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Executive Functioning: Seven Ways Parents Can Help

Executive Functioning: Seven Ways Parents Can Help


By: Madison Smith, Blog Editor

Executive functioning, the newest buzz in psychology and education, is largely affecting children’s lives in and out of school. This set of mental skills which include: memory, flexible thinking, and self-control is crucial to managing every day life. As of late, student’s are largely experiencing executive functioning issues. Examples of this would include: having trouble completing tasks, forgetting what was just read or heard, getting overly emotional and fixating, having trouble following directions and many more. How can you determine if they have executive functioning issues? Get them tested! At Total Learning Centers, we offer two levels of testing, Essentials and Comprehensive. Either can pinpoint exactly where the child is struggling and we can offer an individualized plan at our center.

Often, executive functioning struggles can go hand in hand with learning disabilities or ADHD. This can cause trouble with learning, but does not mean they lack intelligence. Luckily, Total Learning Centers is trained to identify and remediate these problems using specially and expertly designed programs to help children speed up and organize their thinking. Our Executive Function program improves areas such as: attention & focus, working memory, processing speed, and many others available on our page. As helpful as our program may be, it’s important to maintain what is being learned. The following are powerful ways parents can help children develop this crucial set of life skills.

  • Ask questions (not sarcastically) about your child’s perspective of a problem and ask to consider other possibilities. You are asking for AWARENESS OF OTHER PERSPECTIVES OF A PROBLEM, not agreement.
  • Even though “brainstorming” has been around since the 1930s, and the concept much longer, many children tell us they stop as soon as they think of one good solution or they get stumped. GENERATE MANY IDEAS SUSPENDING JUDGEMENT UNTIL AFTER THE LIST IS COMPLETE.
  • TEACH YOUR CHILD THE STEPS OF PLANNING, ORGANIZING, AND IMPLEMENTING SOLUTIONS. Don’t assume they know even the most obvious step. Be patient as they continue to learn this developing skill.
  • DISCUSS VARIOUS WAYS OF KEEPING TRACK OF PROGRESS. Let your child choose one from a limited list of possibilities you generate together.
  • Remind your child that it not only is okay but often necessary to MAKE CHANGES AS NEEDED (another important life lesson).
  • CELEBRATE SUCCESS, EVEN IF LIMITED. Even if nearly every step of the solution failed, your child was still successful planning and attempting to solve the problem. Recycle through the steps making changes based on lessons learned.
  • BE A GOOD MODEL. Give voice to the Executive Functioning in your own brain.
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