How to Help Your Child Develop Executive Function and Self-Regulation Skills

How to Help Your Child Develop Executive Function and Self-Regulation Skills

Noodle.com ~ February 24th, 2016 |  The refrains from the traditional games that many of us played as children — and that many children play today — are not just the sounds of children having fun. They are also the sounds of children learning!

The skills children practice when playing these games are not only important on the playground, but also in social and educational settings. Why? At the heart of each of these games is a crucial skill: executive functioning.

Executive functioning has three components:

  • Attentional flexibility: the ability to pay attention to instructions, ignore distractions, and switch focus from one task or person to another (e.g., listening expressly for the words “Simon Says”)
  • Working memory: the ability to keep information in your mind long enough to follow through with instructions (e.g., remembering to stay still if tagged “duck” and to run if tagged “goose”)
  • Inhibitory control: the ability to stop and respond in a way that might feel less natural, but is more appropriate (e.g., refraining from disregarding the wishes of the “mother” when those differ from what is requested)

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