Is your Child Developmentally Ready?

Is your Child Developmentally Ready?

December 19, 2017 Off By Dr. Don Helms

When I say developmentally ready to start school and succeed, I am not talking about knowing their letters and numbers. I am talking about a child being able to:

  • sit still and pay attention in a 3-dimensional classroom setting
  • process basic information accurately and efficiently
  • copy a basic design, color within the lines and use scissors
  • follow basic rules and instructions
  • communicate easily with others
  • interact with other children and teachers in an appropriate manner
  • work independently

In today’s society, many children are not developmentally ready to start school and succeed. The primary reason for this is that children are developing their brains in a different way than children did in the past. This is mainly due to flat screen over-usage. Children ages 2 to 5 spend approximately 4 to 5 hours per day on some type of flat screen. Children are as much as 75% less active in their physical and imaginary play, and experience less social interaction than in past decades. 

Physical and imaginary play, social interaction and problem-solving activities in the real 3-dimensional world are what develop a young child’s brain the right way.

This different type of brain development is causing many children to start school with developmental delays in what I call the “Foundational Processing Systems”. These brain systems enable a child to:

  • gather and filter sensory information from the environment efficiently
  • add meaning to sensory information that is gathered
  • navigate the environment with ease
  • fixate, track and scan with eyes smoothly
  • write legibly
  • regulate body movements (sit still and be calm)
  • focus and concentrate on the task at hand in a 3-dimensional classroom setting with distractions present
  • follow basic instructions
  • supply the thinking systems of the brain with information in a format that enables a child to think more efficiently and effectively

This different type of lifestyle is also causing more children to have language delays and be less socially adept than children were in past decades.

This lack of developmental readiness and the educational system demanding more from students at an earlier age is a recipe for a disaster that is not only causing academic underachievement and unnecessary negative labels; it is also causing children to:

  • lose confidence in their learning ability and lower their self-concept
  • learn how not to pay attention to avoid the frustration
  • misbehave to take attention away from their learning difficulties or misbehave by taking their frustration and anger out on others
  • develop a hatred for school and learning
  • develop more emotional and psychological problems

Faster is not better when it comes to learning academic content. Kindergarten and first grade should be fun with no pressure, so even the children that are not yet developmentally ready to succeed, start off enjoying school and feeling good about themselves.

It is vital that children get off to a good start in school because during the early years, ages five to eight, children develop their basic attitudes toward themselves as students and toward learning and school. Children who come through this period feeling good about themselves, who enjoy learning and who like school, will have a lasting appetite for the acquisition of skills and knowledge. Children whose academic self-esteem is destroyed during these early years develop an aversion toward learning, a dislike of school and most will never come close to actualizing their true potential.

It is the parent’s responsibility to make sure their children are developmentally ready to start school and succeed. I created the BRAIN LAUNCH Programs to help parents meet this responsibility. Fortunately, developmental readiness is one of the easiest things to remedy.

If you would like more information about early childhood development and the BRAIN LAUNCH Programs, please read the information available in our website.

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