Executive functions refer to a set of abilities that individuals use in order to learn new information, retrieve learned information, and use learned information. Executive functioning skills include attention, memory, impulse control, mental flexibility, and problem solving. These abilities start to develop at a very early age when the child is in preschool, therefore it is essential to help preschoolers to acquire and improve these skills through various strategies.
Attention can be particularly enhanced through allowing for breaks between activities and through providing the child with an activity that requires maintaining attention such as a sorting. Various memorization strategies are available to improve memory capacity such as the use of visual aid (videos and pictures) and practice by writing or singing. Impulse control requires the child to pause and reflect before carrying out a behavior. To boost impulse control, encourage children to STOP (red traffic light), THINK (yellow traffic light), and DO (green traffic light). Finally, problem solving and mental flexibility can be enhanced by encouraging the child to be more creative in coming up with solutions.