What is Executive function? Executive function and self-regulation skills are the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully. These skills are crucial for learning, healthy development, and positive behavior.

Children aren’t born with these skills—they are born with the potential to develop them. How can parents and caregivers support children in building these skills? “Adults can facilitate the development of a child’s executive function skills by establishing routines, modeling social behavior, and creating and maintaining supportive, reliable relationships. It is also important for children to exercise their developing skills through activities that foster creative play and social connection, teach them how to cope with stress…and provide opportunities for directing their own actions with decreasing adult supervision.”

Here is an activity guide by age from Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University on ways adults can support executive function development in children.

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