A Guide to Executive Function (Center on the Developing Child)


Executive function and self-regulation skills are like an air traffic control system in the brain—they help us manage information, make decisions, and plan ahead. We need these skills at every stage of life, and while no one is born with them, we are all born with the potential to develop them. But, how do we do that? The Center on the Developing Child created this Guide to Executive Function to walk you through everything you need to know about these skills and how to develop and practice them throughout life.

  • Step 1: Executive Function 101
    • Executive Function & Self-Regulation
    • InBrief: Executive Function: Skills for Life and Learning
  • Step 2: The Science of Executive Function
    • Building the Brain's "Air Traffic Control" System: How Early Experiences Shape the Development of Executive Function
    • How Children and Adults Can Build Core Capabilities for Life
  • Step 3: Building Executive Function Skills
    • Activities Guide: Enhancing and Practicing Executive Function Skills with Children from Infancy to Adolescence (Some are available in French and Arabic)
    • Building the Core Skills Youth Need for Life: A Guide for Education and Social Service Practitioners
    • Building the Skills Adults Need for Life: A Guide for Practitioners


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