Does your child struggle to focus?

Five signs your child may need help with their executive functioning skills

As a parent, you may worry your child is not meeting expectations at school. While all children have different capabilities, you can look for signs indicating your child is struggling in certain areas.

One area of weakness for some children is executive functioning skills, which can impact their school performance and grades.

Fortunately, some signs may show your child is struggling in these areas. Identifying these signs can help you decide if your child needs coaching to help them develop these skills so they can achieve their full potential.

What are executive functioning skills

To identify if your child is having problems, you must first understand what “executive functioning skills” mean. These skills include:

• Problem-solving;

• Time management;

• Organising and planning;

• Focusing and completing tasks;

• Processing and retaining information.

If your child is struggling with any of these skills, it will impact their ability to learn and may prevent them from achieving their expected grades in school.

Your child struggles to focus

Retaining focus in a classroom environment is essential for a child to absorb all the information and move through each learning stage. Many children are easily distracted, want to move on to a different task, or do not seem to have the ability to sit still or listen.

Planning and organisation are issues

Planning and organisation are vital skills, not only during education but also throughout life. The inability to plan and organise themselves may mean they pack the wrong books or equipment, forget what they need to take to school, and take longer to complete tasks in the classroom.

They can only concentrate on one task at a time

Multitasking is a skill needed in school and then into adult life. If your child can only concentrate and complete one task at a time, they may begin to fall behind their peers at school. Even simple tasks that require two skills, such as reading from a board and transferring information into their school book, are potentially tricky for children who cannot multitask.

Your child struggles to manage their time

Time management is a vital skill that will help your child to learn effectively. You may notice that your child spends too long on small or unimportant tasks and does not leave enough time to complete the project’s larger and more critical aspects. Other elements of time management they may need help with are timekeeping and punctuality.

Processing and retaining information are problematic

When a child cannot recall what they have learned in a lesson, it can indicate they have problems processing and retaining information. It means they are limited in what they take away from a class compared to their peers, although it does not necessarily mean they cannot understand the topic or grasp concepts. The inability to retain information can also mean your child struggles with tests.

The bottom line

No child is born with executive functioning skills; they will learn these gradually as they grow and gain more experience in the learning environment.

All is not lost if you identify that your child is struggling with some of these skills. It is often possible for them to develop these skills with coaching or to learn strategies that help them to overcome their difficulties in these areas.

Coaching to support the development of these skills can help your child to reach their full potential.  

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