Helping a highly intellectually curious and precocious 4-year-old
January 12, 2012 9:32 AM Subscribe
How can we help a precocious, highly curious 4-year-old who gets really anxious and frustrated if he can't channel his energy towards doing something?
posted by divabat to education (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My best friend's son is 4 (turning 5 this year) and loves to learn, to explore and experiment, to challenge himself. However, according to my best friend, he seems to be frustrated because he has nowhere to channel all that energy to, and he gets frustrated and anxious about it.
This originally started because he was once at a kindy where he was the youngest kid and a lot of his friends were about ready to head to primary school. However, after a case of misconduct by the staff, he was moved to another kindy where he was the oldest kid and where the teachers are far more interested in trying to get him to improve his handwriting than in supporting his intellectual curiousity. Since then my best friend has been at a loss for how to keep her son occupied - especially since there's been recent stressors in the family (deaths and illnesses) which is stressing out her son more.
According to her:
* He reads to himself and often tries to work out challenging unknown words
* He's been known to try and conduct science experiments around the house but gets stuck due to his small stature and his age (e.g. he tried to set up a pulley system but found himself too short to get the height he wanted)
* He's tried kid's capoeria, but got frustrated with it after a while (I don't know why)
* He likes LEGO but apparently needs more bricks to keep going
* He often records made-up songs and poetry into his mum's phone
* He has a deep compassion for animals; he teaches his relatives about how to care for them, and once when brought to the zoo he expressed strong concerns about how the animals were being cared for
My best friend often says he reminds her of me, and I do see a lot of similarities - we both get anxious and frustrated if we can't channel our energy and curiousity into something to do. I wonder if part of his frustration is not being immediately good at something and feeling like a failure as a result, which is something I do recognise in myself. When I was his age my savior was the house computer (and later the Internet); I know he has his mum's old iPhone but I'm not sure if he has computer access, especially since they've had issues getting internet in their house for a couple of years now (hopefully this will change soon).
As I write this I feel like the kid needs some sort of yoga or relaxation class, so he can learn to chill out and accept doing *nothing*. I would have recommended circus classes as well, but none exist in their area.
What else can we do to help? My best friend is a single mum with a regular job that occasionally involves weird hours; she had taken a break from the workforce to take care of her son. They live with her family and they chip in to take care of him, but sometimes finding help has been challenging. I live in a different country from them, and I had thought about writing letters from his Auntie Batty (he knows who I am, and recognises my voice if nothing else) with some puzzles or fun things to do - what could I give him that will indulge in his love of learning but still would be relatively age-appropriate?
A mother at a loss thanks you!