CORVALLIS, Ore. - A record number of American kids are being expelled from preschool, limiting their chances of success when they enter a full-day classroom.
According to Oregon State University's Megan McClelland, a leading researcher in the field of early childhood development and an associate professor of human development and family sciences, parents can prepare their kids now by playing games that help their children develop better self-regulation skills.
"It is a much more structured situation than many children have had before," she said. "The key is to get them into a routine and to start setting a schedule."
Parents can try and make sure their children are off to a healthy start at school by following these few simple tips from the experts on getting proper nutrition, exercise, and learning how to better regulate their behavior.
Parents can start preparing their kids right now by playing games that help their children develop better self-regulation skills. Self-regulation, or the ability to control one's behavior and to follow directions, is increasingly being seen as a key indicator of academic success in later years. McClelland's own research shows that a child's ability to self-regulate as early as preschool can predict academic achievements in math and language in much later years.
The best games for a parent to practice with their child are ones where they have to stop, think, and act, McClelland said.
Here are some games McClelland recommends for parents and educations to try with children:
Ingrid Skoog is a faculty member in nutrition and exercise sciences and is the director of OSU's Accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics.
Skoog said while backpacks, books, calculators and notebooks are on student's school supply lists, it is important for parents not to forget about another important way to set up kids for success - good nutrition.
"Getting enough of good quality foods is proven to help kids stay focused and learn, avoid early fatigue and getting frustrated," Skoog said.
Here are some ideas for what kids will both like and need to eat.
Send along a water bottle that is not too big (2-3 cups) and has a straw built in (prevents spills and is easier to drink from).
Graduate student Kelly Rice is passionate about physical activity and healthy nutrition for kids and offers these creative ideas for parents and caregivers.
At OSU, Rice works with kids on a study to determine energy expenditure in various activities. She's earning her Ph.D. in Exercise and Sport Science with a focus on physical activity promotion. Some of her suggestions:
Megan McClelland, 541-737-9225
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