Executive Function Skills for Middle Schoolers

Can my middle schooler improve their executive function skills? That’s the question we’re going to dive in today.

The short answer is yes, 100%. Absolutely. Your middle schooler can, will, and should improve their executive functioning skills during the middle school years. However, the degree that they will improve and progress in this area directly relates to the adults and the environment in their life. 

Watch my video all about Executive Function Skills for Middle Schoolers.

An Intentional Approach to Executive Function Skills 

Let me unpack that a little bit. So when we are implicit and explicit and really intentional about developing these executive function skills, for example, organization, are we implementing a structure of organization in these prime middle school years when their brains are exploding and all sorts of great things are happening in the brain?  If we are directly teaching them organization and how to be organized, they will be able to adapt and take these skills and build on them throughout their years.

The Sink or Swim Approach 

However, if we take the approach, which unfortunately I feel so many good-intentioned adults have, that they’re in middle school now.

“They should figure this out.”

“They’re just going to have to sink or swim. “

“They’re going to figure it out one way or another.” 

Well, some kids do figure things out and learn from their mistakes. And while the middle school years are very much a time that the children need to learn from their mistakes, a lot of the kids, more than we think, when left to figure things out on their own, will make the same mistake over and over and over again. 

And instead of learning from their mistakes and magically figuring out the skill of organization, the skill of task initiation, setting goals, all the important, crucial skills that they need to figure out through these middle school years, these kids will pick up some really bad habits.

They will compensate with really poor adaptations that not only don’t build their executive skills, but they actually take them in the opposite direction.

Things like procrastination, they become master procrastinators.

They become master last-minute scramblers, and a lot of times they don’t make it to the end.

So back to the original question, will my middle school or improved their executive functioning skills at this time?

Absolutely. Yes. And it is a hundred percent up to us – parents, teachers, adults – to set up the environment for them to succeed, so that their executive skills can build and flourish during this developmental time in which the brain is exploding and doing all sorts of things with the neurology.

Executive Function Resources 

I have tons of resources on executive functioning skills that can help you figure out how to help your kids build executive functioning skills so that it becomes easy and second nature and something you automatically do instead of something you either A. Leave up to chance or B. Have to piecemeal information together. Check out these links:

Download my FREE Executive Function Foundations guide for parents!

Get MONTHLY executive function support in my NEW membership!

Subscribe to my YouTube channel for weekly tips on helping your child improve their executive function skills!

Check out more blogposts on executive function skills.

Let me know in the comments – what questions do you have about executive function?

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