These Are the Executive Functioning Skills Kids Should Learn, Grade by Grade


Executive functioning skills are crucial for a child’s development as these abilities help them manage time, stay focused, and control their emotions. Developing executive functioning skills from an early age positively impacts a child’s educational journey and future life success. This article aims to highlight the essential executive functioning skills that children should learn grade by grade.


1. Focus and Attention: Encourage young children to concentrate on a single task for an extended period without getting distracted.

2. Organization: Teach children how to keep their belongings organized and follow routines.

3. Self-control: Help them understand the importance of playing nicely with others and being patient.

First Grade

1. Working Memory: Enhance their memory capacity by practicing simple strategies, such as repeating information or using mnemonic devices.

2. Task Initiation: Develop a sense of independence by encouraging them to start tasks without assistance from parents or teachers.

3. Flexibility: Teach them to adjust their approach when something doesn’t work and adapt to new situations.

Second Grade

1. Goal Setting: Boost their ability to set realistic short-term goals and work towards achieving them.

2. Time Management: Teach students how to prioritize tasks and allocate time efficiently.

3. Emotional Regulation: Foster emotional understanding and help them learn how to cope with stressful situations or setbacks in a healthy manner.

Third Grade

1. Planning: Guide children in breaking down complex projects into smaller steps and creating comprehensive plans.

2. Problem-solving: Encourage them to identify problems, brainstorm solutions, and evaluate outcomes objectively.

3. Reflective Thinking: Promote critical thinking skills by encouraging self-assessment, reviewing strengths and weaknesses, and setting areas of improvement.

Fourth Grade

1. Impulse Control: Reinforce the ability to think before acting in emotionally charged situations.

2. Metacognition: Foster awareness of their own thinking and encourage reflection on their learning process.

3. Decision Making: Teach the value of evaluating the pros and cons of different choices and making informed decisions.

Fifth Grade

1. Task Persistence: Develop their determination to stick with challenging tasks and persevere through difficulties.

2. Prioritization: Solidify the concept of categorizing tasks based on importance, urgency, and personal goals.

3. Emotional Intelligence: Enhance their ability to identify, express, and regulate emotions in a healthy manner.


Developing executive functioning skills in children is an essential component of education and personal growth. By focusing on these vital skills grade by grade, parents and educators can ensure that children are well-equipped for future challenges in academic and everyday life situations. Cooperate with your child’s teachers and provide a supportive environment to foster the growth of these critical cognitive abilities that serve as a foundation for lifelong success.

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