April 28, 2021
Last night, my first grader fixed his own dinner.
“Mama, I invented a new recipe. It’s called PBBH: Peanut-butter-banana-honey sandwich! I want to make it all by myself.”
What happened next — as I watched from a few feet away — was a demonstration of how far his executive function skills have come in the last year.
- He developed a plan and organized his materials (focused attention)
- He held the steps in his mind: toast the bread, spread the peanut butter, spread the honey, add the sliced bananas (working memory)
- He switched to a spoon for spreading when the knife was too difficult (flexible thinking)
- He stayed calm and focused when the honey fell to the floor, one of the slices of bread ripped, and the dog came rushing in to “help” (impulse control & task persistence)
But of course, he didn’t think of this activity as a cognitive boot camp. It was independent, self-directed fun!
There’s a lot of handwringing right now about “lost learning” this year because of changes to schooling. But before you buy a mountain of workbooks or sign your kid up for academic remediation on Zoom, think instead about…