Building Skills

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It’s Easier to Raise Strong Children Than Fix broken men.

Frederick Douglas

I get tons of questions about how and when to start to build skills. Parents seem to be unclear on what age to begin to focus on building those executive functioning skills. Many parents are wondering if they need to worry about their child’s self-regulation skills at such an early age, or at all. Why not just wait it out and see how they naturally do? Because starting now is not only going to make your life way easier, it’s going to make theirs way easier! These skills are the skills that we use to do everything. And when both you and your child are expending less energy to get through the day- everyone will be happier.  

Wiring a brain takes a LOT less effort than re-wiring

It will always be harder to remediate than it is to just teach someone correctly from the get-go. Think of it like wiring a house. It’s a LOT cheaper to install the wiring for that fancy sound system while building the house than would be to go back and run those wires after the fact. Similarly, wiring a brain takes much less effort than re-wiring a brain. It also takes much less energy, and remember, stress is just energy expenditure. It takes less energy to set things up the right way from the beginning than it would to wait and see where your set-up went wrong and fixing it.

Don’t stand like a deer in the headlights next time your child misbehaves. Grab the Scripts for Managing Crazy-Making Behaviour and know exactly what to say next time your toddler or preschooler isn’t listening.

This Is the Least Stressful Time for Them To Build Skills

As we age our brains solidify.  You know the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks?”  That’s because an old dog has a solidified brain. The less plastic our brains are, the harder it is to integrate new information. A child’s brain is very plastic which means that it’s easy to mould. It’s easy to get it to make connections and easier to build skills. A toddlers brain is infinitely more plastic than even an 8/9-year-old’s brain. This is why early intervention is so important for children with developmental differences. The older we get, the harder it is to learn new things. It takes more energy- which means it’s more stressful– which means it’s harder! 

Far more gains in a Far shorter period Through Play Every day

Adele Diamond, the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia, says that these skills should be taught playfully every day. They are the foundation of everything your child will ever have to do. If there is ONE thing that you can do to set them up for success, it’s teaching these skills early.  Because never in their lives are they going to have less on their plates than they do now. They can make far more gains in a far shorter period of time in early childhood than they can in grade school or high school. And these skills have been shown to be a much better predictor of general life success than any academic acuity. If your child has weak executive functioning skills they cannot excel at anything. So if you don’t teach them in early childhood- then when? Why wait till they’re struggling in school, in their relationships, and in their activities? 

So is it worth it?

Is skill building going to eliminate all challenges? No. Life isn’t perfect and no matter how good you or your child’s skills are, there will be bumps and blocks. These skills also don’t fully finish developing until you’re 28 so we really are talking about the starting blocks here. But we need to start somewhere. By doing so, you will have eliminated 80% of your difficulties if your child is developmentally appropriately competent in these nine areas: the 8 executive functioning domains and self-regulation. 

So if you’re TIRED of struggling and you’re ready to find the ease in parenting- your FIRST STEP is to take my free Misbehaviour-Proof class. It’s an automated class, it runs several times a week so that you can pick one that fits your schedule. And it will introduce you to these skills so you can decide for yourself if building skills is a priority for YOU. 

Sound good? 

If you have any questions, please comment, email me, let me know- I’m HAPPY to answer anything I possibly can. I mean- just fair warning- I can talk about this stuff ad nauseum so if you ask my opinion, you might be in for an hour-long conversation. But I will always give you a 100% honest answer. So hit me. My inbox is always open.

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About Allana

Hi, I’m Allana. I teach parents of toddlers and preschoolers why their children are misbehaving and what to do about it without yelling, shaming, or using time-outs. When not teaching parents about behaviour you can generally find me chasing around my two boys, reading cheesy romance novels, or hanging out with my own parents.

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