.

[00:06:55] And I knew that we, we needed these conversations. It was, it was a big, scary step. Now I don’t care. I give a toss. What anyone else out there thinks I’m absolutely convinced of this conversation even more, every day that I get these comments from parents. Saying, I’ve just binged listened to the podcast.

[00:07:19] Thank you. And when are you doing more? I listened to everyone. There is no, every time I even like met someone they’re like. You’re the person with the podcast. I was so embarrassed. I, um, yeah, I was just kinda like, oh yeah, that’s me. So it’s so much easier to do it online. Well, let me tell you, um, but I’m really proud of this work and I mean, so incredibly humbled every time by the guests that we have on the podcast, they’re just amazing and so generous with their knowledge and their time.

[00:07:56] And. I just feel incredibly grateful for myself and all of you on this journey that every time, you know, I’ve contacted someone. Like nine, literally like more than nine times out of 10, it’s like, yeah, we’d love to, sometimes it’s hard to find a date, but people want to talk about this, those people within the community.

[00:08:20] And so the podcast was all about bringing together parents, educators, academics, you know, professionals together to have a conversation because there’s some great research out there. But as a parent, Like I’m busy. I didn’t have time to research and find all of that. I want to find that for you. And so I’ll give to kids as always about saving parents time and energy and just laying it all out there.

[00:08:50] It’s what I wanted when I first started on this. And it’s been developing. So we’ve been doing the podcast for a little bit over a year or over 26,000 downloads. At least last time I checked. Bogle’s my Brian because, uh, I wasn’t as consistent last year as I would have liked, you know, there was a small issue of burning out and realizing I was gifted in autistic that a little old thing, which knocked me for a six for a bit there.

[00:09:20] Uh, so I’m really excited about this year ahead. My youngest is at school. Now, which is amazing if you’ve ever been in that position as a parent, it’s, uh, I’m really excited for him. And I’m really excited for me because it’s a game changer and I’ve got great plans for this year and for this community.

[00:09:42] And, and just so we continue to celebrate gifted. So, where are we going? Well, we’ve been doing it our nine days arrest because I realized I was not alone in burning out. And I realized how common that is for parents of gifted kids, because. You know, with servicing these, these kids with such high needs that, and for longer, for like years longer than what a typical child would need that support.

[00:10:14] And co-regulation so were burning out as well as parents. And, um, I definitely burnt out last year. So in my journey to figure out what rejuvenated me, I I’m taking everyone along with me. And, it’s like, I feel great. So that’s super exciting and I’m really excited to, to share those discoveries with everyone else as well.

[00:10:40] In our gifted kids this year, we are starting a new journey and that is where the, our gifted kids have. And this is what I’m calling an early bird launch. So I’m opening the doors, I’m inviting people in and I actually quite proud of what we’ve created. I’m really excited with.

[00:11:05] All of the plans I’ve got for it over the year. Um, but what it is is a resource for parents. So seven reasons you might like to join the gifted kids, hub one confidence in understanding what gifted is all about, support in parenting, your gifted kid. Peace of mind that you’ll get through this. Connection with other parents of gifted kids relief from having a direction and knowing what your journey is safe places to share and talk about your journey and a place to belong and be seen in a great community.

[00:11:48] So our gifted kids has always been about bringing people together, saving time and energy for parents by laying it all out there. That’s why we bring in the, the academics and the experts on the podcast, because we want to hear what their experience is or their knowledge is all about. So that can help us parent.

[00:12:06] So right now the door is open for this early bird launch, the gifted kids help. It’s going to close midnight Monday, the 24th of June. And let me share a little bit about what is inside the hub. First of all, is everything you need to know about gifted. I’ve done an online course and that’s a part of the package and it goes through like everything I could think of a part, one is actually free and on the website and you can check that out.

[00:12:38] It’s, you know, how the gifted brain work and then in part two, and in the rest of the resources information, it goes through. Like all those terms that you come across, uh, asynchronous, the different levels, uh, the bell curve, the history of the IQ test. Um, what else is in there? Uh, what is a percentile?

[00:13:00] What’s the difference between gifted highly gifted and profoundly gifted? Everything. Uh, there is also a pathway through parenting gifted kids, which I call the journey to a new normal five steps that take you from survive to thrive. First of all, we have got understanding. We need to know, uh, dealing with, right? Secondly is education is power. So it’s what do we need to know to get that education on fit? Right? Third one is finding their happy place. So it’s all about how do we support our child’s emotional? Well-being the fourth one is actually about a new blue print for the family.

[00:13:43] So. Often on this journey. We, we started this journey because our child is in crisis or struggling. And because that’s immediate, we need to deal with that. We need to understand what gifted is all about. We need to understand what educational fit they need, and we need to understand more about the health and wellbeing.

[00:14:05] But after that, we need to make sure the rest of the family is okay as well. What is going on in the rest of the family? And that includes other kids. And the grownups. So parents, we need to look after ourselves . And in some ways we need to look after ourselves. Like first, that should almost be the first step, because if we can’t be there for them, if we burn out, like I did last year, then we’re no good to anyone.

[00:14:33] But the reality is when your kid is in crisis, you kind of got to deal with that first because. Oh, you know, because, because they need you, uh, so the fourth step is all about everyone else’s wellbeing. And the fifth step is about actually looking forward into the future.

[00:14:51] So every month we have a live online information sessions and alive, online gatherings and opportunity to meet other parents of gifted kids. There’s access to a private Facebook group and there is. Like member only podcast, video and interview content as well as the actual hub portal itself. So the hub portal is an online resource with all of this information in it.

[00:15:19] And there’s an absolute ton in there already, but I have plans for more. Um, so it’s at your fingertips. You can search for a topic if there’s something in particular that you’re looking for or. You know, you can just have a look at the content library and check that out. So as our first official early bird launch, it’s only 24 99 a month.

[00:15:45] And as long as you remain a financial member, it stays at 24 99 per month. Future launches, there may be an increase in price, but you will always be at that price or you can pay. $249 90 for an annual subscription and get two months free. So if you’re ready to have peace of mind and confidence, well, consciously parenting, you’ll give to kids to take on life without feeling isolated and unsure. Then you already for the gifted kids. So it’s peace of mind and support for the equivalent of a coffee per week. You can cancel at any time. So have you got to lose do it now?

[00:16:24] So you don’t forget, you can go to hub dot our gifted kids.com backslash signup, and I’ll put a link in the notes.

[00:16:32] The doors will close on midnight, Monday the 24th of January, because then we get on about doing the work and engaging and using all that information. And I will open them again later on in the year, but, um, they won’t be permanently. Because I want to focus on the members and what’s going on in the hub, in those meantimes.

[00:16:56] So I’m actually super excited about this. I had a number of founding members come on board late last year. And so we’ve been in there. We’ve been kind of feeling our way through it and seeing what parents were looking for. And so what we have in this kind of hub 2.0 is the result of that work. I’m incredibly, incredibly grateful to those founding members for coming on that journey with me and having the faith in me to come on that journey when we were really just starting out.

[00:17:31] And there’s such an amazing group of parents. Uh, I love you all. Thank you so much for having that faith. In our gifted kids and helping me build something awesome. I absolutely love engaging with you guys and, and I’m really excited about. What we can create together for parents of gifted kids. You know, it doesn’t have to be so hard.

[00:17:59] We can do this, we can make something wonderful. That just makes it so much easier. And, and I think that we’ve really got that here. So thank you so much to those founding members for coming on that journey with me. Um, you’re always have a warm place in my heart and it’s hugely appreciated. So. If you’re ready for the gifted kids help the link is in the show notes.

[00:18:25] And I really look forward to seeing you there. Talk to you soon. Bye.

#039 Who else is a burnt-out parent of a gifted kid?

#039 Who else is a burnt-out parent of a gifted kid?

In our first podcast for 2022 I’m getting real about how hard it is to parent gifted kids and the total burnout I experienced in 2021 – and I’m not alone!

So we’re talking about what burnout looks like, why parenting gifted kids is harder and messes with our health (if we let it!) and what we can do about it!

Hit play and let’s get started!

Memorable Quote

“I’ve always maintained that parenting is hard – full stop. It doesn’t matter who you are or who your kids are, it’s just hard. And it is. But recently, [I’ve realised] that most parents and families have a few years of very intense parenting before things start to level out and become easier… but parenting high-needs kids isn’t like that…” – Sophia Elliott

“It’s the hours spent supporting them through meltdowns. The hours spent as they process their day and try to fall asleep. It’s the energy put into creating a dinner that meets their sensory requirements. It’s meeting their sensory requirements.

It’s the hours figuring out what is going on, years on waitlists, assessments, reports, dead ends, answers. It’s the hours going to therapy…

It’s the hours thinking about how to meet their needs, finding professional support, taking them, paying, putting it into practice. Finding the right school. Advocating at that school. Supporting their cognitive needs.

Then cooking dinner.” – Sophia Elliott

“It’s not like I’m doing something wrong, it’s just a super-human effort to last this long and I’m all out of super-human.” – Sophia Elliott

 Resources


Transcript

[00:00:00] Sophia Elliott: I’ve been trying to be kind to myself. A lot over the last year, I’ve been very fragile. The big giveaway from time to time is finding myself, fighting back the tears, having done something insignificant, but it was just too much mine inconveniences that took a few minutes to remedy no big deal, but I would just feel weak.

[00:00:29] You know that feeling when you just want to cry, because it’s all too much, your sone, the edge that you overflow at the slightest nudge. If you’d asked me, I’d say, I’m good. I am good. We’ve had a big year. 2021 was a very big year, but we’ve moved forward in a bunch of challenges with huge relief. We’re in a pretty good place.

[00:00:55] This was just me from time to time, the cup would get completely empty or it would overflow depending on how you looked at it. For the past few years, my daydream has been the idea of spending a month in a silent retreat.

[00:01:09] Someone else does the laundry and cooks. I didn’t have to talk to anyone. All I have to do is sleep. Maybe meditate, watch TV, read, maybe the ode walk a bit of half-assed yoga. So this confirmed my suspicion, like so many parents. I was totally burned out in 2021. Like. I hit the wall in a bad way. It was really Missy 2021 was hard. I’ve always given more than I have. And I’m learning just how true that is as I’m actually still coming to terms with being autistic and gifted another gem of 2021, which I did not see coming at all, but that’s a whole other podcast.

[00:01:59] As a parent, that giving became an exponential curve leading directly to burning myself out. I’ve had to confront recently that parenting high needs, highly complex kids is actually really hard. I’ve never been particularly good at giving myself a break. So that was a confronting lesson. I’ve always maintained that parenting is hard, full stop.

[00:02:23] It doesn’t matter who you are or who your kids are. It’s just. And it is. But last year, talking to Kate from dynamic parenting, who was a previous guest on the podcast, she confirmed to me that most parents and families do have a few years of very intense parenting or a number of years. I don’t want to play that down before things start to level out and become easier, but parenting high needs kids isn’t alike that.

[00:02:53] Our kids rely on us for many more years, to help them co-regulate help them manage day to day. Living, help them meet all of their additional needs. So those intense years go on and on and on and on. I feel the truth of that in my book. In every tide cell of my body is the Alice spent supporting them through a meltdown.

[00:03:16] The hours spent as they process their day and try to fall asleep and try to fall asleep. Again, is the energy put into creating a dinner that meets their sensory requirements. It’s meeting their sensory requirements. It’s the Al is figuring out what is going on years on wait, lists, assessments, reports dead end.

[00:03:38] It’s the hours going to therapy? It’s the Al is thinking about how to meet their needs, finding professional support, taking them, paying, put it into practice, finding the right school, advocating at that school, supporting their cognitive needs and then cooking dinner. I feel like I’ve spent half of the past few years driving the other half thinking and problem solving and the other house supporting yes.

[00:04:07] That’s three houses. So that’s why I’m so freaking tired. Well, I couldn’t imagine any other reality. I’ve been told a typical family doesn’t contend with these challenges so intensely, especially for so long. Yes. There are many other challenges. It’s not a competition. Parenting is hard. It’s just an acknowledgement that a child with needs high needs is called high needs because those needs are higher than typical.

[00:04:35] Therefore, as parents, we have to ensure those needs are met or supported or fall in a heap. I spent years writing that off, assuming it’s this hard for this long for everyone, not daring to think, let alone say out loud, such a controversial parenting words as it’s harder for us, but it’s validating to knowing how exhaustion is war.

[00:05:04] I’ve even stumbled upon research recently that confirmed that parenting gifted kids is as stressful as parenting kids with a physical disability.

[00:05:14] There’s a lot of us holding it together and some days that’s easier than others. Those days are overshadowed by meltdowns, anxiety, and conflict. Take a toll. As parents, we need to fill our cup or we won’t have the resilience to last the distance. Honestly, I’ve been trying to rest most of 20, 21 trying to refill that cup.

[00:05:37] It’s a bloody empty cup. So it’s hard to feel. And that silent retreat is not getting any closer and life goes on. But acknowledging that actually does help. It really helps. It’s not like I’m doing something wrong. It’s just a superhuman effort to last this long and quite frankly, on the loudest superhuman.

[00:05:58] So I’m learning about what needs to have. What are the actual priorities? What can we cut out in the name of sanity and rest and what needs to stay? Unfortunately, dinner needs to stay. It’s like a Bain in my life, but there are certain levels of laundry standards that are negotiable. At least for me, I’m going to take a term off all, but strictly essential appointments to have a rest and give everyone some time to process.

[00:06:26] We’ve done it before and actually gave the kids some space to consolidate what they’ve learned and actually led to some nice leaps as well as a much needed reduction of weekly miles. So after two years of COVID and that uncertainty and the constantly changing environment, lots of us have burnt out parenting gifted kids is harder and research even validates that for one that’s what.

[00:06:53] ’cause I know we all feel it when we keep going and going and going for longer than your typical child, you burn out to those gifted and your divergent kids that we love so much need more support and co-regulation for longer. And after 5, 10, 15 years, it can affect our health too. So what is burnout?

[00:07:18] Are you tired? Exhausted burnt out, depressed, anxious, indifferent, irritable, angry. Is your sleep disturbed. Do you lack motivation as your brain a fog? Is your performance lower? Are you becoming a social? Do you have fragile emotions like me? Does your body just fill of aches and pains? If you’ve answered yes to any of these things, a good place to start is actually just checking in with your GP.

[00:07:52] Get a checkup under the last couple of years, have really struggled with low iron. And when that’s been the case, I have unlike. Beyond exhausted. It’s a whole different exhaustion, but I’m also grumpy. And now I’m recognized that particular feeling of exhaustion with that particular feeling of grumpiness means I need to check my iron.

[00:08:15] So consider a checkup, consider even some psychological support. If maybe depression is an issue or you’re just not feeling happy. They can be hard to get into and they can be waiting lists, but there are short term solutions as well. Call a helpline, talk to someone, maybe see a naturopath after you visited the GP.

[00:08:39] So in their book, burnout by parka to velour and is they have this list and I’m going to rate it for you. And if any of this resonates with you, maybe it’s more than just feeling tired. More even exhausted. Maybe, maybe you need to look into this burnout thing. So my word is my bond and I’m somewhat perfectionistic.

[00:09:06] I am viewed as a highly responsible person. I can’t get distanced from my responsibilities. Now, those first three, I think if you’re a parent of a gifted child, then you probably ticked all those. I like energy across the day. I feel emotionally drained and exhausted. I constantly feel tired or fatigued.

[00:09:28] I feel less satisfied with life. I have to read, read things because I wasn’t concentrating the first time. My attention is less. I’m more cynical about things and people in general, I find it hard to concentrate on the task at hand, my capacity to remember things is not as good as it was. I feel agitated.

[00:09:48] Constant. I tend to scan when I read rather than focus. Did any of that resonate for you? So I’ve been looking into this rest thing for, well over a year now, even before I burnt out, because I’ve never been good at it. I’ve always been a very busy person. Uh, whether in my actions or just in my hand, always working on something, learning something, doing something.

[00:10:15] So the idea of rest was actually a real big challenge for me. I stumbled across a book a couple of months ago called sacred rest by Dr. Saundra Dolton Smith, which suggested that there are seven types of risks. And this really inspired me to think that we could categorize rest. And, you know, and define it and actually break it down.

[00:10:41] And it’s really helped me to consider the different areas of my life. So on Instagram and Facebook, at the moment we are going through our nine days of rest gifted style as a part of that, we are looking at Dr. Saundra’s seven types of rest amongst other things, and I’m applying a gifted and neurodivergent lens to that because.

[00:11:05] On top of what she presents. I actually think if you look at it from a gifted and your own divergent point of view, there’s more to add. So there’s seven types of risks of physical, mental, emotional, sensory, creative, spiritual, and social rest. And they aren’t all exactly what they sounded like. There is actually something behind it.

[00:11:27] So if any of those things I ran out resonated with you. If this podcast had resonated with you, maybe check out those videos, they’re on Facebook and they’re on Instagram. And at the moment we’re still doing our nine days of rest. So you can get involved in, check that out. So we need to make changes. What can you do to make life easier for you?

[00:11:52] What needs to stay versus what is nice to have? What can you pause for a bit? What is essential? What expectations or standards can you lower to give yourself some space? I think the first step is actually figuring out where the deficit is, which is why I like Dr. S’s seven types of rest.

[00:12:15] It’s a opportunity just to kind of go okay. Where are the areas in my life where I have some deficits and I need to do some work because sometimes the best thing we can do for our kids is actually work on ourselves. In fact, if that’s the one parenting hack that I have learned over the years, is that the one thing, the best thing we can do for our kids is work on ourselves.

[00:12:40] My biggest shifts in parenting have not come with my kids, changing their behaviors. It’s me changing my mindset or perspective about something. So today, ask yourself how bad is it? How bad is it for you? Cause it was pretty freaking burned for me.

[00:12:58] And if you need to take some action, if you need more than just a few nights sleep to write, you consider seeing a GP and taking a few next steps tune into our nine days of rest videos. They’re on Facebook and Instagram. Join us in the Facebook group and share your thoughts or how your. All subscribe on our website to get more info straight to your inbox and our gifted kids don’t come.

[00:13:24] So keep an eye out over the next week or so. So when we open the doors to the, our gifted kids, hub is a monthly membership community for resources and peace of mind that I’ve been working on for some time. It’s an opportunity for parents of gifted kids to get together in a safe place. To connect with people to have that community and to have a whole bunch of resources to make it easier, save time and energy in this parenting, gifted kids journey.

[00:13:55] So subscribed on our gifted kids.com to stay in the loop for that one. And we’ll talk to you soon. And in the meantime, get a little arrest event. It.

Is parenting gifted kids harder, or just hard?

Is parenting gifted kids harder, or just hard?

I’m trying to be kind to myself today because I feel fragile, the big give-away was finding myself fighting back the tears having ordered the wrong thing this morning. Even though it didn’t matter.

It was a minor inconvenience and cost thirty bucks and two minutes to remedy – no big deal.

Nonetheless, I hung up feeling weepy, you know that feeling that you just want to cry because it’s all too much?

You’re so near the edge that you overflow at the slightest nudge?

If you’d ask me, I’d say I’m good. I am good. We’ve had a big year but we’ve moved forward on a bunch of challenges and with huge relief, we’re in a pretty good place. This is just me from time to time; the cup gets close to empty or over-flows, depending on how you look at it.

For the past few years, my daydream has been the idea of spending a month in a silent retreat where someone else does my laundry and cooks. I don’t have to talk to anyone. All I have to do is sleep, meditate, watch tv, and read, maybe with the odd walk or half-arsed yoga.

 This confirms my suspicion that like so many parents I’m totally burnt out.

I’ve always given more than I have (I’m learning just how true that is as I’m coming to terms with being autistic and gifted – I did NOT see that coming – but that’s another blog), as a parent that giving became an exponential curve leading directly to burning myself out.

I’ve had to confront recently that parenting high needs, highly complex kids IS actually really hard. I’ve never been particularly good at giving myself a break, so that was a confronting lesson.

I’ve always maintained that parenting is hard – full stop. It doesn’t matter who you are or who your kids are, it’s just hard. And it is.

But recently, talking to Kate, she confirmed that most parents and families have a few years of very intense parenting before things start to level out and become easier… but parenting high-needs kids isn’t like that.

Our kids rely on us for many more years to help them co-regulate, help them manage day-to-day living, help them meet all of their additional needs… so those intense years go on and on and on and on.

I feel the truth of that in my bones. In every tired cell of my body.

  • It’s the hours spent supporting them through a meltdown.
  • The hours spent as they process their day and try to fall asleep.
  • It’s the energy put into creating a dinner that meets their sensory requirements.
  • It’s meeting their sensory requirements.
  • It’s the hours figuring out what is going on, years on waitlists, assessments, reports, dead ends, answers.
  • It’s the hours going to therapy…
  • It’s the hours thinking about how to meet their needs, finding professional support, taking them, paying, putting it into practice.
  • Finding the right school. Advocating at that school. Supporting their cognitive needs.

 

Then cooking dinner.

I feel l like I’ve spent half of the past few years driving, the other half thinking and problem solving, and another half supporting (yes that’s three halves – that’s why I’m so freaking tired!).

While I couldn’t imagine any other reality, I’ve been told a typical family doesn’t contend with these challenges, so intensely, especially for sooo long.

Yes, there are many other challenges, this isn’t a competition, parenting is hard, it’s just an acknowledgment that a child with high needs is called high needs because those needs are higher than typical, therefore as parents we have to ensure those needs are met or supported, or fall in a heap trying.

I’ve spent years writing that off; assuming that it’s this hard, for this long, for everyone.

Not daring to think let alone say out loud such controversial parenting words as, it’s harder for us (ssshhhh, whisper it, and prepare for the backlash).

But it’s validating to know our exhaustion is warranted.

I even stumbled upon research recently that confirmed that parenting gifted kids is as stressful as parenting kids with a physical disability (stay tuned for an upcoming podcast where this comes up!). 

There are lots of us holding it together, and some days that’s easier than others.

Those days overshadowed by meltdowns, anxiety and conflict take a toll. As parents we need to fill our cup or we won’t have the resilience to last the distance.

Honestly, I’ve been trying to rest most of 2021, trying to refill that cup. It’s a bluddy empty cup so it’s hard to fill it, that silent retreat is not getting any closer, and life goes on. But acknowledging that actually does help. It really helps.

It’s not like I’m doing something wrong, it’s just a super-human effort to last this long and I’m all out of super-human.

So, I’m learning about what needs to happen, what are the actual priorities, what can we cut out in the name of sanity and rest and what needs to stay (unfortunately dinner needs to stay but there are a certain level of laundry standards that are negotiable, in my book anyway).

We’re going to take a term off appointments (except for the strictly essential) to have a rest and to give everyone some time to process. We’ve done it before, and it gave the kids some space to consolidate and actually led to some nice leaps as well as a much-needed reduction of weekly miles.

What can you do to make life easier for you?

What needs to stay vs what is nice to have?

What can you pause for a bit?

What is essential?

What expectations or standards can you lower to give yourself some space?

These are questions I’m asking myself, share your thoughts in our Facebook Group; how are you going??

 

This January (2022) we’re going to dive deeper and spend 9 Days talking about Rest, subscribe to get more info and stay tuned!
#037 How to Motivate & Support Gifted Kids with Dr Joanne Foster

#037 How to Motivate & Support Gifted Kids with Dr Joanne Foster

Today I’m speaking with Dr Joanne Foster, gifted education specialist and multi-award-winning author, about how to motivate our gifted kids.

In this episode we talk about motivation, effort, how to motivate and support the best possible learning experiences for our gifted kids and more.

Hit play and let’s get started!

Memorable Quote

“The lesson here is that if you can help children find something that makes it their own, that they can take responsibility for and feel independent about and connect with other people with it as well… if someone really feels that the activity or the task is meaningful and that it suits their ability level and they can make it more interesting for themselves, they will be motivated.” – Dr Joanne Foster

“The word potential is really tough. Nobody knows anybody else’s potential really. I mean, we don’t have tea leaves. We don’t have crystal balls. We  have to move forward without trying to put anybody into a box around what their potential may or may not be because it develops over time with the right opportunities to learn and with the kinds of encouragement and support that kids need in order to thrive.” – Dr Joanne Foster

Resources

 

BIO

Joanne Foster, Ed.D. is a child development and gifted education specialist, and multi award-winning author.

She writes guest blogs and book chapters, and her articles are featured in many publications including The Creativity Post and First Time Parent Magazine. Dr. Foster taught for several years at the University of Toronto, and continues to work as an educational consultant advising parents, teachers, school boards, and advocacy groups. She offers presentations, webinars, and workshops on learning, creativity, motivation, and children’s well-being.

Her books include:

  • Recently released – a fully revised third edition of Being Smart About Gifted Learning: Empowering Parents and Kids Through Challenge and Change co-authored with Dona Matthews
  • ABCs of Raising Smarter Kids,
  • Beyond Intelligence – Secrets for raising happily productive kids,
  • Bust Your BUTS: Tips for Teens Who Procrastinate (IBPA Silver Benjamin Franklin Award), and
  • Not Now, Maye Later: Helping Children Overcome Procrastination.

 


Transcript

[00:00:00] Sophia Elliott: So today’s guest is Dr. Joanne foster. She’s a parent teacher, gifted education expert, educational consultant, and multiple award-winning author of lots of books, including the recently released being smart about gifted learning, empowering parents and kids through challenge and change who she co-authored with Donna Matthews and.

[00:00:26] Joanne focuses on supporting and encouraging children’s wellbeing, including their intelligence, creativity, productivity, and self-confidence. So it’s an absolute delight to have you with us today. Joanne, thank you so much all the way from Florida.

[00:00:41] Dr. Joanne Foster: Well, today I’m in Florida. Yes. Typically I’m in Toronto, which is my hometown, but we traveled down here for a little break and it’s actually quite pleasant to have the warmth and the Palm trees.

[00:00:52] So I’m appreciate.

[00:00:53] Sophia Elliott: Yeah. A big change from the snow back at home.

[00:00:57] Dr. Joanne Foster: You said it exactly. So you’ve

[00:01:00] Sophia Elliott: had quite the distinguished career in giftedness with just decades of experience. And I’m wondering, how did you get started in this particular.

[00:01:12] Dr. Joanne Foster: Interesting question. I was a teacher for several years and one day my principal called me in and said that we are going to start a gifted program in our.

[00:01:25] The area and we’d like you to look after it. And I said, well, okay, that sounds interesting, but I don’t have any training in gifted education. And he said, well, you’re creative. You’ll figure it out. So I went home that night and I thought about it and I thought, okay, it’s an opportunity. It’s different. I like creativity.

[00:01:42] I like challenge. I’ll do it. So I started reading up as much as I possibly could. This was back in the 1980s. And I took this class and I loved. Children were excited to be there. They were dynamic in terms of their connections with each other. They came from different schools and they came to me every afternoon.

[00:02:03] And in the morning I taught my normal math and English and the end of junior high school. And then I continued on in the field. I became a consultant. I learned everything I could. I got a master’s degree in special education and adaptive instruction with a focus on gifted. And I went on to get a doctoral degree in human development and applied psychology again, with a focus on gifted and I just kept had it.

[00:02:27] I went to every conference I could go to, I read everything I could. I researched. I wrote and over the years, Learned more, I’m a lifelong learner and I share whatever knowledge I possibly can in order to be able to help other people navigate this rather tricky landscape.

[00:02:46] Sophia Elliott: Yeah, definitely tricky. And wow.

[00:02:48] That’s, that’s quite the journey. So, started off as a teacher and like many teachers even. Not having the background and then just finding your way through a whole lot of research. And

[00:03:01] Dr. Joanne Foster: that I also taught at the university of Toronto in the teacher education program. So I taught gifted education and educational psychology.

[00:03:10] And that was a real eye-opener for me too, because in a lot of ways, teachers are not necessarily true. Um, to deal in the area of gifted education. So, so for me that was, that was an, an, another important aspect of what I, I did over the,

[00:03:24] Sophia Elliott: yeah, absolutely. And we find that here in Australia as well, teachers are starting out their careers without that adequate training.

[00:03:34] And you know, initially. The support and knowledge. So that’s certainly a difficult place to start from in terms of then having to potentially have gifted kids or be able to identify, you know, that a child is gifted. So that kind of interests me. You’re obviously, like you said, a lifelong learner and very motivated yourself.

[00:03:56] And I actually was talking to a parent recently and they were asking the question of how do we motivate. I a child or particularly a gifted child who just is not motivated to learn, which I thought it was a really interesting question given that, when you think of giftedness, you think of that rage to learn that kind of intrinsic motivation.

[00:04:21] But I guess, there are times where even gifted kids kind of lose that, that motivation and drive. So you, how can we help motivate our L our gifted kids to learn?

[00:04:36] Dr. Joanne Foster: I’ll give you two tips to start with. The first is value attribution. If somebody feels that a particular task or activity is authentically relevant, that it matters, it has a value to it, then they’re more likely to be motivated by it.

[00:04:54] And the second has to do with having an optimal match, making sure that the learning and the learner are well-matched in terms of what the child can do. And what’s being asked of them. So the expectations the actual preparation, the step-by-step that’s required over the long haul. These need to be appropriately matched so that the child feels comfortable around what it is they’re expected to do.

[00:05:21] I’m going to tell you a little story. Okay. Because it may be a little bit straight this a little bit. And I write about this in one of my books and not now, maybe later and briefly, it’s a story about a little girl named Paul. And she’s in this class. And the teacher has been working on descriptive vocabulary and the assignment that she gives to the class is that you have to describe a day in the life of something, a beach, a rock, an icy pond, a farmer’s field, whatever, and it can either be real or imagined.

[00:05:52] You pick your locale and and you have to write two pages. Description. So Pauline goes home and she thinks about it. And she says to herself again, like, is it boring? Like what, what, what goes on on a rock? What goes on in a field? Like this is stupid. I don’t want to do this. I’m not motivated by it.

[00:06:07] Forget it. I can do more interesting things in that. And a couple of days later, the teacher’s going around the room and she’s asking everybody. Have you picked your spot and everybody’s saying yes, and someone’s saying, oh, I’m going to do a pigs die. And somebody else says, oh, I’m going to do the moon. And someone else says, I’m going to do a golf course.

[00:06:23] And everybody’s all excited. And the teacher gets to Pauline and says, well, what are you going to do? And Pauline of course has just written the whole thing off, not interested, it’s being stupid. And so she quickly comes up with the idea. I’ll, I’ll do the playground across the road from my house. And the teacher says, okay, that’s a great idea.

[00:06:39] Pauline goes home. She talked to her mom and she says, I’m stuck. I have to do this stupid playground. I have to describe it. And, and, and I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to put forth the effort. I’m just not motivated. Right. So in this instance, it was just not aligned with what Pauline was, was wanting to do, but she was stuck.

[00:06:58] She had to come up with something. So she looked outside her window and she hadn’t been in this park for ages and she thought about it and she saw the swing sets and she said, Kids playing and she thought, Hmm, I wonder what goes on there. Look, there’s flowers. And the trees look pretty interesting.

[00:07:12] They’ve grown over the years. Maybe this won’t be so bad after all. And then she decides, well, I’m going to go across the road and actually have a look. And she starts talking to the kids and she sees the gold plaques and she sees what fun they’re happening having. And she talks to the caregivers and the moms and she, she, she looks at what’s happening there.

[00:07:32] And all of a sudden she becomes more interested. And then she starts thinking, listen, there’s birds and there’s dogs and her senses kick in. And she wonders what happens here at night to the flowers, close up. Are there lights, like what goes on here? And she decides I’m going to get her a tape recorder and I’m going to go in and I’m going to actually take what goes on here.

[00:07:54] As she became more invested in the activity, she became more motivated and ultimately she did an amazing project. She did a cover page. She did a video, she did a soundtrack. She was excited because she had found a way to make it her own. And I think. The lesson here is that if you can help children find something that makes it their own, that they can take responsibility for and, and, and feel independent about and connect with other people with it as well.

[00:08:22] Cause she, she spoke to people that the car, then that makes a huge difference. If, if someone really feels that the activity or the task is meaningful and that it suits their ability level and they can make it more interesting for themselves, that will be motivated. Long answer to a short question,

[00:08:39] Sophia Elliott: but yeah, no, and a brilliant answer.

[00:08:41] It really comes to the heart of, I gifted kids sense of, uh, I guess it’s almost like. You know, there’s that inherent sense of justice, which I think links itself to that sense of it’s got to be, have meaning for me. Yeah. You know, I’ve got to be able to relate that back to something I feel is important.

[00:09:04] Which, we talk a lot about in terms of, that strength based approach. So that leads me on to a few other questions. As a parent of gifted kids, especially in those early days of coming to terms with, oh my goodness, my child is gifted. What does that mean? That, potential gets talked about a lot.

[00:09:29] Should we be pushing our gifted kids harder and further?

[00:09:33] Dr. Joanne Foster: Okay. So, so first of all, the word potential is really tough. Nope. Nobody knows anybody. Else’s potential really. I mean, we don’t have tea leaves. We don’t have crystal balls. We, we, we have to we, we have to move forward without. Trying to put anybody into a box around what their potential may or may not be because it develops over time with the right opportunities to learn and with the kinds of encouragement and support that, uh, that kids need in order to thrive.

[00:10:02] And, and in terms of pushing kids, I, I think that we really need to be careful around that because what we really want to do is support them. We want to support their efforts. Their journeys and, uh, and celebrate the small steps as well as, as well as the big ones. Success is really a matter of small.

[00:10:20] Increments at a time, small bursts of effort. And sometimes there’s bigger bursts too, but not always. So when we push kids, we, we really have to be patient and we have to enable them to find that value in. They’re doing to ask the questions they need to ask to have the choices that they need to have to have the time, the extra time sometimes in order to be able to consolidate the learning that they want to do.

[00:10:46] So supporting it’s opposed to, to pushing I think is important and to show faith in their abilities to have competence in them, because that will translate into them having confidence in themselves. I think. One of the things that that’s, that’s really important. And this is a word that’s probably not on the tip of your tongue, but it’s on the tip of mine today because I just posted an article that the creativity post and the title of the article has tenacity.

[00:11:12] And, you know, it’s just an eight letter word and it’s a real. Easy little word, but it’s such an important word. I, and I encourage people just to go to creativity, post.com and take a look on the feature. It was just posted this afternoon and I talk about how we have to encourage children to.

[00:11:33] Push themselves instead of us as parents. And I’m a parent too, and a grandparent, instead of pushing them, encourage them to find ways to make the learning meaningful for themselves to, to have resilience to Allow themselves to have creative expression, to, to make mistakes by taking sensible risks and know that it’s okay.

[00:11:54] They can get help along the way if they need it. Anyway, I think tenacity is, is a big helper. It’s a helper for parents in terms of supporting their kids, helping them find new ways of, of, of being a Maverick of. Taking the reins and also helping children find how they themselves can be tenacious and work forwards.

[00:12:16] Sophia Elliott: Absolutely. It’s uh, I like that tenacity tenacity is a great word, like you say. And I think it’s sort of, because I think it sort of pulls out that idea of determination and grit. Uh, and something that gifted kids, perhaps skills that they do need to learn because things often come so easily to them. And, and you can overlay that with, the sometimes.

[00:12:46] The stress or a high expectation of this idea of potential, which gets talked about a lot with giftedness. And I completely agree with you in terms of, I don’t like the word potential. And I know sometimes, and I know in the UK that they kind of don’t use gifted. They say high learning potential. And while I don’t like the label gifted either what I worry about the term potential is that sense of.

[00:13:14] And expectation I have to live up to that is imagined. And if I don’t live up to that, therefore I’m failing and I’m, you know, I’m not successful. And I just think that is a disaster waiting to happen. Like you say, we can not, we can not look into tealeaves and see what is that potential? What is this mysterious, mythical thing that you’re supposed to live up to?

[00:13:37] So I think that’s a really. Crucial lesson for parents of gifted kids. So thank you for that. Let’s though. What advice do you have for parents? Like we’ve, we’ve talked about effort already and, uh, when things come so easily, it can be hard to actually build up that muscle of grit, uh, that you were sort of talking about.

[00:14:05] So. How do we, as parents help our gifted kids have that sort of intrinsic motivation to make that effort when things get hard. And I guess it comes back to the motivation that we were talking about

[00:14:20] Dr. Joanne Foster: earlier. Right. And it’s a very good question. I think first of all, parents have to make sure that the rules and the expectations are fitting and.

[00:14:30] And flexible. So those are three really important fitting. In other words, going back to that match between the learner and the learners capacities and the kinds of opportunities that are being offered in terms of their learning, um, fairness that the the timelines, the. Availability of materials and the availability of supports.

[00:14:51] Those are there for their child, if, and when they need them. And also being flexible, uh, having that opportunity to, to negotiate a little bit around timelines, or if there’s a lot of creativity that all of a sudden comes to the fore in the same way that Pauline and all of a sudden wanted to try different things at night with the recording and so on and taking maybe extra time to do that.

[00:15:13] So fit fairness and flexibility. Another thing is to pay very close attention to your child’s skill levels. They may not have the same skill level in all different subject areas. So, you know, be aware of that. You might have a child who has what we call asynchronous development, which means that, you know, they may be terrific in math, but maybe not so good in some other areas.

[00:15:32] So, so keeping an eye out in terms of the domain of learning and making sure that whatever is being asked of them, Well suited to their capacities in that level. Also interest whether or not the child is interested in, in what it is that that will, of course motivate them as well. And, and their emotional strengths what’s going on in their lives.

[00:15:53] So, you know, with COVID and with all the uncertainty and vulnerability. And so forth that’s happening right now that that’s right at the forefront of what’s going on in schools and families. And, and the kinds of coping mechanisms that children have are very relevant and how parents are modeling the kinds of coping mechanisms they themselves use and what’s happening within the family constellation that dynamically, th th the nucleus, the safe Haven of home and whether or not that’s being supportive of.

[00:16:24] So those are important factors.

[00:16:27] Sophia Elliott: Yeah, absolutely. And I was, you mentioned the creativity. What was it called? The, the creativity post

[00:16:35] Dr. Joanne Foster: I have over I’m over 70 articles in there. I write for them. I put it in. Call them in every month, I’ve written about praise and reassurance and creativity and gifted learners and like all kinds of things.

[00:16:48] So again, I encourage people to go there and all of this successful on my website, I have a resource page and and you can just sort of click on and, and get my articles from the creativity post from there.

[00:16:59] Sophia Elliott: Yeah, absolutely. And I’ll put the link to that, to those pages in the show notes. So everyone can have a look.

[00:17:06] I was actually having a look through the articles this morning and there are lots of amazing articles there. One caught my eye on lazy. Which I felt was topical because we were going to talk about effort and, and that’s a really great article, which I will, uh, put in the show notes too. And because it just kind of comes back to what you were saying about everyone’s current.

[00:17:32] Uh, you know, uh, our current sense of wellbeing given what a crazy year it’s been with. COVID a lot of people have been in lockdown homeschooling or in and out of lockdown, or just a general sense of uncertainty as we get to what is the end of the academic year? Here in Australia, although I know it’s slightly different in the, in the U S and in the Northern hemisphere like our kids are naked as our way.

[00:18:02] And so when it comes to our expectation and what we’re expecting, the effort for our kids to put into school at the moment, or even stuff at home, We have lowered that benchmark. It’s like as long as you’re getting through the day, as long as you’re getting to school, that is kind of, the benchmark is so low because they’re, you know, the resilience is really down.

[00:18:28] I was talking to one of the teachers only a couple of days ago and, and, and she was saying how one of my kids was struggled with something gets scone because you know that we’re doing this. Scavenger hunt and it wasn’t in numerical order. And that was enough to kind of doing that child.

[00:18:49] The fact of that is out of order. Like my resilience is so low, I’m just going to put my hoodie up and shut down for a bit. And thankfully the parents of this particular, the teachers at this particular school, understand the children very well and could see that, okay, resilience is low over there. We’ll let them just kind of do what they need to and, you know, and then they rejoined and had a great day, but it was just kind of acknowledging that even our kids, uh, you know, they need that rest and

[00:19:24] Dr. Joanne Foster: yes, it’s, you know, everybody’s frazzled and we do have to.

[00:19:29] Make sure that there’s time for life balance for rest and reading and play, which is hugely important. We have to keep in mind children’s past experiences. What sort of put them over the edge before what’s what, what are the strengths that they can call upon to make the day better? What, what kind of positive attitude can they bring forward and, and, and use as, as a way to propel them?

[00:19:51] What sort of work habits do they need additional help on? Are they disorganized these days? Do they need more help with time management you know, priorities, goal, setting those, those kinds of, you know, skill sets that, that, you know, may have somehow gotten sidelined or, or rocked in some way they may need help and really important.

[00:20:11] And we sometimes forget that it’s pleasing. You know, we’re so busy going about our business and doing, and expecting kids to do this, that, and the other that sometimes, but they just needed the time to pause step back, step aside and, and, and to say, you know, please, and thank you. And, and, you know, can we talk and chat about things really important?

[00:20:33] Sophia Elliott: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. We’re really feeling that at the moment. And I don’t know if this year’s. I don’t know, it feels like they’re more naked than usual. And I think the last couple of years are taking their toll on everyone. Generally speaking,

[00:20:50] Dr. Joanne Foster: what is knackered and how do you spell it? I want to use it in my writing.

[00:20:56] I love

[00:20:57] Sophia Elliott: it. I have to say it’s one of my favorite words. I probably use it a lot, so it’s K I never heard it. K N a C K E R E D naked. And I guess it just means. Uh, tired, but, but physically kind of exhausted as well as tired. So really really just you know, at the end of your rope yeah. So

[00:21:22] Dr. Joanne Foster: not being able to manage.

[00:21:24] Sophia Elliott: Yeah, that’s right. You just tired, physically anxiety. You can’t manage. It’s just like game over. Totally.

[00:21:36] Dr. Joanne Foster: When I, when I use it in my writing, I’m going to cite you. Is that okay? It’s

[00:21:41] Sophia Elliott: totally fine. I love that. I love that.

[00:21:44] Dr. Joanne Foster: That’s why I asked how to spell it. I don’t want to get it

[00:21:46] Sophia Elliott: wrong. I know. I know. That’s great.

[00:21:50] Dr. Joanne Foster: But sometimes too, when you’re feeling knackered, the best thing is to be creative. Yeah. Should figure out a new way to do something too.

[00:21:59] Yeah. Take a little bit of time just to let things percolate.

[00:22:03] Sophia Elliott: Definitely

[00:22:04] Dr. Joanne Foster: also busy rushing around and trying to accomplish things that, oh my goodness.

[00:22:11] Sophia Elliott: It’s only 24 hours in a day. It’s yeah, exactly. I think we, we do demand too much of ourselves and our kids sometimes. And it’s a, it’s a good opportunity to reevaluate, I think, as you get to the end of the year and sort of see what’s essential and, and how can we lower those expectations and, and yeah.

[00:22:30] Provide some space for a bit of creativity or rest I wanted to ask you today as well, in, in the book that you’ve recently republished it’s called being smart about gifted learning, empowering parents and kids through challenging change. You talked about something called the optimal match.

[00:22:47] So I, I wanted to take the opportunity to have a little conversation about that because I think that’s a really interesting Approach and for gifted kids. So tell us what, what is that.

[00:22:58] Dr. Joanne Foster: So it’s really about being flexibly, responsive to what children need and want to learn and finding opportunities to address those needs and wants, and basically providing a range of options for kids.

[00:23:12] So, I know it sounds like a lot of work because what do you mean a range of options? Let’s let me just give them one and they’ll be happy and it doesn’t work like that. But there were so many possibilities for learning and children can also help co-create their learning. But if you stop to think about the kinds of opportunities that are out there, especially with technology I mean, for example, that there’s a little girl I know who wanted to learn more about hieroglyphics and.

[00:23:38] Went online and contacted someone in Egypt who was a professor at a university who was kind enough to provide her with information on hieroglyphics. Another little girl wanted to learn about Russian literature teacher and her parents didn’t know anybody who knew anything about Russian literature, but they found somebody at another school who knew somebody who did so reaching out, finding mentors, finding cross grade resources independent studies, finding, finding things that need to be.

[00:24:07] Fixed volunteering in the community. Acceleration and enrichment in certain areas. If, if that’s a possibility entrepreneurial opportunities, leadership opportunities in, in, in being smart about gifted learning, Donna Matthews, and I spend two chapters on different kinds of learning opportunities that might be considered by parents, by teachers, by grandparents, by.

[00:24:31] By anybody who wants to help a child develop, and I’ll go back to the word potential. But again, that, that open-ended sense that you can do anything. You can be anything. And, and, and again, it’s interesting because going back to tenacity the example I gave in that particular article that was posted today was that I can take a picture of a sunset by stepping out.

[00:24:54] But I can also take a picture of a sunset by going someplace different and stretching my horizons. And maybe I can’t find a beach or a mountain or a desert to do it in. But what else can I do? What, what is it that I can do to push my own limits, to, to stretch my horizons and to be creative in new ways and to make a better match for me so that if somebody says, take a picture of a sunset, it’s not boring and frustrating for me, but it’s, it’s it’s an expression of my soul, my spirit, my mind, my desires, my aspirations.

[00:25:27] If, if, if I want to. Play a heart. If I want to learn to skateboard, if I want to take up a sport that I’ve never tried before, what do I have to do? What are my steps? What do I have to explore? And how can my parents help me sort of get there? So, so an optimal match is, is a matter of finding what it is that you really are keen to learn to do, and then finding ways to do it.

[00:25:54] Sophia Elliott: So have you got any advice then for parents on, different ways that they can help their child find those matches

[00:26:03] Dr. Joanne Foster: the discussion, first of all, around what it is they want to do and make sure that it’s realistic. I mean, someone who wants to ride a horse may not be able to have a horse. I mean, just Stickley.

[00:26:13] So you have to make sure that what they want to do is, is, is realistic and that there might be alternatives or there might be negotiation or compromise that needs to be done. Keep in mind, your own family dynamic and, and finances and, and, and what kinds of things you can realistically put in place. Because technology is there.

[00:26:32] We have opportunities to explore different options. So, uh, that makes it a little bit better. And, and, and again, the, co-creation the idea that children have to think about what really matters to them and to build upon what it is they can already do. So, For example, let’s say somebody wants to build a flying machine.

[00:26:51] Well, that’s a great idea. Let’s build a flying machine, but it’s not going to happen. And let’s, you know, a little bit about, aerodynamics, you go online, you find books, you, you learn what makes, makes things fly. You build from what it is that you already know. Uh, and those are the beginning steps to, to, to work with help a child child find their beginning steps before they try to sort of hit the ground running.

[00:27:17] Sophia Elliott: I love that because we talk a lot about, you know, strength based learning and supporting our kids in terms of focusing on their strengths and interests. So this feels like a really nice framework. Uh, To lean on in order to, to support them in that way, if you’ve kind of mapped out, um, you know, mapped that out further with a bit of guidance for us and, and different kinds of ways that we can support our kids, you know, in their interests because.

[00:27:51] It can be a bit overwhelming for parents to kind of go, Mmm. Okay. Where do I go from here? So it’s really nice sometimes to have, a bit of a roadmap of, oh, okay. Here’s a whole bunch of options and ideas and strategies and tools. What’s going to work for us as a family. What’s going to be the right fit for my child, as well as like you say, the family logistics as well.

[00:28:13] So. Right. Being

[00:28:15] Dr. Joanne Foster: open to possibilities, but making sure they’re practical, that’s, that’s really important. And also connecting with the teacher in ways that are meaningful and, and advocating for more professional development for teachers as well, so that they can actually learn to differentiate for children.

[00:28:33] More specifically and more broadly and more stupidly. I think those are really important because we want to make sure that the teachers have the kinds of supports and tools and know how to be able to support children’s learning in the best way possible. So parents can advocate, they can be open to possibilities and can.

[00:28:51] Look for activities that are, multi-dimensional and that, that are exciting. We, we all like to do things. Exciting and fun and bring us joy. And, and, you know, kids are no different, you know, you, you, you stick a pile of the busy work in front of them or you, you give them stuff, that’s boring, they’re just gonna tune out.

[00:29:15] So, you know, we have to, we have to, we can be better than that.

[00:29:20] Sophia Elliott: Yeah, absolutely. And that’s something that always Say is, you know, as well. It’s like, we can, we can do better. And so. Yeah, we’ve talked about how do we motivate kids who might be suffering with a bit of lack of motivation. And we’ve talked about effort and we’ve come around to this idea of the optimal match and that there are different ways and tools and strategies that we can use to inspire them and tap into that sort of sense of curiosity of the world and bring that learning back to life.

[00:29:52] If they’re sort of struggling and. Uh, I think that’s a really nice wrap-around and you know, at the same time, acknowledging sometimes we do need a bit of downtime cause we are knackered. Or in this household scanner, isn’t an another word that we use my husband’s Scottish. Start that one again, scan it.

[00:30:12] It’s a Scottish word and it’s similar to knackered, but I think it’s even more. Exhausted. So scan it. Can you spell that? I’m not sure that I can I’ll I’ll look it up. Send me an email.

[00:30:32] Yeah, I love it. It’s very descriptive. It just kind of, for me, it just, this image of a real exhaustion and just, yeah, nothing left in the tank. Uh, so what is a great

[00:30:44] Dr. Joanne Foster: love them? That’s why I write.

[00:30:46] Sophia Elliott: Yeah, absolutely. And, and Joanne, you are a prolific writer. There’s so many articles. I will absolutely share those links that we’ve talked about today.

[00:30:58] Because there’s a lot of great, uh, tips and strategies and tools for parents in all of those articles. And so I guess just as we wrap up any kind of. Thoughts for parents on, on just those topics of, you know, we’ve talked about effort and motivation and I guess rest.

[00:31:17] Dr. Joanne Foster: Yeah. I think the first is that you have to create an environment of safety and trust for your child, that they know that at home, they can they they’ve got someone to go to and You know, they’re always peddling so quickly.

[00:31:31] And to sometimes to, to acknowledge that they don’t have to dazzle all the time. And th that it’s okay. And at home it’s, it’s, it’s secure and it’s safe. And this is really important, like now, especially during these times of challenge and change that the whole world is going through. Stay attuned to your child’s interests and abilities.

[00:31:52] And and, and, and try to make that match between what it is they want to learn and need to learn and what it is that’s being provided for them. You know, bridging any gaps and paying attention to. Is that, they’re, they’re wondering about, you know, you mentioned curiosity that sense of wonder that, that knowledge acquisition, and also the skills that they might need in order to be able to next level to go to go in and to advance themselves further.

[00:32:17] And I think what, what fits your child in, in the context of your family, which we mentioned, and I think setting good examples. If parents are in, in a good position to be able to see. Examples around how to cope, how to uh, balance responsibilities, time management, time for play in reading and reflection and, uh, and all those other things that, that are part of.

[00:32:42] Of the real world. I mean, academics and school is not everything. And and there’s a whole lot more that goes on. So, so being being aware of that setting, good examples and, and showing too that, you know, you are a lifelong learner, you are creative, you are doing things that, that, that matter, because it’s kind of like when you go on an airplane and They tell you to put your own oxygen mask on before you put one on your child.

[00:33:06] It’s the same thing as parents. We, we need to. Look after ourselves self care and, and making sure that we can breathe, that we’re not so knackered that we’re out. And, and I think that’s a really important thing. So I guess the first one was safety and trust and environment of safety and trust.

[00:33:23] The second is being attuned to your child and the third is to, to be available and intersect good examples around what it is that, that really matter in life.

[00:33:33] Sophia Elliott: Yeah, I absolutely hear you on all of those factors. And especially on, putting the oxygen mask on yourself first and because. Yeah, we all get sort of worn down with challenging parenting and it can be really hard and we’re not at our best as parents, if we’re not, if you know, if our cup is empty and it’s hard to find time to remedy that, but definitely something that needs to be a priority.

[00:34:01] I think something I’m working on anyway

[00:34:03] Dr. Joanne Foster: we all are working on it these

[00:34:08] Sophia Elliott: days. Yeah, it is. It’s really tricky. It is really true. Uh, figuring out what it is that rejuvenates you has been a topic this whole year has been something, a question I’ve been asking myself. Because I think, you know, especially as a parent, uh, and a mum that I think the dads as well, you lose yourself for, for a long while as a parent.

[00:34:29] And then you need to kind of figure out, right. You know, what do I love? What rejuvenates me and. And if I’ve got that spark, well, they’re not going to parent better because I’m going to be grounded and rested and in coming from a better place. And, and that leads to our children feeling safer and supported and all of those things.

[00:34:50] So, yeah. Yeah. Really great note to end on, Joanne, thank you so much for joining us today. It’s been really lovely to have this chat with you and to dig a little bit deeper into some of those You know, some of those challenges around motivation and effort and finding those optimal matches for our kids.

[00:35:10] And I’ll definitely put links into your books as well. Yeah. Because a great opportunity for parents to find a roadmap there and lots of tools and strategies and ideas to put these things into practice. I thank you so much.

[00:35:25] Dr. Joanne Foster: Thank you. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you and I’ve learned two new words to

[00:35:30] Sophia Elliott: know it’s a good day.

[00:35:31] I’ll

[00:35:35] Dr. Joanne Foster: absolutely. Thank, you know, this has been a treat and I just want to take a minute to thank you for all that you do for the gifted community, the information that you share, the opportunities you provide for people to be able to express themselves and convey information. Basically to connect and strengthen one another.

[00:35:54] So that’s a really important job that you do and you do it so well. So thank you.

[00:35:59] Sophia Elliott: Oh, no worries. It’s an absolute privilege. Thank you very much teas.