Hi! Let’s chat about something super important but often overlooked: executive skills. These are the mental processes that help us plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully. Basically, they’re the skills that make us capable adults. These skills are the foundation for everything from school success to getting along with others.

Let’s break it down a bit.

  • Executive skills help a kiddo remember their homework, pack their bag, and get out the door on time. Without these skills, mornings can become a whirlwind of forgotten assignments and missed buses.
  •  Staying focused in a busy classroom, following multi-step instructions, and turning in assignments on time all require strong executive skills. It’s not just about being smart; it’s about being organized and disciplined.
  • Impulse control and emotional regulation, both key executive skills, are crucial when it comes to making and keeping friends. They help kids think before they act, understand their emotions, and respond to others in a balanced way.

The good news is that executive skills aren’t something kids either have or don’t have. They can be taught and strengthened over time. Here are some practical ways to nurture these skills:

1. Consistent daily routines help kids know what to expect and what’s expected of them. This predictability gives them a framework within which they can practice planning and organization.

2. Using to-do lists, charts, and visual schedules can help kids understand and manage their responsibilities. They provide a clear path to follow and a sense of accomplishment when tasks are completed.

3. Large tasks can be overwhelming. Help kids break them into smaller, more manageable steps. This teaches them to approach problems methodically and reduces stress.

4. Life doesn’t always go as planned, and that’s okay. Show kids how to adapt when things change. This could be as simple as discussing a change in plans and working together to come up with a new approach.

5. After completing a task or facing a challenge, take time to reflect on what went well and what could be improved. This helps kids learn from their experiences and apply those lessons in the future.

Building executive skills is a marathon, not a sprint. Kids won’t master them overnight, and that’s perfectly fine. Patience, practice, and positive reinforcement are key. Celebrate small victories and progress, and remember that mistakes are just opportunities to learn. Investing time and effort into teaching kids executive skills pays off in the long run. These skills help kids become resilient, self-reliant, and capable of navigating the complexities of the world with confidence.

Until next time, keep calm and teach executive skills!

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