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Arming Your Kids with Executive Function

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Shari StormOn March 22, the Seattle Times' Jerry Large interviewed John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist who wrote a book called "Brain Rules for Parents."


Large asked Medina the question that is on many of our minds: "How do I get my kids into Harvard?" Medina's response was simple. "Go home and love your wife, love your husband, love your partner," he said.

He went on to explain that the single greatest predictor of academic success is executive function. It even trumps IQ. Executive function is the process in your brain that allows a Boeing engineer to design satellites, Medina said, and it's the process that keeps you from punching your boss in the nose. It's the ability to plan for the future, control impulses and make sense of external stimuli.

Emotional stability in the home is a strong predictor of good executive function. In short, Medina told Large to have a loving family and make sure his kids get lots of sleep and exercise.

There are two things I loved about this article. The first is, I believe strongly that emotional intelligence is one of the key drivers for success in the working world. I also believe that moms learn incredible emotional intelligence by practicing being good moms.

Secondly, I am relieved to hear someone say that my kids don't need to be taking violin, ballet, soccer, art and karate in order for them to succeed in life. Right now, my family doesn't have the resources -- financial or otherwise -- to put our three daughters in multiple extracurricular activities.

There is something comforting about the thought that a daily ritual of picking kids up from daycare, having dinner together, playing in the cul-de-sac with neighbors, reading and going to bed at a decent hour is enough to equip my 6-, 4- and 2-year-old with the skills they'll need later in life.

next: Why Are So Many Little Kids Up Till All Hours?!
1 comments so far | Post a comment now
Black Iris July 1, 2010, 11:05 AM

Sounds great. I would be interested in more tips, though. We have a loving family, but my oldest is not so organized.

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