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Category: Pre-K

Child playing with legos demonstrating that play builds executive function

3 Ways to Practice Executive Function Skills at Home

We just wrote a post about executive function and how important these skills are for our kids success in school and in life. Here are some tips for giving your kids lots of practice: Help your child build a framework: Helping your child set attainable goals and breaking tasks into achievable steps helps build executive…  Read More

Girl using executive function skills to pay attention in class

Executive Function: Skills for School and Life

Want your child to succeed in school and life? Then look beyond IQ scores and test results. We’ve written before about the importance of self-discipline, but the story doesn’t end there. A whole host of mental skills—constituting what is called executive function–determine how as opposed to what we learn. Emerging research is clear that these…  Read More

Grandparent showing child a tree

Child Memory and Learning

Talking, Storytelling, and Other Memory "Scaffolding"

I wasn’t sure why my eighteen-month-old son Miles was squirming to get out of my arms, but he hit the kitchen floor running and was off to the far corner of the living room. We had just been looking at the big pot of soup simmering on the stove. I had pointed out the onions,…  Read More

Child lying and feels bad about it

What To Do When Your Child Lies

Dr. Dave and Erin, Our seven year old daughter has been lying a bit lately. One night her toothbrush lay on the sink with toothpaste still on it; clearly she had not brushed her teeth. We asked her if she had brushed them and she said “Yes! I did!” It’s become a bad pattern of…  Read More

kids playing outside in the snow

Ten Ways to Make Space for Free Play

We’ve written plenty of posts about the importance of imaginative play for children’s brain development. Far from being a waste of time, kids need free play to thrive. Summer is here and the outdoors is begging kids to get outside and play, play, play! Here are some tips for encouraging free play: Get down on…  Read More

Child eating brain food

Why Your Kids Need Brain Food

We all know now that nutritious food builds strong bodies. But did you know that we need brain food too? Our brains take up only 2% of our body weight yet consume nearly 20% of our body’s energy. That’s why what we feed our brains is so important. Eating “brain food” improves kids’ moods, elevates…  Read More

Three children engaged in free play in a field

Free Play Builds Brains

A Lesson From Caine's Arcade

If you haven’t seen the Caine’s Arcade video, you should watch it immediately. In fact, here it is: The magic of this video is that transports us into the vibrant world of childhood imagination. Caine’s imagination manifests in an elaborate handmade arcade (his tools: cardboard, tape, scissors, and markers). Watching Caine at work reminds me…  Read More

Kids demonstrating the benefits of exercise by being active in the school day

Brain Benefits of Exercise

Why Active Kids do Better in School

School districts strapped for cash and facing pressure to increase test scores often try to preserve classroom instruction by making cuts to physical education and recess. Districts are making very difficult decisions and I don’t envy them! Unfortunately, based on the latest brain science, cutting exercise can be counterproductive. Brains and Bodies Are Connected Think…  Read More

Teenager multitasking while doing homework

Ten Ways to Improve Attention in Children

What’s going on with children and attention in the digital age? Video games, texts, whirling toys, and non-stop entertainment have made it hard to strengthen children’s focused attention systems. Here are some suggestions: Give babies only a couple toys at a time, so they learn to focus on one. Limit television, video games, and movies…  Read More

Secure attachment is the foundation of self-discipline

Dr. Dave, I know that you do a lot of research on self-discipline and self reliance. I work with new parents and many are worried about “spoiling” their babies by responding immediately to their cries and picking them up. How should I respond? Cheryl, Mississippi Can you spoil a baby? Anxious to get their kids…  Read More