Does Your Child Lack Executive Functioning Skill? Find Out The Signs and Learn How to Improve It

Signs of poor executive functioning skills:

  • Short attention span with difficulty focusing and paying attention in class or at home
  • Unable to manage emotions around people or situations, e.g. throwing tantrums, anxiety attack
  • Disorganized and messy with personal belongings
  • Lacks the ability to initiate and complete tasks on hand
  • Experience difficulty planning and prioritizing his or her own time, e.g. finishing homework before the dateline

If your child is displaying any of these signs, he or she may be lacking in Executive Functioning skills.

What is Executive Functioning and Why Is It Important?

Exесutіvе Funсtіоnіng Skills are the most important skills needed for healthy self-development in any child and is often termed as the CEO of the brain. They govern the aspects of self- monitoring, emotional awareness, planning, prioritizing and task initiation skills.

Such skills are essential for daily life and especially so during school periods where paying attention, emotional intelligence and knowing how to prioritize time are important for effective learning and performing well academically. At the same time, the ability to socialize, interact and get along with classmates and teachers are all part of well-developed executive functioning skills.

If your child does not dеvеlор a good foundation for еxесutіvе funсtіоnіng ѕkіllѕ from a young age, he or she may face several learning difficulties that may hinder his or her opportunity for academic and life success. A lack of good executive functioning skills also lead to poor interpersonal skills, which often impact the quality of human relationships that your child would have as they grow older. It can also hold your child back from achieving his or her full potential academically as well as the development of other talents such as sports and music.


5 Tips to Improve Your Child’s Executive Functioning Skills

Explain the rationale

When it comes to poor behavior, not all children can take feedback well. If your child is more sensitive, you can try to sit him or her down and explain the reasons why his or her behavior was unacceptable and the importance of change. Sometimes it also good to ask your child for ideas for improvement; you would be surprised that he/she can come up with a better idea than you! More importantly, this process gives him or her a sense of ownership for self-improvement and will, in turn, motivate him or her to change.

2)   Set the rules right

Set some ground rules and let your child know that he or she has to follow them. For example, to keep the bedroom tidy at all times, to pack his or her schoolbag during weekends to prepare for school, and to finish all homework before going out to play. In the long run, this routine will help your child develop self-discipline and effective time management.

3)   Break it down with a checklist

Help your child better visualize the tasks at hand and prioritize accordingly by listing the steps needed to complete a task in a checklist. Be creative with the checklist and add as much interesting imagery as possible that can help your child to understand what needs to be done.

4)   Offer a reward

Having a reward for your child when a milestone is reached definitely helps in motivating the desired behavior. It can be an additional hour of gameplay or buying a favourite item.

5)   Encourage learning through play

Certain board games can help train your child’s working memory and thought process. It can range from memory card games to strategic competitive games. Participating in such an activity with your child not only helps him or her learn while having fun but it also fosters the bond between you and your child and allow better understanding of each other.


Using the above tips, along with constant time and effort put into your child, he or she would definitely be able to improve critical executive functioning skills in no time. This will bring immense benefits as he or she takes on more responsibilities and complex tasks.

At The Little Executive, Executive Functioning Skills are one of the core skills that our programme is designed to build and hone in young children. We also focus on developing strong learning habits in our learners and encourage them to communicate and express themselves well.

To find out more about our research-based curriculum, call 6908-1889 or email us at [email protected].