January 2024 Newsletter – Promoting Executive Function Skills: Strategies to Build EF Skills for Teachers/Adults

Strategies to Build EF Skills for Teachers/Adults

The opportunity to care for and educate children can be extremely rewarding. At times, it can also be incredibly stressful! Teachers and adults who are stable and responsive provide the best kind of care for kids. These traits and more are found in an adult’s Executive Function. Moreover, similar to children, adults benefit from the practice of EF skills!

There are several ways to improve adult EF through reducing stress. Let’s look at three approaches:

  • Environmental Approaches
  • Individual Approaches
  • Collaborative Problem Solving

In Environmental Approaches, we are leveraging the environment to reduce stress for adults. For example, when families pick up children at the end of the day, it can be particularly challenging. As caregivers, we may try to reduce stress by collecting the child’s items – jacket, favorite toy, and backpack – and having them ready before the family arrives. This solution helps to make room for necessary EF skills – such as problem-solving – while reducing stress on the adults.

Second, with Individual Approaches, we think in terms of the individual and how we might assist them in responding differently when under stress. For instance, families may struggle with how to soothe a crying baby. In an individual approach, we could use the program newsletter to offer different strategies to use to soothe an infant. Another solution may be to coach parents about positive guidance practices and offer alternate ways to handle challenging situations at home. Both examples are ways to help families apply the EF skill of self-regulation to improve their lives.

Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) is a third method to reduce stress and improve EF skills. CPS promotes working together to solve typical, day-to-day problems. When using CPS, the focus is on EF skill building rather than a focus on will. Motivators or “will” often do not work since there is a skill problem, not a motivation problem. CPS allows for opportunities to use self-awareness, self-discipline, and focus, among many other EF skills, in problem-solving. Throughout the day, adults will have lots of opportunities to practice using CPS to problem-solve.

Adults benefit from strengthening their EF skills, in part, by reducing stress and practicing. When an adult feels effective in their own life, not only do they create a better life for themselves, but for the children in their care as well.

For the main article Promoting Executive Function Skills, CLICK HERE

For the article Executive Function: What is it and why does it matter?, CLICK HERE

For the article The Science of EF: Building Better Lives, CLICK HERE

For the article Strategies to Build EF Skills for Children and Families, CLICK HERE