EduKids Early Childhood Education Centers

Posted on: April 16, 2012

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Executive Functioning is a big term, the label, for the mental tasks critical for children to learn and be “good at.”  If you haven’t heard the term or haven’t seen these skills highlighted in your child’s school settings yet, you will.  These are skills that are taught at and supported in schools and in high quality early childhood preschools and after school programs.  Executive Functions require time and practice.

Executive functioning skills are mental tasks that include the ability to:

  • plan 
  • strategize
  • organize
  • set goals
  • pay attention to details that make a difference

Helping children with these important skills isn’t hard.  But it does require a lot of patience and an attitude of acceptance in whatever stage they are in with confidence that your child will be successful as he grows and matures.  Children will be “wavy” in their accomplishment of these skills, often backsliding when we think they are solidly established.  This is how development goes.

Always remember that infants, toddlers and young preschool children are very new at all of their skills and are spending enormous amounts of energy & effort on the tasks of walking, communicating, eating, toileting, sleeping in predictable patterns and building solid, positive relationships.  They look to you and count on you as a model of executive function.

Want to help your children? Use the language that is the label.  Kids love big words


  • Let’s plan our day today.  Let’s write down what we will do and then plan out when to go.
  • What’s your plan for the weekend game?


  • Good idea to go to the mall tonight because Saturday morning is so busy.  Good strategy for shopping!
  • We need a strategy to clean out the basement for spring.  Let’s think it through….


  • Organize your toys by separating the dolls, cars, art supplies and outside gear.
  • She is really organized.  Everything makes sense.

Set goals

  • Setting a goal of scoring in each soccer game takes a lot of practice.  So let’s get started!
  • My goal is to work hard and finally finish this book!

Paying attention to details that make a difference

  • It really made a difference that you noticed that little arrow on the sign!
  • You’re right!  That little dog has a collar on.  We can help him get home. 

“Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve.” – Roger Lewin, Ph.D.

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director


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