06 Feb How Can Executive Function Skills Be Developed?
“Preparation is the key to success”
-Alexander Graham Bell
A child is not given her executive function skills the day when she is born.
She merely has the potential to develop it. And when she does, she can function effectively and reach her goals to become a successful and happy individual, especially when she becomes an adult.
Unfortunately, when this potential is not honed, a child will suffer, and the consequences can be devastating.
This is why it is important for parents to understand what executive functioning is.
When they are aware of this, parents will purposefully seek out effective ways to help their children in developing their executive function skills.
Executive function involves skills such as planning, organizing, focusing, prioritizing, and more.
And sometimes, several of these skills are being used all at the same time.
For a child who is just starting to develop these skills, it can be frustrating.
So, as parents, you have to support them and not get frustrated when they don’t get things done immediately.
You need to keep in mind that their minds are simply not developed enough to process things properly and promptly, like how we, adults, do it.
And it is important that we help our little ones develop their executive function stills at their own pace, maybe with a little push at the right direction.
How Can We Help our Kids Develop Executive Function Skills?
1. Ask your Child Questions
No, you are not nagging when you ask questions.
So, try to ask in a way that won’t be perceived as such.
And this does so much more than reminding or repeating instructions for the nth time.
When you ask questions about how your child feels when she succeeds at a task, or what she did to complete a project on time, she will be able to reflect on the process and think about it the next time she faces another task.
2. Let your Child Hear Your Thought Processes
We think a lot about the things we do, especially with the tasks we need to finish.
But our children can’t see that.
So, when we try to teach them how to do things, they find it hard to visualize.
One way we can address this is by voicing our internal processes out loud.
For instance, tell your child she needs to finish dressing up in 10 minutes because you need to get to school at 8 am and you only have 30 minutes left.
Or, that she needs to clear up the table first before putting the dishes in the dishwasher after dinner so she can get ready for bed.
3. Be Patient
We need to remember that our children have yet to develop their executive function skills. Therefore, we need to be patient when they are struggling with certain tasks.
After all, it is in failure that children learn effectively.
We need to give them room for mistakes. And we don’t have to help them up every time they fall.
Step back and see what your child does. She will learn and develop her skills better this way.
These strategies will definitely work better than simply giving your child a hand with every task he does.
Executive Function in Children continues to develop well into their 20s.
So, we really have a lot of time to help our young ones improve their skills. And try not to get too impatient when they can’t do some of it well right away.
How we respond to their efforts will have a significant impact on their development.