What is Executive Function?
Executive function skills help us organize the world around us. They are the life skills we use to complete tasks every day. Managing time, making a clear plan for how we want to achieve a specific goal, and our ability to maintain focus and attention all involved using our executive function skills. Essentially, executive function skills are what help us “function” in the world every day.
Kids start building executive functions skills as early as 6 months old and continue to develop these crucial skills as they grow. It’s not just for kids! We use these skills as adults too.
You may notice a child having difficulty with executive function skills at school, at home, or even during extracurricular activities.
Your child may be struggling with executive function skills if they have difficulty:
- Managing their time
- Planning projects
- Getting started with tasks
- Understanding and following social rules – knowing when something is inappropriate to say or Remembering a short series of directions and following them
With practice and a little help, kids can develop executive function abilities like working memory, organization, and planning. Remember these skills take time to learn and are developed over months and years.
It’s never too early to start helping children build their executive function skills. Pathways.org has created a new Executive Function brochure to help parents and caregivers understand the main areas of executive function (working memory, self-control, and mental flexibility). You’ll also find signs that children might be struggling with executive function and tips on how to help children build these important skills.
Remember, all kids can benefit from working on executive function skills and all parents can benefit from learning about this important area of development. Download the brochure to help your child become more organized, focused, and independent today!