Talent Identification in Children

A child’s experiences in his early years can greatly influence his adult development. Every child is talented in some area. How can you identify your child’s special talents and help develop his talents to better prepare him for his future? Read on to know more.

How does an impoverished Russian tennis club churn out more women tennis prodigies than the United States?

Talent Identification in Children

How does a simple bus conductor become the second highest paid actor in the whole of Asia?

How does a male chef succeed in hosting the longest running food show in Asia, which was so far a primarily female-dominated field?


Anna Kournikova, Rajnikanth and Sanjeev Kapoor all excelled in life because of their inherent talent and passion for their chosen fields.

Influence of Early Formative years on Adult Development

A child’s experiences in his early life greatly influence his eventual adult development. Studies suggest that 50% or more of a child’s mature intelligence is developed by the time he turns 4. It is no wonder then, that a child’s early years are called his formative years. All parents wish to provide every possible benefit to their child during their early formative years to ensure success in later years.

How often have we, as parents, boasted about what we consider as our children’s special achievements and abilities to anyone who would listen? 

Parents will admit that at some point or the other, they have suspected their children of possessing superior abilities in some field. Erica Jong wrote, “Everyone has talent. What’s rare is the courage to follow it to the dark places where it leads.”

How early does talent emerge? How important are the initial signs of talent with regard to adult life? It is important to understand every child is gifted. Some children’s gifts are out in the open for the world to see. Others gifts may be hidden and may need some nurturing before being unwrapped. Even parents who have successfully identified their children’s special talents continue to question their judgement. 

Identifying your Child’s Talents

Identifying your child’s talent area can cause a lot of worry. Trying to decide which hobby or talent your child should cultivate is not always easy. Look for the following signs to help you decide where your child’s talents lay:

Observe Natural Interests

Observe what your child enjoys doing in his or her free time. Sometimes a child may show a heightened level of interest in a particular field. This will help you to identify their natural interests. 

Ask for Teachers’ Suggestions

Owing to the large number of children teachers and coaches interact with; they are best suited to identify your child’s unique talents. Their suggestions and observations are based on your child’s performance in class discussions, tests, assignments, and general child-to-child interactions, and can help in supporting your own impressions.

Academic Performance

If your child shows excellent academic performance in a particular subject in school, it points out their inherent talent in the subject.

Observe Choice of Activities 

If your child has the makings of an artist, you can observe that through the types of activities that draw his attention. Children with artistic skills will enjoy creative activities like crafting, painting, designing, etc. 

Talent in Unconventional Fields

Talents need not always be present only in conventional fields like drawing or singing. For instance, if your child is very good at making conversations and is always able to make his point firmly while debating or arguing on a subject, your child has qualities which can make a good lawyer.

Observe his Television Viewing Choices

Observing the kind of shows your child likes to watch on television can help you in spotting his interests. If he is always inclined towards programmes about cars, for instance, these are signs that automobile engineering probably interests him.

Pay Attention to what your child is Curious about.

If your child is interested in a subject, he will question you about it often and tirelessly.  His great zeal and enthusiasm for that subject will become apparent. 

For example, if he insists on going to a planetarium or looking through a telescope to observe stars more closely, it proves his fascination for the field of astronomy.

Developing your Child’s Talents

“Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There's plenty of movement, but you never know if it's going to be forward, backwards, or sideways.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Knowing that your child is exceptionally gifted or talented in any field is a source of great pride for any parent, but it is also a tremendous responsibility. Once the area of potential is identified, steps can be taken to develop and nurture that talent. Daniel Coyle, author, writes that greatness isn’t born, it’s grown. 

Prodigious talent isn’t passed down genetically. It is the consequence of a cutting-edge powerful pattern combining three significant forces: “targeted methods of practicing, specific methods of motivating, and coaching.” Children’s method of practicing, dealing with success, failure, and criticisms all play a vital part in the likelihood of achieving greatness.

Introduce Them to Children with Similar Interests

Once your child’s special talents have been identified, introduce and encourage them to connect with other children sharing similar interests in order to motivate and cultivate each other’s talents;

Do Not Pass Judgement

Do not judge or comment negatively upon your child’s talents else they lose motivation;

Encourage Your Child to Explore New Opportunities

The more the opportunities a child gets and the more the different activities he participates in, the simpler it will be for him to identify and further develop his talents;

Ensure Your Child’s Passion Is the Motivator

Allow your child to savour his pursuits without putting any demands on him. 

Over – scheduling lessons or excessive parental direction may make them dissatisfied and disinterested;

Find Your Child a Talent Mentor

Monitor your child carefully to see whether or not the interest is just a passing one. Find a talent mentor or expert to help develop and hone your child’s talent. 

It is necessary that you remember at all times that your job is to nurture your child’s interests and not pressurise him with lessons and activities that he may not enjoy;

Promote Inner Satisfaction Not Approval

Provide your child with a comfortable undemanding ambiance to hone his talents naturally. This will ensure that he is motivated not by external approval but by the inner passion and satisfaction he will gain from pursuing his talents.

Praise Effort, Not Ability

When we praise a child’s natural talent, he tends to become complacent and takes less effort to learn more. But if we praise their effort to learn and develop further, children are more inclined to taking risks, making mistakes and learning from them.

Parents need to instil the value of hard work in their children as a means to keep them motivated and constantly striving for excellence. As Magic Johnson stated, “Talent is never enough. With few exceptions the best players are the hardest workers”. While it is true that parents want only the best for their children, pushing them to be better in an area where they have the skill but not the inclination is merely pushing them to fulfil their parents’ dreams and not their own. Having passion for a certain field will ensure that your child will worker harder, faster and better to understand and develop skills to help him succeed. Remember, Hard Work beats Talent when Talent doesn’t Work Hard.