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.



1000 Calls in 2020: Insights from Frontline Executive Function Support

Moments of quiet and calm - and eruptions of tears and frustration.

At night, a tangle of worried thoughts instead of restful sleep. 

While this could describe daily life for many of us in 2020, our team has been particularly attuned to the new challenges that parents and professionals have been facing this year. How have we kept our fingers on the pulse? 

During the past year, our Client Services Coordinators have had conversations with over a thousand individuals looking to learn more about Executive Function coaching and to determine if it’s a good fit for themselves or their kids. Sometimes, it’s just not the right time to begin the coaching journey. There may be mental health or other challenges that need addressing first, before a coach can have a positive impact. Most of the time, though, the folks we talk to have the right combination of frustration about their current situation and interest in making a change for the better that unlocks the real potential for coaching to be life-changing. We love those moments. That’s when we can hear the change in their voices that signals a hopefulness and optimism that had been hard to come by in the months - or years - prior. 

As we reflect on this year, what are some of the themes that our team has observed in these phone calls during 2020? Let’s get a fly-on-the-wall perspective to learn more from our Client Services Team and their 1000+ conversations they had this year - and their best insights from 2020 for struggling parents and professionals.



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?



When Your Technology Fails: 6 Tips for Calm Solutions

Imagine this - it’s the day of your World History exam. You’ve studied all week and are feeling confident. Your workspace is cleared and ready to go. Five minutes before the start time you attempt to log on to the main classroom page. A screen that says “no internet connection” is staring back at you. No, this can’t be happening! There are only four minutes left until everyone else will be starting their exams. At this point, the rest of the house has noticed. Dad is missing an important business call and your sister was logged out of Zoom in the middle of her class. Everyone is frantically running around the house unplugging routers and flipping switches, but nothing is working. The seconds are ticking away that should be spent on your exam and you can’t even send a quick email to your teacher pleading for help or extended time.