This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Primrose Schools; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
Isn't it crazy how time truly seems to speed up once you become a parent? I remember marking off the milestones after our son was born, first words followed by first steps. As he grew they seemed to come faster and faster… and somehow here we are with a preschooler!
When we enrolled our little boy in preschool I had a mental list of aspirations for what I hoped he would learn, basic concepts that would prepare him for school. Along with his ABC's and coloring inside the lines, I wanted him to learn to be a better listener, to play well with others and to be well-mannered.
But did you know there are other skills that are just as important for preparing your child to be successful in life? They're called Executive Function Skills and Primrose Schools want to teach parents how they can encourage learning at home through playtime while showcasing these important skills.
WHAT ARE EXECUTIVE FUNCTION SKILLS?
They’re the skills that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions and juggle multiple tasks successfully. Primrose Schools has shared a list of 6 executive function skills they focus on in their curriculum that you can also teach your child at an early age. They are:
- Problem solving
- Critical thinking
TEACH YOUR CHILD EXECUTIVE FUNCTION SKILLS THROUGH PLAY
We've started incorporating these skills into our everyday activities and coming up with creative ways we can encourage our son to learn and master them himself. For example, when we are on the playground we explain how teamwork can help him conquer the obstacle course, working with others to get to the finish line. It's also a good place to explain how problem-solving can help him find solutions that might not be so obvious. Is there another way to cross over an area that is too difficult, another slide that leads to the other side? Introducing these ideas into play makes it a natural, easy way for him to process them in a way that fits his life.
Another activity we introduced that he really loves is keeping a nighttime drawing journal. Every night before bed we talk about the things he did that day, write them down and sketch them out. He recalls his daily activities and I draw them out in stick figures. While he colors in my crude sketches, we talk about the events of the day and all the details he can remember. Not only does this help develop his memory skills, it's a chance for us to discuss his feelings and encourage critical thinking as well. Outlining a day at the park, he works to recall the names of his new friends, to explain the differences and similarities he observes, and conceptualizes future events and imaginary ideas. “I met a boy named Colin. He had a big, furry dog! If I had a dog I would name him Monster and he could pull my bicycle down the street all the way to school.”
Self-control is another important executive function skill that you can help your child practice. Each time you offer a toy or treat, use that moment to help guide them towards practicing patience by waiting a few extra seconds. That simple pause will help nurture their minds into making better decisions.
We all want our children to grow up to be happy, healthy, well-rounded adults. Give them a head start by encouraging executive function skills that will set them up for future success in all areas of life.
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To learn more about executive function skills, click on these resources…