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SNN PRESENTS: CEO OF THE BRAIN: Understanding Executive Function in Children

29 April 2021, 7pm, Webinar

On the evening of 29 April, over 60 parents and caregivers gathered together online for CEO of the Brain: Understanding Executive Function in Children, where they were presented with a comprehensive overview of executive functioning and guided through related discussion topics by Psychologist Ann Bridgewater. SNNHK was pleased to introduce Ann to such a big audience in our second webinar of 2021.

Following an introduction to the definition and theoretical models of executive function, parents were presented with some solid examples to enable a better understanding of how a deficit in executive functioning or self-regulation may affect a child’s emotions, behaviour and learning in everyday life.

Ann then guided parents through several practical strategies for supporting their children’s development and improvement in executive functioning. Making use of external mechanisms such as simple to-do lists, timetables and mind maps, or picture cues for younger children, and introducing external motivators and rewards with goals that are small and achievable are all ways that may help parents engage with their children in improving executive function. Teaching children the concept of time using analogue clocks and visualizing both the passage of time and their future selves may also help with making goal setting achievable. Ann introduced the notion of “time robbers” to encourage children to identify, remove and replan around obstacles, and suggests breaking down a task into “getting ready”, “doing” and “done” stages. Ann offered parents lots of useful ideas on how to put it all into practice, and pointed out that managing parental frustration is also important in helping ourselves work out what is hard for our children and how to better support them with relevant strategies.

The webinar was completed with a discussion on some highly relevant topics in the Q&A session, and further practical tips were shared by Ann. Discussion touched on appropriate and positive consequences when children don’t meet the goal setting behaviour, tips for delaying gratification, ways to develop higher order thinking, how mood, anxiety and executive function affect each other, and more tips on helping children understand the concept of time, among others.

We at SNNHK would like to express our gratitude to Ann for delivering such a comprehensive presentation and providing practical tips for those attending. We are also thankful for the good turnout and for attendees’ active participation in the Q&A session. We hope you all finished the call feeling encouraged and better informed in supporting your children. Stay tuned for our next webinar in June discussing another topic of keen interest for parents and caregivers – nutrition and children with special needs and disabilities.

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