Executive Function is a big term that refers to your child’s ability to plan, focus, multi task and remember.
A term that is thrown around frequently in childhood is Executive Function. You may hear your child’s pediatrician or teacher mention it, especially if your child struggles with behavioral or emotional issues. It can be confusing to parents so here is the rundown:
Executive Function is a big term that refers to your child’s ability to plan, focus, multi task and remember. children who struggle with self-control and/or flexibility are thought to have difficulties with executive function. Another component of executive function is called working memory. Working memory is the short term memory that allows children to listen to a direction and follow it. Weak working memory skills may prevent children from concentrating or follow multi step directions.
children are not born with executive function, only with the ability to develop it. They must learn these skills over time with the help of the adults around them. How can you help your child develop healthy executive function skills?
- help your child practice impulse control ( I know you want Grandma to play with you right now but we are having a conversation. When we are done talking, Grandma will be glad to play with you).
- Give your child emotional vocabulary for when he has big feelings ( I see that you feel sad because Grandma has to go home).
- help your child develop flexibility and to “roll with it” ( You can be sad for five minutes and then it will time for dinner).
- help your child reflect (Remember how you were so sad when grandma left last time? What did you do that made you feel better?)
- Place emphasis on making a plan (If you want grandma to read to you, you need to stop playing and come inside because she will be leaving soon).
- Practice working memory (Can you go get grandma’s purse and phone for her? They are on the counter).
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