With all the many different theories out there, preparing your toddler for kindergarten may seem worrisome. Are you teaching them the necessary skills they need? Are you teaching them the right way? Do they know what teamwork is? No need to worry just yet –, through daily encouragement and interactions, your toddler can be on their way to success.
The most important skills your toddler needs to know for kindergarten, and their future, are called executive function skills. These can be taught at home and in the classroom at a childcare provider like Primrose Schools, who has compiled a list of the executive function skills that can be taught at a young age to set your toddler up for the future. Check out their fun infographic here (or view it below) that summarizes everything for easy pinning and reading later.
Adaptability for your toddler may seem like an interesting skill to add to the list, but it’s absolutely necessary. Without throwing a fit, your toddler needs to be able to adapt to new situations and things that come their way. This can something as simple as different types of play.
With imaginative play, you can teach your little one to make new objects using ordinary things around the house. For instance, an ordinary paper towel roll can now become a telescope to spy on a sibling. This teaches your child to think outside the box and strengthens your child’s ability to invent objects on their own. Play dates also help strengthen adaptability. Putting your toddler in this type of scenario teaches them to adapt to their playmate’s actions.
You may think this is a task that’s too difficult for a toddler but it definitely isn’t! You can strengthen their teamwork skills in a group setting or at home. Ask them to help complete a chore with their older sibling, such as picking up toys. No siblings? Work together to build a block tower together or play I-Spy to find all the same colored objects. Teamwork is a necessary skill to thrive in a school setting as well as later on in life such as in a workplace setting.
Can I just say it? Puzzles, puzzles, puzzles. They are the simplest way to teach your toddler how to problem solve. Max has a puzzle that we got him when he turned 1 and it took record-breaking time for him to solve it over and over again. Since he got the hang of it so easily, we had to move on to harder puzzles to keep growing his problem-solving skills. Another way to build problem-solving skills is to have them build a house for you. Then start asking questions like, “where would we keep our groceries?” and things of that nature for them to come up with a solution.
Critical thinking is when your toddler receives information and determines. what the next best step is. You can teach your toddler by asking them open ended questions such as what would you do if blank happened? Give them an opportunity to explain themselves so they can put enough thought into it. For Max, I ask him how he feels about becoming a big brother soon. He likes to say he’s still the baby and that Evan is the big brother but that he wants to be a big brother too. You can also work role-play into this type of scenario. For example, you can ask them what could happen next in any order of events.
This is something I never really thought about a toddler needing. After some research, I realized it’s extremely important for your toddler to know this skill. The simplest form of teaching your child self-control is playing a game such as dance freeze. Have your toddler dance their wiggles out and when the music turns off they have to stay still. That’s it. It teaches your child self-control without you or them even realizing it.
Memory is something I need help with so preparing my toddler is a must! Having a strong working memory allows your toddler to put the information they’ve learned to work if needed. When I think of strengthening my toddler’s memory I go straight for memory board games. They are so easy to play and are simple enough for toddlers to grasp quickly. One I have just started to incorporate with Max is reading out loud. then I’ll ask him what his favorite part is. It’s as simple as that
Letting your toddler head off into the big world is tough enough. Teaching your little one these 6 executive function skills is the best way to prepare your toddler for kindergarten and their future years to come.
In addition to Primrose Schools sharing their executive function skills with us, they have also decided to host a giveaway! Ten, yes, you read that right! Ten lucky winners will receive a Primrose Prize Pack consisting of a $250 Barnes & Noble gift card and 5 children’s books. Score!
All you have to do to enter is subscribe to their Pointers for Parents newsletter for a chance to win. Good luck to all!