"We all want to raise smart, successful kids, so it's tempting to play Mozart for our babies and run math drills for kindergartners. After all, we need to give them a head start while they're still little sponges, right?
"It doesn't quite work that way," says Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a professor of psychology at Temple University and co-author of Becoming Brilliant: What Science Tells Us About Raising Successful Children with Roberta Golinkoff. She's been studying childhood development for almost 40 years.
So how does it work? You need the "six C's" for kids to succeed -
- critical thinking
- creative innovation
"It turns out that you learn better when things are joyful than when they're not joyful. So I bet your kids would help you a whole lot more if you made a game from the darks and the whites in that laundry room. Maybe you just have to throw it from different lines: a three-point line, two-point line, maybe even have the three-quarter-point line and the one-quarter-point line, and then they do fractions, right?
Play is active, not passive. And it turns out the way we learn is active, not passive. When we're sitting there like a couch potato we aren't learning as much as when we're doing.
It should be meaningful as opposed to meaningless, so when we're memorizing flashcards stuff, that's not play.
Generally, play is socially interactive as opposed to solo.
And it's iterative. That means each time you revisit it, there's something new to discover about it. I think you can have true play where the kid is the director, not the adult. And adults out there, don't interfere by jumping in and deciding what's going on with your child's play. Help by setting the environment and going with their story and supporting it."
So turn off those electronics and pull out the games!
Stay Healthy, Chaps!
-Katie & Kristi