How to Identify Gifted Babies

Some infants learn more easily and develop more quickly. Find out how to identify gifted babies in the following article.
How to Identify Gifted Babies
Elena Sanz Martín

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Elena Sanz Martín.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Until approximately six years of age, it’s not wise to speak of intelligence quotient (IQ) in children. Although there are tests adapted for the preschool stage, cognitive development in these years is dizzying and the results may vary if they’re carried out very early. Still, there are several clues that can help us identify gifted babies.

It’s estimated that giftedness has a genetic component that manifests itself between 40 and 80% of the time, but environmental influence also plays an important role in the development of this condition.

It’s possible to detect signs of great intelligence or ease of learning from the first months of life. Therefore, if you suspect that your baby falls into this category, you should consult a specialist in the field.

Why is it important to identify gifted babies?

Children with high capacities have special needs, not only at the level of cognitive stimulation but also at the psycho-affective level.

Parents need to know and understand their babies well in order to adapt their parenting and education. This way, they can provide their kids with the best opportunities for their holistic development, as well as help them to regulate possible fears or difficulties.

Knowing if babies are gifted is a key piece of information when making decisions regarding schooling, as it’s important not only that they take advantage of their full potential but also that they be happy.

The main objective isn’t to overstimulate the child or to try to accelerate or force their development. It’s simply about understanding and meeting their needs in the best way possible, which may be different from those of other infants their age.

A baby wearing a suit and sitting in front of a drawing of a respresentation of the two hemispheres of the brain.

How to identify gifted babies

We need to emphasize that there are no univocal signs that a baby has high capacities. Even so, the presence of some clues may point to the fact that the child learns, understands, and acquires certain skills at a faster rate than the rest.

First signs of giftedness

Some signs of giftedness are evident from the first months of life. For example, a baby with a focused and alert gaze shortly after birth is rare, although not impossible to see.

At the same time, the social smile of these little ones appears early on, while it usually appears between the first and second month of life.

Developmental milestones

One of the most significant signs of giftedness is that these babies reach developmental milestones earlier. For instance:

  • They can crawl before six months and walk before 11 months. Some of them skip the crawling phase and begin to walk at eight or nine months of age.
  • Regarding language, some of these babies already speak words at six or eight months. Others, although they don’t begin to speak early, develop language quickly. Shortly after the year, these infants have a large vocabulary and the ability to carry on a conversation. It’s also common for them to skip the babbling phase.
  • Control of their sphincters can be acquired quickly so that before 10 months, these babies are able to communicate their desire to go to the bathroom.

Curiosity and motivation to learn

Gifted babies are curious, prone to exploring their environment, and highly motivated to learn. For them, these types of activities are reinforcing and they don’t need an extra push from their caregivers.

They have an early interest in letters and numbers, can learn to read before the age of four, and are avid readers.

Activity, energy, and need for stimulation

Something easily appreciated from the beginning is that gifted babies need more stimulation. They have a preference for new objects and environments and can be irritable and annoyed if they spend too long in the same space or in the same activity. They get bored quickly.

Likewise, they may have difficulties falling asleep and sleep less than other children their age. They’re generally very active and energetic infants.

Fine motor development

The development of fine motor skills is faster and at nine months, they can turn the pages of a book or assemble puzzles with great ease.

Other signs that help us identify gifted babies

In addition to the above, there are other signs that should be taken into account as possible signs:

  • They have sensory hypersensitivity. That is, they’re excessively sensitive to noise, lights, smells, or textures.
  • Their memory is excellent and they’re able to recognize and remember people, objects, and environments early.
  • They’re sensitive and empathetic children. They can express interest and concern for other people or animals in situations that other children wouldn’t notice.
A baby playing the piano.

Gifted Babies Require Special Understanding

Since there’s no definitive way to know if your baby is gifted, it’s important that you stay alert to the progress of your little one’s development.

Considering the possibility that your child is gifted will help you understand many of their attitudes and behaviors and respond with greater sensitivity to their demands.

Offer them varied stimulation, encourage their natural curiosity to learn, and above all, help them manage their high sensitivity. Especially as they grow.

Even though you may detect suggestive signs, remember that only a trained professional can determine if a child is gifted. For this reason, take the above signs with caution and seek necessary advice in time.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Secadas, F., & Pomar, C. (2003). Quién es superdotado. EduPsykhé: Revista de Psicología y Psicopedagogía, 2 (1), 3-26.
  • Sánchez, E. (2003): Los niños superdotados: Una aproximación a su realidad. Madrid: defensor del Menor de la Comunidad de Madrid.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.