Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tip 41 – Control Yourself – the Ultimate Success Factor

Did you realize that there is something more important to school success than IQ? And, did you know you can help your child develop this success factor relatively easily? In the August 19 issue of the journal Science Dr. Adele Diamond, whose research I have covered in prior posts, wrote an article about preschool skills that lead to success in school and life.

Dr. Diamond states, “tomorrow’s leaders will need the discipline to stay focused, seeing tasks through to completion.” She considers the four characteristics that are critical to success to be:
·      Creativity – children need to be able to come up with new solutions to problems – solutions that they have never thought of before
·      Working memory –  the ability to work with masses of new information and discern patterns and links
·      Flexibility – the ability to view problems from different perspectives and consider different approaches to solution of problems
·      Self- control – the ability to resist temptations, think before acting, and inhibit responses that might cause regret.     
What can you do with your child to foster these success factors? Try adding 15-20 minutes a day of:
1.      Computerized and non-computerized speed training and reasoning games –
2.      Aerobic exercise ((running games, jump rope, team sports like basketball and soccer)
3.    Exercising hand-eye coordination through musical training

In addition – consider adding after school activities that include Martial Arts – like tae-kwon-do that emphasize self-control, discipline and character

Finally, see if your school might consider curricular add-ons – there are two shown to result in improved self control and thinking skills:

1.      PATHS  (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies) trains teachers on activities and approaches that help to develop self-control, recognizing and managing feelings, and interpersonal problems solving.
2.      For Preschoolers - Chicago School Readiness Project (CSRP) emphasized and provided  behavior-management  training for Head Start teachers with suggestions for stress reduction

The Ultimate Success Factor - As we have discussed in other blog posts, All the above qualities are referred to as “executive functions (EFs)”. As Dr. Diamond explains, “these are the cognitive control functions needed when you have to concentrate and think, when acting on your initial impulse might be ill-advised.”  Research has shown that EFs are more important for school readiness and achievement than is intelligence quotient (IQ)

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