We often say that certain children are especially talented at something, be that music, sports, math, chess or anything else. But what does the word "talent" actually mean? What makes someone talented in such an abstract field as logic or mathematics, and what can you do as a parent to help the seed of talent grow and bloom?
In everyday speech, we use the word "talent" to describe when someone performs well in an area; for example, if they're good at soccer or successful at the chess club. Psychologists, however, say that talent is much more complicated than that. Famous Hungarian-American psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who coined the concept of "flow", believes that the personal traits we're born with (the things we're good at) only make up a part of what a given culture and a historical era considers talent, and who they call talented.
Csikszentmihalyi also states that talent is a developmental concept rather than an absolute value that you either have or don't. Talent is a possibility, which also needs to flourish – and that takes time, effort, and a social environment that appreciates and encourages your work.
In order for childhood talent to develop, the child must put in effort, and the family must show support. It's important to provide the child with appropriate motivation, to give them something they like working toward. External motivations, such as rewards, are only effective as long as the child keeps continuously receiving them. If the flow of rewards stops, so will the interest and the industriousness wane. Internal motivation, when a child puts effort into something because they enjoy the activity itself, is much stronger. Therefore, it's important for parents to send their child to clubs or extracurricular activities that the latter enjoy, where the teachers, the subject and the teaching methodology make the activity enjoyable. This way, the child will have fun with the work they put in. It's also important for such activities to be structured so they give participants a sense of success for their labors. These small victories will constantly increase their self-confidence, and provide motivation for further efforts.
But all this raises an important question: if talent takes time to develop, how can you tell what your child is good at in advance, before investing a lot of time and energy? Here's an answer for you: certain personality traits and various phenomena, already observable at an early age, indicate if a child has the potential for great development in a certain area. Psychologists have identified several types of talent, whose indicative traits can already by noticed at kindergarten age:
Logical and mathematical talent is especially useful in IT and the digital world at large. Here are the early indications of this type of affinity:
If several of these traits describe your child, there's a good chance they have a talent for mathematics and logic, and it might be worth supporting them in a hobby that uses and develops this affinity.
Here at Logiscool we think it's important for every child to find the areas they good at. That's why our courses, camps and workshops offer multiple ways to discover and develop children's logical-mathematical talent as well as other affinities. Our small groups are led by trainers who ensure that learning and task solving remains a fun-filled, entertaining process, since that's what gives children the motivation for continuous development. Our project-based curriculum and experience-based teaching methodology give the children a sense of accomplishment, which strengthens their self-confidence and helps their personality development.