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Tag: Executive Function

Teenager sitting alone at a table looking stressed

Stress and The Brain

Too Much, Too Little, and the Resilience Sweet Spot

As a culture, we are obsessed with stress and the brain –“Stress Free in 40 Days!”– “Go On Vacation and Leave Stress Behind!” say the advertisements. You can buy stress busters, stress exterminators, and stress eradicators. Yet one out of five children report worrying “a great deal” or “a lot.” Millenials (young adults ages 18-33)…  Read More

Three kids eating cake at the dining room table with crumbs all over their faces

How to Build Your Child’s Self-Regulation at The Dining Room Table

“You have to finish what’s on your plate before you can have dessert.” It’s something that many of us likely heard as children, and have possibly even used with our own kids. Wanting our children to learn not to be wasteful (or ungrateful) with their food is understandable, but it turns out that ultimatums like…  Read More

Child eating marshmallows, reminiscent of the famous marshmallow experiment at Stanford in the 1970s.

Another Take on the Marshmallow Experiment

Why Trust is a Critical Ingredient in Self-Control

“Moot!” my son exclaimed happily. “More moot!” In order to make sure that he got his message through to me he proudly showed me his empty milk glass. I reassured him that I would return to the dining room with more milk after I checked in on dinner simmering on the stove. For a thirsty…  Read More

Child playing with legos demonstrating that play builds executive function

3 Ways to Practice Executive Function Skills at Home

We just wrote a post about executive function and how important these skills are for our kids success in school and in life. Here are some tips for giving your kids lots of practice: Help your child build a framework: Helping your child set attainable goals and breaking tasks into achievable steps helps build executive…  Read More

Girl using executive function skills to pay attention in class

Executive Function: Skills for School and Life

Want your child to succeed in school and life? Then look beyond IQ scores and test results. We’ve written before about the importance of self-discipline, but the story doesn’t end there. A whole host of mental skills—constituting what is called executive function–determine how as opposed to what we learn. Emerging research is clear that these…  Read More

8 Steps for Setting Limits

We know that setting limits is key to the development of respect, empathy, and self-discipline. That said, setting and enforcing them aren’t always easy. Try these tips to get started: Get real. Remind yourself that it is your child’s job to push against the limits and your job to set them. Some children will push…  Read More

Child looking very angry and frustrated

Avoiding Power Struggles With Your Child or Teen

For lots of parents, simple conversations can quickly escalate into a power struggle. As our kids start flexing their own muscles of independence, one of their developmental jobs is to find the outer boundaries of appropriate behavior. How far can I go? Who cares? This is especially true during key developmental windows (namely, the “terrible…  Read More

Two siblings fighting

When Siblings Fight

Just last week my (now grown) kids and I were looking through old photo albums. Brian and Erin couldn’t believe how chummy the two of them looked as little kids. There was hardly a picture where they didn’t have their arms around each other or their chubby little hands weren’t tightly clasped. Their sweet little…  Read More

Child eating brain food

Why Your Kids Need Brain Food

We all know now that nutritious food builds strong bodies. But did you know that we need brain food too? Our brains take up only 2% of our body weight yet consume nearly 20% of our body’s energy. That’s why what we feed our brains is so important. Eating “brain food” improves kids’ moods, elevates…  Read More

5 year old hitting

When Kids Hit: Helping Your Child Regulate His or Her Emotions

Parent question: I am looking for a good technique to stop my 5 yr old from hitting me when he doesn’t get his way. I usually use the 1-2-3 counting and then time out in his room, but find for hitting it doesn’t work well, because I am not going to let him hit me…  Read More