Friday, August 13, 2010

Ages and Stages 3 to 5

One minute your 3-year old is revving his fire truck, the next he's balancing a block tower, then he's splashing straight down a Slip'n Slide. He can do so much. What he can't seem to do, though, is focus on one thing for more than a nanosecond. Should you try harder to teach him self-control? Probably not, according to research.
The part of the brain that filters extraneous information and allows us to focus is the prefrontal cortex, and that part of the brain isn't fully developed until around age 4. So not only is your child's behavior normal, young children actually learn better by not filtering and focusing, explains Sharon Thompson-Schill, PhD., a professor of psychology and neurology at the University of Pennsylvania. Below are ways to help your child grow creatively according to Dr.. Thompson-Schill:
1. Relax the rules. Young children learn through unstructured experiences. So offer raw materials (paper and crayons, Lego's and blocks) and then let them do their own thing.

2. Seek new opportunities. Learning can happen on a city street, in museums, at the zoo. A simple walk through the primate pavilion is a rich source of exploration for your child
3. Focus on the bigger picture. Your child's distractibility is what enables him/her to gather lots of information at once. Give them time and freedom to soak up many things and discover the world around them.


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