While the summertime is a great time for a break, it is also an opportunity to stretch and practice executive functioning skills. Executive functioning skills are often connected to success at school, but in reality, they are necessary for all aspects of life. We’ve discussed executive functioning skills in previous episodes, but today’s conversation is all about how we as parents can use this down time in the summer to help our children improve these skills before they head back to school.
Today’s guest for this conversation is Michelle Porjes, an educational psychologist who is passionate about executive functioning. She provides a plethora of great ideas for these weeks in the summer leading up to a new school year and reminds us that practicing executive functioning skills does not have to look like schoolwork. Because these are skills are necessary for all aspects of life, practicing them could look like playing board games and even planning vacations.
Listen for ways you can practice these skills with your kids at home.
[2:49] – How does Michelle explain what executive functioning is? She helps people manage their time, their stuff, and information.
[4:07] – Executive functioning isn’t study skills. It is much more than that.
[5:50] – You can practice some things over the summer when there’s not as much chaos.
[6:51] – Structure and checklists are so helpful.
[8:06] – There is a benefit to some intellectual work over the summer as well like reading and writing.
[9:36] – It doesn’t have to be schoolwork. Intellectual stimulation can come from a lot of real world experiences.
[11:01] – Family games are extremely beneficial to executive functioning, but are also fun and great for family time.
[12:39] – While we do read in school, reading shouldn’t be tied to school. Reading happens everywhere.
[13:44] – We function in relation to other people. Kids need to engage with executive functioning with communication and practice.
[15:57] – When you go on a trip, even for just a weekend, involve your kids in the planning.
[18:08] – August is a weird month with consuming thoughts of the upcoming school year.
[19:09] – Before buying school supplies, see what you already have. Do this with your child.
[21:35] – You might think your schedule is set, but things could change. Model flexibility.
[23:41] – Carve out time for family time to help with anxiety about the upcoming year.
[25:08] – Kids should be included in the planning. This not only gets them excited and gives them some control, but also helps with executive functioning skills.
[26:47] – There are a lot of factors to consider when planning extracurricular activities.
[28:30] – Michelle posts a lot of articles and blog posts on a variety of topics. She also has a lot of resources on her website and offers consultations.
About Our Guest:
Michelle is a licensed educational psychologist and a credentialed school psychologist in the state of California. She also is a member of the Association of Educational Therapists. She has worked in the private school world for over 23 years where she specialized in consulting, case management, supervision, leadership, and program development.
Currently, Michelle has her own practice where she specializes in executive functioning coaching and helping experienced educators establish tutoring and educational support services that thrive. She routinely works with individuals of all ages and presents workshops and trainings on executive functioning coaching.
Connect with Michelle Porjes:
Links and Related Resources:
- What is Executive Functioning?
- Episode 11: Executive Functioning 101
- Episode 69: How Games Can Help Kids Learn
- The Intersection of Executive Functioning, ADHD, and Other Learning Differences
- Summertime and Executive Functioning Skills
- Navigating the Yearly Calendar: Executive Functioning in August
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The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.