With four young, curious kids, our house was always a hub of creative activity. A friend and neighbor, who had two kids of his own, once shared he was a bit put off by the amount of activity we generated. But he noticed that while the level of activity was so high, there seemed to be some sort of order to it all. He said he thought of us as a house of “controlled chaos.” I must say, I was a bit put off by his being put off, because it was just our normal, but I grew to appreciate that not everyone operated that way. And in time I rather liked the phrase “controlled chaos”.
All four of our kids were right brain, creative types. Mom and dad are too. Art, music, dress up, any and every kind of creative play was what we wanted. But while we thrived in that environment, I knew we’d better have some order to it all or we’d drown in our own swirl of creativity. There were schedules, structure and lots of order behind our “chaos” and because of that, our kids grew to develop both their creative right side and logical, orderly left side.
If you have creative, right-brained kids, here are some things you can do to help them get their left-brain up and running:
- Organize something. Anything. For the most part, right-brain kids don’t like to take the time out of their free-spirited play to organize. This can be a big negative because they can get overwhelmed and lose sight of what they were supposed to be doing. Be intentional about having them organize things around them. Start with simple things like their sock drawer or book shelves and eventually more of their room and personal belongings. Learning to organize the physical space around them will help develop order in their thinking too.
- Make a list. Us righties have racing minds. It’s easy to get frustrated when you think your kids aren’t listening or forget easily. Making to do lists, will help them stay focused and be able to complete tasks more effectively. With very young kids, keep the lists to three to five items and use pictures instead of words. With older kids use lists for chores, homework and help tracking their schedules.
- Memorize something. Short term memory happens in the left side of the brain and is very important to success in school. Our right-brain kids need to be very intentional about developing their short term memory. Start young playing games like Memory, Simon and What’s Missing. As kids get older practice memorizing short lists of fun things like cartoon characters, groceries, places to play, colors, etc. By practicing memory skills at home, it will be easier to do when they have to memorize facts and figures at school.
- Learn new words. The right side of us likes pictures but the left is all about words – so for kids to build up the left side of their brain, they need to spend more time in the world of words. Extra time and effort spent learning sight words and weekly vocabulary will pay big dividends now and well into the future. Here are a few videos to help your kids learn words the visual way.
- Make a plan – and stick to it Our right brain kids are spontaneous but that’s not always such a good thing. And when they do have a plan, they are easily convinced to leave it behind. But it’s important for our kids to be able to make a plan and stick to it. Choose an upcoming activity or homework assignment and help your student plan it out. Decide steps, dates and times. Make a list so they can check it off as they work through it.
By implementing these few things in your household you are giving your right-brain kid a head start on functioning more effectively in the classroom and being able to maintain “controlled chaos” in their world.
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