Executive functions are a set of high-level mental processes that help us plan and organize our lives, control our emotions, and think abstractly. These cognitive skills are essential for success in school and life.
But how do you teach your child to improve their Executive Functioning Skills? The answer is simple: add more fun to their life!
Although there are different types of executive function skills, read on for seven activities that can help boost the development of children's executive functions.
Use a timer while doing short academic tasks.
Using a timer is an easy way to improve your executive functions while doing short academic activities such as mental sums, spelling bees, or naming countries. It allows your child to exercise focus and engage their critical thinking skills. However, be sure to let them know that they’re not on a hot seat. Include a prize at the end of the session, such as extra candy.
Here’s an example:
For an extra five minutes of playtime, name five countries that start with the letter “A." You have one minute!
Ask your child to explain or teach you something.
Asking your child to explain or teach you something is a great way to help them develop their executive functions. This can be used as an effective teaching tool as well, where the parent or teacher will ask the child questions about how they learned something or why they did it a certain way. The best part about this is that it's also fun!
For children, playing games is fun, but it can also be a great way to improve their executive functions. Children learn new concepts, cope with stress and frustration, and even improve their motor skills.
Games such as chess, scrabble, or checkers have been shown to improve brain coordination by strengthening certain areas in the prefrontal cortex (the area responsible for planning and critical thinking).
Use a multisensory approach when assigning tasks.
A multisensory approach means using multiple senses to help your child learn. For example, you could use visual cues such as pictures or diagrams before assigning a task so that your child has an idea of what they need to do.
You could also use tactile cues by providing the materials needed for the task and having them feel them firsthand instead of just seeing them on paper or a screen. Or, you could add information that your child can hear, such as by playing a recording. This could help make learning fun for your child.
The goal is not just getting kids interested in tasks—it's also about helping them understand how different types of thinking work together so that they can apply this knowledge later on down the road when faced with similar situations at school or home.
Encourage flexible thinking
Encourage flexible thinking. Flexible thinking is the ability to quickly and easily adapt to new situations. It involves being able to think of different solutions to the same problem, as well as multiple solutions or approaches for solving problems that involve several steps or steps with multiple choices. Kids can benefit greatly from activities such as self-talk, a change in routine, role play, or analyzing a story.
In conclusion, children can improve their executive functions through simple everyday activities like playing games or role-playing. These are great ways to supplement school lessons and give your child the opportunity to learn something new while having fun at home!