05 Dec 5 Ways to Help Your Child Improve His Executive Function Skills
Children have a lot of skills they need to develop as they grow, but one skill that most parents do not understand, or even know of, is children’s executive function skills.
From the birth of your child, you become aware and expect him to achieve certain milestones when he reaches a specific age.
These milestones are the cognitive and motor skills that he develops.
Then, your child starts showing emotional and social development, which also progress as his skills.
All these skills are crucial so a child can effectively face life and all the challenges thrown at him. When his skills are developed, he can reach his goals and achieve great things in life.
Unfortunately, some children struggle with some skills, especially when they enter their school-age years.
These skills are almost always their executive function skills. If your eyebrows suddenly raised at this term, you are definitely not alone. Many parents are not aware of it, and therefore, do not know how to effectively help their children out.
What is EFQ?
Executive Function Quotient is a mental skill that allows one to plan and make decisions, set goals and get things done.
According to Harvard Education, the brain needs this skill set to filter distractions, prioritize tasks, set and achieve goals, and control impulses.
Executive function and self-regulation skills depend on three types of brain function:
Flexible Thinking – Adjusting to the unexpected and thinking about things in multiple ways.
Working Memory – Ability to keep information in mind over short periods of time.
Impulse Control – Ability to set priorities, ignore distractions and resist urges.
Children, like most skills, aren’t born with it, but they have the potential to continuously develop them.
Trouble with executive function creates challenges in learning like paying attention, regulating emotions, and starting tasks.
So how do we provide our kids, the guidance and support to build this skill at home?
Integrate self-reflection into your daily routines.
It is an effective way of regulating emotions.
Simply asking your child to share a positive and negative experience from his day will help him reflect on it and normalize what he is feeling.
It is also a great venue for supporting each other and having a meaningful conversation.
Initiating activities at the right time and completing them
Knowing where to start with certain things can be hard, even adults struggle with this sometimes.
And completing them is a challenge, too. But it can be done.
With a little game and friendly competition, you will see your child starting and completing his tasks all on his own.
It is a fun way of achieving independence with initiation and getting things done.
Appropriate shifting of attention and focusing
Paying attention is probably one of the most difficult skills for children to achieve, especially when they are young.
But you can help your child master this skill by practicing with an obstacle course.
Change the rules every time your child finishes the course and let him run through it again.
He will be successful if he shifts his attention to the previous rules and focus on the current ones.
Children find it hard to control their impulses.
Sometimes, adults do so, too.
But you can help your little one take control through games like “red light, green light”.
Organizing and planning tasks.
Organizing is definitely one stressful task. No wonder people hire organizers for their events.
For children, this is even more stressful.
But you can help your child develop this skill by creating a checklist that he can follow so he gets everything done.
With practice, he will be able to do it all without the help of a list.