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.



Executive Functioning Isn’t Just Kid Stuff: A New Resource for Adults

Mia, a curious 6th grader who was into dinosaurs and art class more than anything else, had been working with me for about two months when she finally settled on her organizational system: Triceratops stickers on her math folder, Ankylosaurus stickers on the English folder, and Velociraptor stickers for the social studies folder. Science and art -- her favorite subjects -- were already well-decorated and well-organized. (And besides, how could she ever forget her materials for the courses she loved?)

After the session, as Mia proudly shared her new system with her dad, he turned to me and semi-jokingly asked: “Do you think you could coach me, too?”



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?



Distracted & Unproductive: New Survey Shows Work From Home Challenges

Working from home (WFH) inherently has its challenges. Although I imagine many of us are now finding that out (thanks, COVID-19), each of our experiences during this transition likely differs considerably depending on the unique situations we’re finding ourselves in. For some of you, that could mean suddenly having kids at home while you work, while for others it may just be as simple as swapping an office desk for a kitchen table. In any case, when 56% of the US workforce is suddenly moved into remote working within a matter of weeks, there has to be some universal growing pains.