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Helping Your Child Develop Executive Function

By Too Small to Fail

What is executive function and how can you help your child develop it? Executive function is a group of skills that helps regulate behaviors and manage emotions: they allow us to process information, focus attention and control impulses. Executive function skills help children learn new information, plan, and solve problems, which is why they can predict school success better than IQ scores.

Executive function involves skills that children learn from their parents and caregivers through play and everyday activities. Research shows children who do well in childhood games like Simon Says or Freeze Tag do better in school because these games help them develop focus and self-control early on.

 

In Case You Missed It


Looking for a fun way to teach your child self-control? In “When Cookie Met Sally,” Cookie Monster learns to exercise self-control and wait for his turn. This episode is part of “Cookie’s Crumby Pictures” a Sesame Street segment designed to teach young children about self-regulation and executive function through Cookie Monster’s funny attempts to control his behavior.

 

Tip of the Week


Naming and expressing feelings helps children learn to manage their emotions, which is an important executive function skill. When your child is upset, talk together about why he/she feels this way and what he/she could do to feel better. You might say “I can see you’re feeling sad that we have to leave the playground. I wonder if there’s something fun we could do together when we get home.”  


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