This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Primrose Schools; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
For the past 20 years, I have had the opportunity to live out my dream as a teacher. There is something so incredibly fulfilling when you help a child learn and catch a glimpse of that “aha” moment! As a teacher and a mommy, I want to be sure that my “children,” both my biological ones and my students, are prepared the moment they walk through the doors of any school.
Long before I became a mommy and obtained my degree, my career as a teacher actually began more than twenty years ago when I started teaching preschool at a local center in my area that had just opened up. My mission as a preschool teacher was to do lots of interactive educational activities with the children I was lucky to be with. I wanted to encourage learning and help those little ones prepare for the next adventure in their lives, “big school,” as I called it back in the day. Thankfully, I found the right school to be employed at Primrose Schools. Although I only worked there for a short period of time, the impression that this preschool left on me was priceless!
As a busy mom working full time and blogging, where does preparing our kids for school fit into our lives? How can I give my own children the very best and make sure they are prepared when I am dealing with what seems like the weight of the world on my shoulders? It should come as no surprise that when I became a mommy, I would be looking to Primrose Schools to help me prepare my own children in their early educational journey. Nearly 25 years later, Primrose Schools continues to be a leader in early education and care. As an accredited early education center, they provide a Balanced Learning approach that “empowers children to reach their full potential by nurturing curiosity, confidence, creativity and compassion.”
If you are looking for a preschool that will meet the needs of your children and prepare them for a bright start, check out Primrose Schools. We can’t begin to say enough good things about this early education center! Even if you can’t have your child enrolled at a Primrose School where these skills are embedded into their daily schedules, you can still do your part at home to address these necessary skills.
Primrose Schools offers parents many suggestions to help prepare for children for the next steps in their developmental journey. Whether you are still in the infant stage or approaching Kindergarten age, Primrose Schools offers guidance that is practical and begins to prepare your life. While that may sound strange – early education center preparing kids for life-it is so true! The skills that we need to equip our children with to be successful begin at home when they are young.
Just like us, I am certain that you want to give your child the best possible start in life that you can, and Primrose Schools is ready to help you navigate that path. Recently, they published an article about the 6 executive function skills that you can begin to foster in young children.
So, what does building executive function skills look like at OUR home? How are we teaching our children these skills so they are prepared to tackle their early education years in school? Let me begin by saying that it is really very easy! It is all in how you approach and interact with your child. You may even be surprised to find out that you are actually doing these things right now! Check out some of the things we do with our little ones below to see how easy it is to teach your toddler these important lifelong skills they will need to be productive and successful later in life.
We recently purchased a toddler bed for our little one, and along with that purchase comes a little more freedom. Prior to the bed, the crib provided a safety net for us. Baby boy stayed in the crib until we came to get him each morning. With the bed, our life has changed. Each morning when baby boy wakes, he wants to come directly to our room. Now you would think this would not be an issue—extra snuggles with my precious one. Well, when baby boy wakes up at 4 AM and comes to mommy’s bed ready for the day, that’s a problem for me! A BIG problem for me! As someone that already has to get up EARLY for school, I really value my sleep (what little I get). So we adjusted his bedtime routine, but also we invested in a special clock. This clock helps to train him when it is okay to get out of bed. Having this clock to look at has helped us tremendously. Baby boy has learned to adapt to our schedule, and he’s learning skills that will help him to adapt to his own schedule one day.
Working memory refers to how we hold onto and work with information stored in our short-term memory. As parents, we work on this more than we may realize.
We are blessed that we are involved with a small group of children that we arrange play dates with weekly. Those simple childhood games like Duck Duck Goose or Simon Says that we grew up playing are a great way to help increase your child’s working memory. The ability to be able to recall quickly whether they’re supposed to sit or chase is helping to develop that working memory in your children.
When we are not interacting with our play group, we are busy playing board games at home that help to increase working memory as well. One of our favorites is the traditional matching cards with cartoon characters the children know and love.
Providing routine for your child is also helpful. In our home, we have created flash cards and signs that show some of our routines. We go through these with our little ones to help them create that sense of schedule and to remember what to expect.
How can you teach this to your young child? First and foremost, wait to respond. Do not rescue them from the process of struggling through something. An easy thing you can do at home is set up an obstacle course for them. Allow them to experience the course without your help. When you notice the struggle coming, give them the time to figure it out. In my classroom I tell the students we are giving everyone some think time. How many times have you been settings where someone has called out answers? When this occurs, the opportunity to learn or push through is stolen from you. Your brain typically shuts down and refuses to problem solve.
In our home, a point of frustration is Legos. Yes, it is a BIG problem for my husband and me when we step on one of those blocks that offer up an inexcusable amount of pain for such a small toy. For a child it can create a real struggle. Our little ones have often thrown pieces across the room and destroyed complete works of art they have created simply due to frustration. “I can’t get it in here!” “This is stupid!” I am sure some of you have heard these expressions before. Teaching your child how to ask for help is crucial. Children need to figure out if it can’t work because you are frustrated or because you can’t truly do it. Children need to realize the difference and advocate when they need help.
We have taught our son to ask for help before throwing. He is supposed to say, “I am struggling and getting frustrated.” When he does this, we either provide the support or encourage him to take a break. Giving your child a voice to express his frustration in an appropriate manner is vital to developing problem solving skills.
Parenting is hard work, and you do not have to do it alone! If you are looking for ways to help your children prepare for school, we highly recommend subscribing to Primrose’s newsletter, Pointers for Parents. Ten lucky people who subscribe will win a Primrose Prize Pack, consisting of a $250 Barnes & Noble gift card and 5 children’s books! You can enter here. Giveaway ends October 23, 2017.