As parents and teachers we are consumed with worry and concern for our children. We want to make sure that we give them an environment that will set them up to become happy, generous and successful adults. That is a HUGE responsibility. I recently joined a book study cohort of area Directors and we are reading the book Mind in the Making by: Ellen Galinsky. I have to say it is one of the best books I have ever read as a mother and as an educator. The book discusses the seven essential life skills that every child needs. Some of which I had thought about or heard of before while others were a bit of a surprise to me. Over the next few weeks I will take time to give you a “cliff notes” version of the big ideas of the book. I will also capture images of your children practicing these skills here at TLC.
Skill One: Focus and Self Control The first chapter outlines all the research that supports that these skills have been found to predict future success even more so than a child’s IQ. If that is true, we as parents and teachers should be ensuring that we are focused on developing these skills even in our youngest children.
The chapter discusses some of the “cultural norms” that feed into our children’s difficulty with focusing and self control. It identified stress, background TV noise, distracted parents, and inappropriate use of technology all contribute to our children’s struggle with this skill. There are many simple activities that sometimes we are too hurried in life to really enjoy. Taking time to allow your child to “create,” sitting down to read a book with them, taking breaks, pretending, and really playing with our children are all put on the back burner when our schedules dictate our day to day actions.
The big idea of this chapter that screamed to me was SLOW DOWN! We can’t expect our children to focus on an activity if we are constantly moving them from one thing to the next and continually saying to them “hurry up.”
As parent and teachers we need to be intentional about how our children spend their time and what they are exposed to. We need to teach our children balance and that doesn’t mean DON’T use technology or participate in structured activities it is just making sure we are giving them time to breath and develop their focus and self control through less structured activity. Being vigilant when making choices for our kids will benefit them in the long run.