How to improve executive functioning skills

Educational Psychologist Jane Healy, PhD, shares advice for parents on how to improve your child's brain development and executive functioning skills, which are the best predictor of a child's success
How To Improve Executive Functioning Skills In Children
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How to improve executive functioning skills

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Executive skills are very much in the news today as far as brain development is concerned, because we've learned that these are actually the best predictor of a child's success when he or she grows up to be an adult. Executive skills come from a part of the brain called the frontal lobes, which is up here way behind your eyes and is actually the control switches for the brain in the sense that if we take conscious control of our thinking, our planning, controlling our own impulses, and basically behaving in socially acceptable ways, your frontal lobes are involved in all of those. So helping our children to develop good executive skills turns out to be one of the most important things we can do and we call this self-regulation. Now, there's one thing that you can do at home, which is really going to help your child with this. This is hard for some of us who think we're not really self-regulated ourselves, but we can run a reasonably well-organized household. For example, if everything is a chaos early in the morning, we send our child off to school, that brain is not under very good control at that point. It's sort of going off in all directions. One thing that you can do is to perhaps get up half an hour early in the morning and make sure that your child gets off to a well-regulated start in the morning with plenty of time to be relaxed and in control when he or she goes off to school. This is difficult in a stressed out culture and parents that are themselves obviously very stressed out, but it's an extremely important thing to model for your child the skills of managing your own life successfully.

Educational Psychologist Jane Healy, PhD, shares advice for parents on how to improve your child's brain development and executive functioning skills, which are the best predictor of a child's success

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Jane M. Healy, PhD

Educational Psychologist

Jane Healy is a teacher and educational psychologist who has worked with all ages from pre-school to graduate school.  Her major research interest has been in finding practical applications of current brain research for teachers and parents.  A graduate of Smith College, she holds a MA from John Carroll University, a PhD from Case Western Reserve University, and post-doctoral work in developmental neuropsychology.  She has served on the faculty of Cleveland State University. Her many years of experience include: parent, classroom teacher, reading/learning specialist, elementary administrator, and clinician.  She is recognized internationally as an author, lecturer, and consultant. She has received international media coverage, including Nightline, Good Morning America, the Today Show, CNN and NPR, for her ideas about the impact of technology, media and culture on children's brain development and learning.

Although Jane has received many honors, including being twice named the "Educator of the Year" by Delta Kappa Gamma, she claims that she and her husband have learned most of what they know from the process of raising three sons (and now their six grandchildren).

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