Question: The kindergarten teacher told me that my son is gifted. The school tested him, and the results show that he is reading at the 4th or 5th grade level. I feel that I need to stimulate him for a great part of every day, which does not leave enough time for me. At the same time, I am afraid I am still not teaching him enough at home. - Burdened
Answer: We certainly applaud your desire to provide a stimulating atmosphere for your child. This does not require that you give all of your time to him. Gifted children are naturally curious. You want your son to become an independent learner, rather than relying on you for all his intellectual stimulation.
Build on your son's interests. If he likes computers, find interesting programs and games that he can enjoy by himself. If he likes to read, be sure to take him to the library frequently. Also, help him develop hobbies that he can pursue with little input from you.
You definitely do not need to be the sole provider of challenging activities. Enroll him in school, park and college programs that he will enjoy - from karate to violin lessons. Above all else, remember that your son is just a little boy, and it is very important that he have time to play with other children. Social adjustment is extremely important to his future success in school and life.
You need help in learning how to give your gifted child the advantages he needs without shortchanging yourself. One of the best ways that you can do this is to become a member of a local support group for the parents of gifted children. You can find out about these organizations by contacting your local school district or State Department of Education. Also, you will find it very helpful to read materials on handling gifted children, especially those of the National Association for Gifted Children (www.nagc.org).