This is Your Kid’s Brain on Tech

Truth: Raising kids today is infinitely harder than in years past. And even though our parents want to give us tips on how to parent, they really have no idea what it’s like with this level of tech immersion. In fact, our kids (known as gen Alpha) will be the first generation to only know a world dominated by digital.

The result: Tech now leaves a completely different footprint on the developing kids’ brain, making focus, learning, and self-regulation harder to achieve.

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Executive Function: Parent Homework

We’ve been talking about executive function heavily for the past couple weeks, so by now you should have a grasp on how it all works. But, what does this mean for us as parents?

Executive functions aren’t concrete, fast skills to learn, but they do need to be pointed out intentionally as you go along. We’re not asking you to put something entirely new on your plate, but instead become more intentional with the activities and experiences you do with your kids.

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Crash course: Executive Functions

It’s your choice.

Do you remember what I said?

What do you think we should do?

How are we going to fix this?

You’ve probably said this to your kid (or significant other) many a times, but did you know that these statements and questions engage executive function?

Any goal-driven process or activity that requires conscious thought is utilizing some degree of executive function (a set of mental skills that allow us to appropriately interact with our environment). Look at it like your brain’s upper management or “the executives” in charge of our behavior and cognition as they help plan, organize, and manage many tasks in our everyday life.  

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Podcast Playlist: Executive Function

I’ve attempted to read at least three different titles about kids and executive brain function. They all have very snappy claims, from “Skills Every Kid Must Learn” to “How to Raise Successful Kids” to “Understanding the Kid Brain”. Yes, these are total clickbait headlines.

Of course, as a parent, you want to be able to teach your kids the secrets to adulting early. But it’s not like you can just hack their brain function. Executive function skills include: Focus and self-control, communication, planning, self-regulation, self-direction and motivation, collaboration, problem-solving, adjusting to social situations, etc. A lot of these we didn’t actively learn until we had to take a study skills class.

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Laying the Foundation: School Readiness

So this isn’t quite a Course Notes post, but I absolutely loved this Continuing Ed seminar I took a couple weeks ago on core foundational skills essential for learning. It especially informs our thoughts on school readiness and I want to share it with you all. So here we go!

Ready or not, your little one will soon attend school and you will most likely have concerns if they’re prepared or not. School readiness refers to the range of proficiencies — language and literacy, cognition, social and emotional skills — needed for your child to easily transition into school.  But to be successful in these skills, certain foundations need to be in place.

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