Executive Function Strategies Blog

Inside a Master's Mind: How Chess Builds Executive Function Skills

2020 was a year filled with discovering (or rediscovering) new activities to keep us occupied in a COVID world: the joy of baking banana bread, learning a new instrument, decluttering long-neglected areas of our homes - and, more recently, the mental workout of playing chess. Thanks to the popular Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit,” chess has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity. And unlike the extra pounds you may be carrying from those kitchen endeavors, it turns out that chess is one of those “good for you” activities - especially when it comes to building Executive Function skills.



Why You Should Stop Rescuing Your Teen (and what to do instead)

It’s 7:45 on a Thursday night and your son finally gives his eyes a break from the TV just long enough to remember that he has a major essay due for English tomorrow. He might not admit it, but the frantic pacing and backpack digging already reveal everything you need to know - it’s not the first time he’s had a last-minute cramming crisis. Without asking details, you sigh and abandon your own plans to unwind and instead prepare yourself for another student-rescue mission. It seems like it was just yesterday when his last big semester-long project became a 2-day, all hands-on-deck ordeal to get it finished on time. He swore he learned his lesson, but here you are - stuck in this academic Groundhog-Day loop once again. Why on earth can’t he get himself organized and plan these things out?



Activating Teens with a Summer Project to Build Executive Functioning

This turbulent school year has finally reached its end! But now that summer is here, many of you may be shifting into this new season with some concerns: What will my teen do if they’re not returning to camp? Will my teen be screen-bound for hours on end? Will my teen sleep all day and stay up all night, messing with their circadian rhythm? All of this upcoming downtime provides a host of new challenges, especially if you’re beginning to play the perilous game of overseeing your teen’s summer without creating conflict or managing outright rebellion.

But what if this surplus of free time could be viewed as an opportunity for your teen to explore their interests in order to build skills?



Time for Bed! Why Sleep is Essential for Executive Functioning

“But I don’t want to go to bed!”  Pretty much every parent has heard these words, or some variation, as early as...well, my three-year old says it, so let’s go with that. Usually one more story suffices at this age, but as children get older, the pleas often become more difficult to navigate.