- Tips from Two Great Educators Mary Ellen and Gail
At its most basic level executive functioning is positive decision making, self-control and managing your surroundings. Here are some tips for early learners.
Give your child the opportunity for unsupervised play.
Have a play date or meet other parents in the park, step back and let the children work out their differences. Allow them to set up a game, decide who is in charge, make up the rules. Do not rush to fix things or have your child ‘say sorry’.
A friend telling them they don’t want to play any more is much more effective than you saying be nice and apologize. This is problem solving 101.
Give them responsibilities.
As soon as your child is able to understand what you are saying, teach them responsibility for their things. Notice I said teach what you want and how it is to look. This is an important step in the process. Once you have successfully taught the skill you can expect it. Do not fall victim to just saying ‘clean up’ and then be disappointed that it is not done to your expectations.
When the job is complete tell them, ‘I noticed how nicely you................’. Try not to say ‘I really like ..................’ (which is what we are prone to say). This is a subtle but important distinction. The first is about their competency and the second is about pleasing someone else. Being competent is skill building not emotionally based performance.
Give them old fashioned chores.
Chores are something children do because this is where they live. It may have no direct impact or importance to them yet they are actions that support family success.. Taking out the garbage, sweeping the floor or setting the table all help the household run smoother. Teach the skill and hold out the expectation of success.
This helps your child understand that whatever group they are a part of it is their responsibility to do what is necessary to make it run smoothly - even if they do not think it is important.
Let them experience the outcomes of their actions.
If a friend tells your child they do not want to play with them because of something they did let them experience the disappointment. It will allow you to discuss what happened and what they could have done differently.
If you want to reward positive behavior with money or treats go ahead and do that as long as you withhold the reward for not doing something.
One of the best reward systems is your time and attention. Offer extra time together to play a game, craft, cook etc. Help your child link the job well done to more freedom and the opportunity to do something they enjoy. It’s all in the teaching!
Have a question? Reach out today. Waiting is never the best course of action.