Strategic Allocation of Attention

School Toolbox: Being Able To Wait

Kids often receive lists of items they will need to start kindergarten. Besides these, there are some other tools and strategies, like being able to wait.

strategic allocation of attentionAre you asking how this could possibly be important for school? It’s hard to believe, but it can have a very significant impact on children’s success at school.

Having to wait is a fact of life, and it’s not just negative. Kids have to wait until they get up in the morning; they can’t always get out of bed as soon as they wake up. Sometimes, it’s still before 5 or 6 in the morning. After helping to mix up a batch of cookies, they have to wait until they are baked. When walking, we have to wait for the light to change before crossing the street.

Being able to waiting requires impulse control and self-regulation. We don’t realize that being able to wait is a skill. Instead, we think of it as personality, but being patient depends on the strategies that we know and use so that we can wait. Some of these waiting-tools might be singing, playing games, reading a book or telling stories.

social skills for kindergartenGerald the elephant, has a very hard time waiting with Piggie in the story Waiting is Not Easy, by Mo Willems. He handles waiting with groans. Piggie reminds his elephant friend that it will be worth it.

Waiting time has actually been the subject of some scientific research. It’s called Strategic Allocation of Attention. Studying years after high school requires that we be able to delay the reward. Spending years building a business means being able to wait for the payoff. Like other skills, it needs practice and exercise to get good at it.

Helping your child develop a few tools for being able to wait is another way to equip their off to school toolbox. Can you wait for another idea until tomorrow?

Kindergarten Readiness – Games for Waiting

Songs for waiting, stories for waiting, activities for waiting and today some games for waiting. The most recent blog posts have been all about helping children learn skills and strategies for coping with having to wait. Ring around the rosie is a traditional favorite that really young children can do. There is an element of waiting–falling down comes at the last line. Another simple game is Button, button, who’s got the button. Kids can’t tell until there has been at least one guess. Hide  and go seek isanother game that requires kids to wait. Watching children of different ages play these games reveals their development. Children of 2 and 3 fall down aslmost as soon as Rosie starts, blurt out who has the button and give away their own hiding places. By 4 and 5 they are more able to participate in the waiting part of these games. Next week, we’ll look at another aspect of readiness so please do Not wait to send in your ideas and suggestions for helping our kids to learn this important concept. 1,2,3…ready or not…where are you?

Kindergarten Readiness – Waiting Activities

Being able to wait is an important social skill for children–see earlier posts from this week. I enlist the help of a few stuffies to show kids some waiting strategies. A stuffie conversation may go something like this: 

Well, hi there guys. Today, we’re going to take you for a walk in the stroller, as many of you as will fit, but first we have to put the dishes away. You need to curl up on the bed and just play quietly for a few minutes. Can you handle that? No wild jumping around. Here’s a few books to look at and we’ll be back soon. 

After a minute or two check in with the stuffed toys and tell them you notice how they are looking at books and waiting patiently and let them know you are almost ready. After a couple more minutes, bundle them into the stroller, let your child push them and enjoy the walk. Now, normal children are not as quiet as stuffed toys but they have been shown what is expected and heard how it all works.  The next step is to build in some activities so they can practice, too. Baking some cookies and waiting while they cool is one idea.  For a special upcoming event let your child mark off the days on a calendar and sympatize how hard it is too wait. Planting seeds and waiting for them to sprout needs lots and lots of patience. The cookies, the special day and the little green sprouts all reinforce that good things come from waiting along with our words of encoragement and appreciation to our kids. What are your stategies for helping kids deal with waiting?

Kindergarten Readiness – Songs to Wait By

Music can help children–and adults–cope with many challenges. Waiting is something we all have to do and it helps if little ones have some skills and strategies for waiting. Mr. Rogers has a waiting song as well as Daddy Kooala, Boowa and Kwala but these only have a couple of verses. Sometimes, songs need to … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Songs to Wait By

Kindergarten Readiness – Stories for Waiting

For patiently waiting, this story’s character takes the prize. He waits on every page. As mentioned yesterday, being able to wait is a skill that gets easier with practice. It even has it’s own label: Strategic Allocation of Attention. Being able to wait is so helpful for little ones because they will have to do so … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Stories for Waiting

Kindergarten Readiness – Hurry Up and Wait

 At the beginning of the month, I was fortunate enough to attend a presentation by the child expert and parenting author, Michele Borba. She reminded the  parents, caregivers and teachers present that education is more than academics. We need to make sure that we provide experiences for social, emotional and physical development as well as intellectual. Michele … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Hurry Up and Wait