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12 Tips Parents Can Use to Help their Children Improve their Executive Functions (Includes Using a Blueprint Storage Rack!)

blueprint storage rack

According to Understood, children who misplace items, frequently lose track of time, don’t finish tasks, and procrastinate until the last minute may have issues with executive functions.[1]

These executive functions, WebMD states, are a variety of mental skills, which are controlled by the frontal lobe.[2] The article goes on to state that the brain continues to develop and that children who may once have had trouble with executive functions—such as time management and organization—may not face these same problems nearly as bad in adulthood. That is, of course, dependent on the child’s experiences as he or she grows up.

To help your child gain more control and strengthen his or her executive functions, read on to learn what tips you can incorporate into their daily life so that they can thrive (#11 includes the blueprint storage rack.)

Signs Your Child May Need Some Help Strengthening Their Executive Functions

Your child may not be able to estimate with time. They lose track of time easily, may say “5 more minutes” but 5 turns into 10, which turns into 15, which turns into a half hour.

Also, they may be messy, leaving papers on the ground, the table is disorganized, the chair isn’t pushed in, etc. This isn’t a one-time or two-time deal; they routinely do this, needing insistent reminders to clean up.

This may be a sign that the child isn’t aware of time and space, not that they are lazy.[3]

Does Your Child Have ADHD, Dyslexia, or Another Disorder?

The truth is, your child could have a brain disorder—or not. Monitor what your child does and speak to a professional to determine if this is the case and what proper avenues you can use to help your child get the help they need.

At the same time, know that several children do exhibit these traits but don’t have a disorder.[4]

Ways You Can Help Your Child Stay Organized

Still, you can help your child by teaching them how to set goals and follow through with them, let alone stay organized and consistent. Here are some tips how.

1. Create To-Do Lists

Help your child set goals. Ask them what they want to accomplish and guide them, using realistic expectation in the form of a to-do list.

If your child can read and write, help them create one. Try to incorporate all of the learning styles—kinesthetic, visual, and auditory—when creating the list. For instance, for kinesthetic, have your child physically write out the list. Then, for visual and auditory, have them read the list out loud.

You can also use different colors or signs to highlight the level of importance, which can also help with visual learning.

2. Routine, Routine, Routine

Set a routine to help your child have a sense of consistency. Set a time for bedtime, meals, activities, etc. It doesn’t have to be on the dot, just as long as the child has a foundation of stability.

3. Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement helps reward and encourage positive behavior. Such examples of positive reinforcement include praise, free time, special outing, etc. While some people use treats as a form of positive reinforcement, it may not have a healthy effect on the child.

For instance, if your child does his or her homework, perhaps give them the opportunity to play outside? Or your child finishes his or her chores. Take them out to the park?

By encouraging children to use their executive functions by providing positive reinforcement, you help them organize their time, stick to one goal, and accomplish it in one go.

4. Ditch the Distractions

Maybe the TV is on in the background. Or you have the music on. Distractions such as these may pull the child’s focus away from the activity they have to do. That or force them to concentrate harder, which takes more work. To help your child stay on task, minimize distractions by providing a calm environment.[5]

5. Create a Chart

Track homework and chores with a chart. Have your child physically check off the box when he or she is finished with the chores and homework. That way, the child can physically see the accomplishment, as well as see the progress he or she has made throughout the week.

6. Set Expectations

What do you expect from your child? What does your child expect from himself or herself? Help he or she come up with the words and consistently hold your child accountable to those expectations.

That could mean helping your child come up with an expectation at the beginning of the day, and then following up at the end to see if your child completed it or not. Doing this consistently will help your child set goals and complete them and to take expectations seriously.

7. Reflection

(This ties into #6.) At the end of the day, help your child review his or her day. What does he or she wish she would have done differently? And then help him or her come up with practical ways he or she can accomplish that. What’s something he or she is proud of?

8. Embrace Spontaneity

At the same time, while routine is good, room for spontaneity and creativity are important. By having a stable base in routine and expectations, the child can explore, create, and imagine.

9. Break Activities into Chunks

Some homework assignment may take a couple hours. Others may take 15 minutes. Help your child come up with a realistic time expectation for each, including transition and settling in times.

If the assignment is long, don’t be afraid to break it up into chunks. Perhaps, the research for the first hour, and then a break? Then write the rough draft for the paper later or the next day. That way, your child learns how to pace tasks.

10. Refrain from Yelling

While it can be tempting when you are frustrated, take a couple deep breaths instead of yelling at your child.

Children may become scared and insecure, according to a Healthline article.[6] Instead, calmly explain the frustrating behavior. That way the environment continues to be secure and children feel safe to do their chores and homework.

11. Help Keep the House Clean and Tidy, Using a Blueprint Storage Rack

A blueprint storage rack is great for hanging up artwork, past class assignments, folders, and files. Since each hanger can hold up to 60 blueprints, rest assured that you won’t be needing to put several filing cabinets in your house.

By keeping the house tidy, your child won’t be distracted by the clutter, and can more easily focus on his or her homework.

12. Let Children Blow Off Steam with Physical Activity

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children and teens need roughly an hour of physical activity every day.[7] Not only does physical activity improve health but it helps them stay focus. If your child has ADHD symptoms, it can reduce those. And, it can also improve memory, among a host of other benefits.[8]

Final Thoughts

By keeping a tidy environment (using organizational pieces such as the blueprint storage rack) you help your child cultivate organization and strengthen their executive functions. That and providing structure and stability will facilitate and cultivate better goal setting and achieving, completing tasks, and minimize procrastination.

What other tips do you have? Leave a comment.

 Summary

  • Children who may need to strengthen their executive functions exhibit misplacing items, putting things off until the last minute, getting off track, etc.
  • Some children who show these patterns have ADHD or another disorder; others don’t; it is best to have a professional rule this out
  • Help your child to set and achieve goals by creating daily to-do lists
  • Help foster a routine and use positive reinforcement to reward and encourage positive behavior
  • Minimize distractions such as TV and loud music while creating a chart so the child can see how they’ve progressed throughout the week
  • Set expectations and work with your child to reflect whether they were met, and what steps they can follow to ensure it does get met next time
  • Nonetheless, embrace spontaneity, which will help boost creativity, exploration, and imagination
  • Keep the house tidy by using the blueprint storage rack
  • Try not to yell, and let the child blow off steam via physical activity—at least one hour daily
  • If homework or chores are too cumbersome, help the child break them up so that they are doable

For more information about the blueprint storage rack, feel free to contact Big Blueprint Hanger!

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[1] Understood: Understanding Your Child’s Trouble with Organization and Time Management

[2] WebMD: What is Executive Function?

[3] Understood: Understanding Your Child’s Trouble with Organization and Time Management

[4] Understood: Understanding Your Child’s Trouble with Organization and Time Management

[5] Psychology Today: 7 Tips to helps a Distracted Child

[6] Healthline: The Long-Lasting Effects of Yelling at Your Kids

[7] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How much physical activity do children need?

[8] Psychology Today: 8 Ways Exercise Can Help Your Child Do Better in School