For children, adaptability means learning how to process and react to new information while learning how to “shift gears” between tasks (without throwing a tantrum!). It’s a critical executive function skill for them to cultivate, and can even be a driver of your child’s future success.
According to a recent national survey, executive function skills like adaptability, self-control and problem solving are more highly valued in entry-level candidates than technical abilities, academic background and other factors.
Two great ways to nurture adaptability at home revolve around play, something we know your children will love! Try some of these ideas at home:
- Arrange a playdate: Between ages 2 and 3, children start to play cooperatively with others. In a group, they need to consider the actions of others if they want to play together successfully. (Learn how to make the most of your child’s playdate!)
- Foster interactive play: As children play pretend, they use ideas from their own lives as inspiration. When they play in a group, children must take into account the reactions of their friends in order to keep the play going. Make playtime more imaginative by helping children make props out of household items like using a paper towel roll as an arm cast or telescope.
- Engage in imaginative play: Help and encourage children to create play props out of household items, like using a paper towel roll as a telescope or empty tissue boxes as shoes. Repurposing items to use during play strengthens your child’s ability to invent, imagine and think outside the box.
Adaptability also forms the developmental foundation for other executive function skills like teamwork and working memory – skills that all work together to play a large role in your child’s future career and relationships with others.
Jean Piaget said, “Play is the work of childhood.” Learn more about how play helps children develop their executive function skills and excel in the workforce of tomorrow: