Executive Function Skills Explained: Child/Teen

LifeFx offers Executive Function Coaching to individuals of all ages. Our customized programing, rooted firmly in neuropsychology, is designed to unlock and enhance the tools that already exist in your brain. With these tools, you will learn to work more efficiently, increase focus, improve your memory, enhance social interactions, and so much more!

What are Executive Function Skills?

Executive Function Skills are like the backstage crew of your brain, working tirelessly to ensure a smooth performance in the theater of life. These skills encompass a set of mental processes that enable us to plan, concentrate, retain information, manage our energy and emotions, and skillfully handle multiple tasks. Picture them as the talented crew members managed by the prefrontal cortex, which is the brain’s conductor, located just behind your forehead.

Executive Function Skills can be broken into three fundamental areas: cognitive processes, behaviors, and emotions. In essence, these skills encompass how we think, what we do, and how we feel.

What is Executive Function Coaching?

Executive Function coaching is all about equipping you with the tools and strategies to enhance your Executive Function skills. Our collaborative approach will involve both fortifying your current skills and acquiring new techniques to navigate the complexities of everyday life. Together, we’ll discover the art of working smarter, conquering procrastination, and reaching your goals.

What are the Executive Function Skills we will be learning?

Cognitive Flexibility
What does it mean? Cognitive flexibility is like being a quick-change artist in your thinking. It means you can switch gears when you face new problems, learn from your mistakes, and smoothly switch between tasks that require different types of thinking.

Real Life Example: Imagine you’re working on a school project about famous scientists, and you initially plan to focus on Marie Curie. But then, your teacher suggests exploring Isaac Newton instead. Instead of sticking to your original plan, you adapt and research Isaac Newton’s contributions to science.

Emotion Regulation

What does it mean? Emotion regulation is the ability to manage your feelings effectively, like a captain steering a ship through stormy seas. It means you can keep your emotions in check and respond to situations calmly.

Real Life Example: Emotion regulation is the ability to manage your feelings effectively, like a captain steering a ship through stormy seas. It means you can keep your emotions in check and respond to situations calmly.

Coal-Directed Persistence

What does it mean? Goal-directed persistence is like having a laser focus on your target. It means you can set a goal, work steadily toward it, and not get easily sidetracked by other things that catch your attention.

Real Life Example: You have a big research paper to complete, and it’s tempting to watch your favorite TV show. However, you resist the temptation, set a timer for focused work, and make steady progress on your paper without getting distracted.

Metacognition

What does it mean? Metacognition is like being your own thinking coach. It means you can reflect on your thoughts and understand how your mind works, helping you make better decisions.

Real Life Example: While taking a difficult math test, you notice that you’re feeling anxious. Instead of panicking, you pause, recognize that the anxiety might be affecting your performance, and use relaxation techniques to regain your focus.

Organization

What does it mean? Organization is like creating a well-organized toolbox for your life. It means you can establish systems to keep track of information, belongings, or tasks.

Real Life Example: You keep your school materials neatly organized in separate folders and use a digital calendar to track assignment due dates, making it easy to find what you need and stay on top of your schoolwork.

Planning & Prioritizing

What does it mean? Planning and prioritizing is like being the director of a play. It means you can create a game plan to reach your goals, decide what’s most important, and focus your efforts accordingly.

Real Life Example: You have a busy day ahead, including homework, soccer practice, and a family dinner. You make a to-do list, prioritize your assignments, tackle them first, and leave enough time for soccer and family time.

Response Inhibition

What does it mean? Response inhibition is like having a mental pause button. It means you can think before you act or speak, allowing you to make better decisions.

Real Life Example: Someone at school says something unkind to you, and your initial reaction is to get angry. However, you take a moment to pause, consider the consequences, and instead choose to respond calmly or seek help from an adult.

Self-Advocacy

What does it mean? Self-advocacy is like being your own spokesperson. It means you can identify your needs and effectively communicate them to others to get the support or help you require.

Real Life Example: If you’re struggling with a particular subject in school, you approach your teacher to discuss your challenges, ask for extra help, and advocate for resources or strategies to improve your understanding.

Stress Tolerance

What does it mean? Stress tolerance is like having a strong shield against life’s pressures. It means you can handle stressful situations, cope with uncertainty, adapt to change, and perform well under pressure.

Real Life Example: During a crucial basketball game, with only seconds left on the clock and the score tied, you maintain your composure, make a critical shot, and help your team win despite the intense pressure.

Sustained Attention

What does it mean? Sustained attention is like being a vigilant guard at your mental gate. It means you can stay focused on a task, resist distractions, and remain engaged even when you’re tired or bored.

Real Life Example: While studying for a challenging exam, you create a quiet, distraction-free workspace, set a timer for regular breaks, and diligently concentrate on your study materials for an extended period.

Task Initiation

What does it mean? Task initiation is like hitting the ground running. It means you can start projects or assignments without procrastinating, and you begin them efficiently and on time.

Real Life Example: You have a school project due in a week. Instead of waiting until the last minute, you break the project into smaller tasks, create a schedule, and start working on it immediately, ensuring you complete it well before the deadline. 

Time Management

What does it mean? Time management is like being the conductor of your daily orchestra. It means you can estimate how long tasks will take, allocate your time effectively, and stick to deadlines.

Real Life Example: You have multiple assignments to complete in a limited time frame. You create a time schedule, allocate specific time blocks to each task, and use a timer to stay on track, ensuring you meet all your deadlines.

Working Memory

What does it mean? Working memory is like your mental notepad. It means you can remember important information while simultaneously performing other tasks or problem-solving.

Real Life Example: During a complex board game, you remember the rules, track your progress, and strategize your moves, all while holding multiple pieces of information in your mind to make informed decisions.