The Carlson and Zelazo Lab at the University of Minnesota, has looked at how we can use the context of daily routines to introduce high-quality parenting practices in at-risk families in an effort to reduce household chaos and increase parent and child cognitive outcomes. Reflection Sciences Trainer, Andrei Semenov, and his research team are working on a new study: the “Ready4Routines” project, in collaboration with Harvard Center on the Developing Child, Acelero Learning, Frontiers of Innovation, and the Los Angeles-based Westside Infant Network. The project is designed to introduce and reinforce high-quality daily routines for parents who may find themselves in a chaotic and unpredictable environment. Ready4Routines delivers an 8-week parenting intervention to Early Head Start and Head Start families across the nation. Over the course of the intervention, parents learn about the importance of predictable routines as well as activities that are specifically designed to reinforce the development of self-regulation skills. Parents learn routines around meal preparation, bedtime wind-down and even activities based on mindfulness meditation that aim to reduce tantrums and increase emotional regulation. Over the past three years, our lab has been working with our collaborators on developing, revising, and implementing this project across the country and measuring its effect on executive function (EF) skills, parent-child relationships and various other outcomes. To date, we have seen associated decreases in parenting-related stress among parents who participated in the program. As measured by the MEFS App, we have also seen substantial improvements in children’s EF skills after their parents participated in this 8-week program. These EF skills are crucial for impulse control in children, as well as school readiness, academic achievement, social functioning, and mental and physical health. Our next steps in this program are to understand how parent-child relationships may change as a result of these high-quality routines as well as to explore how we can best make Ready4Routines accessible to all families.   By Andrei Semenov" />

Tag: self regulation skills for children

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Cohort Effects on Delay of Gratification

The Marshmallow Test is conceivably one of the most prominent developmental research studies on delay of gratification. In the late 1960s to early 70s, American Psychologist and Stanford University Professor, Dr. Walter Mischel, and his team sat children down at a table and placed a marshmallow (or other treat chosen by the child) in front of…

Parent Newsletters

Parent Newsletter – June 2018

In our Parent Newsletter June 2018, we’d like to welcome our new contributor, Marie Lister! Marie graduated in 2012 with a Masters of Education and a teaching license in Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education. She has been a classroom teacher for 9 years and currently is a teacher at the Shirley G. Moore…

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National Effort: Improve Student Outcomes

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) are teaming up in a national effort: improve student outcomes through research and development. Yesterday (May 8, 2018), the two nonprofits announced that they are extending a public Request for Information (RFI) about innovative ways to facilitate, accelerate, and improve the academic and non-academic outcomes that…

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Imagination and Brain Development

“Executive function refers to the brain skills that allow us to control our thoughts, actions, and emotions. These skills include cognitive flexibility (thinking about something in multiple ways and shifting gears, for example, transitioning smoothly from snack time to center time), working memory (holding information in mind and working with it, such as reminding yourself…

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Mindfulness, Reflection, and Executive Function

Earlier this week, Frontiers in Psychology published an article on mindfulness, reflection, and executive function. The study, “Mindfulness Plus Reflection Training: Effects on Executive Function in Early Childhood” was conducted by Dr. Phil Zelazo, Dr. Ann Masten, and Dr. Stephanie Carlson of the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development and Jessie Forston of Learning Tree Yoga,…

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Executive Function Skills & Math

Executive function skills are important for regulating behaviors, as well as academic success, including math achievement. This relation between executive function skills and math is not surprising when considering the cognitive skills involved in solving mathematical problems. For instance, if you ask 5-year-old Lola to figure out, “How many pets are three cats and four…

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Executive Function Impairments in the Classroom

Executive function impairments in the classroom can manifest in a number of ways. Commonly, children who struggle with self-regulation will act out. Other low executive functioning students may go undetected — rather than causing trouble, they quietly struggle. How can we, as researchers, parents, clinicians, and educators, not only detect these students but also provide support?…

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Part I: Executive Function: The Power to Resist

Executive function skills are important for a number of processes, but did you know that these skills also play a huge role in the power to resist temptations? Full Prefrontal is a podcast series led by Sucheta Kamath, Founder of Cerebral Matters and expert in brain training and executive function development. Sucheta and her guests,…