Executive Function is Enhanced Through Play

Executive function is a buzz phrase in education. In the most basic terms, executive function allows a child to organize, plan, and get things accomplished. These school readiness skills are as important as academics.

Self-regulation, problem solving, and attentiveness are all executive function skills. Play-based activities in preschool and at home, allow children to practice. These skills include attending to the task at hand, thinking creatively and critically, and controlling impulsivity. These readiness skills are imperative for children to succeed in school as well as life.

Research has determined children excel in readiness when secure attachments are in place between the parent and the child. Unconditional love and the knowledge the parent will be supportive in all circumstances enables a child to be confident and better handle challenges in life. Making daily connections with your child will encourage secure attachment and spur on executive function.

Readiness is more than academics, it’s confidence and an attitude of adventure. Knowing one is supported and encouraged in all endeavors provides a launching pad for children in school and life. No matter the circumstances in success and failure, the parent’s best response to the child is acceptance and love. Here are seven tips to assist in continuing to build a secure parent and child relationship with your preschooler.

1. Be trustworthy and dependable to provide security and safety. Be a parent of your word.
2. Connect one-on-one with your child often. Use good listen skills: eye contact, related questions, affirmation.
3. Be patient. Answer questions, train and re-train skills.
4. Allow the child to explore and take risks, within limits. Discuss options to make a failure into future success. Some of the best lessons are learned through failure.
5. Help your child label his emotions and assist in self-regulation. Social emotional skills will build better friendships and  help your child get his emotions under control.
6. Be an advocate, training the child to advocate for himself. You know your child best. Step in when necessary and coach the child in ways to get along with others and solve problems.
7. Love your child without reservations, always…no matter what. Emulate the love God has for each of us. Love your child unconditionally and completely.

Love is patient, love is kind.
1 Corinthians 13:4

© 2017 Becky Danielson. All rights reserved.

Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

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