Executive Function 101: Balance
This is the fifth post in a five-part series about Executive Function. Each post includes downloadable templates to use at home and in the classroom. The first article is about managing time, the second addresses managing materials, the third discusses managing information, and the fourth achieving independence.
Effectively managing time, materials, and information offers students independence and ultimately provides balance for life inside and outside of school.
Helping students balance academics, sports, after-school activities, employment, and hobbies should be an ongoing priority for parents and teachers. They should encourage students to communicate their needs to parents, teachers, coaches, and employers and to self advocate. Doing so will help them become independent in all areas of their lives.
Download the Daily Life Balance worksheet. Brainstorming a list of priorities and managing a calendar are critical components in achieving balance. Andrea Meade, assistant dean of Students at Landmark High School, points out that “identifying personal traits and habits helps students prioritize work accordingly. For instance, some students are more productive with homework completion immediately after school, while others work more efficiently later in the evening after engaging in physical exercise. I also suggest that students tackle easier tasks when they are tired.” Meade points out that “approaching students with empathy is also a key to helping them manage time, materials, and information. These are new skills for most students and mastering them and seeing the rewards takes self control, mindfulness, and time.” Robin Day-Laporte, Head of Landmark High School's Study Skills department, embeds tips on stress management through exercise, healthy eating, adequate sleep, down time, and positive personal relationships throughout her lessons.
- Be realistic.
- Review priorities.
- Encourage healthy, fulfilling habits.
- Foster supportive and positive relationships.
- Seek guidance from teachers, parents, coaches, employers.
"Teaching our students to understand their learning style is very important to gaining independence and developing self-advocacy skills. Students should be active in their learning and use the supports available to them."— Suzanne Crossman, Director of Transition and Guidance at Landmark High School