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How to develop brain executive functions in children

by SmartBrainTips

Read what are the best ways to develop executive brain functions in children ages 6-18 months that can improve memory ability, mental flexibility and self-control in toddlers.

The development of brain executive functions in early childhood is very important for children and their learning, as it can help the child develop memory capacity, mental flexibility and self-control. That is why we present to you a series of activities that can encourage this development for toddlers aged 6-18 months.

Brain executive functions are defined as a set of cognitive abilities that help control the simultaneous performance of multiple mental functions. This group of abilities encompasses processes responsible for behavior that is directed toward a specific goal. Executive processes are crucial to formulating goals and strategies, and some of their elements include: expectation, goal selection, planning, mental flexibility and the use of feedback. In addition, executive functions contribute to self-regulation, that is, the ability to self-control in a child.

Children are not born with cognitive abilities, but with the potential to develop such abilities.

It is helpful for toddlers to develop their skills through a variety of activities, which encourage creative play and interaction with other children. Forming a base for developing cognitive abilities is considered to be one of the most important and challenging tasks in early childhood. It is important for children to receive adequate support and experience throughout their childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, so that they can successfully develop such abilities.

The following is a list of activities recommended by Harvard University’s Child Development Center that develop certain aspects of brain executive function that you can practice with your child at home:

Activities for developing brain executive functions for children aged 6-18 months:

“Where are you? There you are? ”- Face-hiding games stimulate the working memory of a child, as it asks the baby to remember who is hiding behind his hands or under the blanket. Some variants of this game contribute to the development of a child’s basic self-control ability, such as when the baby is waiting for an adult to play with it. In other cases, it is the baby who controls when it comes to detection. This way the child learns how to control the tension in the face of the expected surprise.

Trot, Trot to Boston; This is the Way of the Farmer Rides; Pat-a-Cake – Kids love songs that end with a stimulating yet anticipated surprise. Young children develop their working memory by learning rhyme verses and practicing to predict the moment when a surprise will follow, as well as how to control their own reactions to a mental stimulus.

Hiding Games

Hiding games are a great way to boost your child’s working memory.

Hide the toy under the covers and encourage the toddler to look for it. When the child learns how to find the toy quickly, hide it again, but this time, show the child that you have moved it, so allow him or her to search for it again. To increase the challenge, you better hide the toy in different places. While the child remembers where the toy was and mentally follows the move of hiding, it develops its working memory.

Older toddlers enjoy hiding themselves and listening to them cry out loud as they track your whereabouts.

You can hide the item without showing the child where it is, then allow the toddler to search for it. In this way, the child exercises to locate the desired object.

Another challenging version of games like this is a game where several cups are placed on a table that can be turned. Then an object is hidden under one cup, and then the table rotates. The game becomes even more challenging by hiding more than one object.

Imitations or copy games

Children love to emulate adults. When imitating you, the little ones must keep a close eye on your movements and actions, remember them, wait for their turn, and then repeat what you have done. Thus, children develop concentration, working memory and self-control.

These types of games can be played in a number of different ways, from alternating simple movements (such as waving) to arranging toys so that the child repeats what you have done (eg placing animals in a barn in a specific order) or making simple structures of cubes. These cubes are then knocked down so that the child can stack them in the same way.

As your child progresses, design more complicated templates to copy.

Parents can also show their children how to play with toys, say they imitate galloping horses or swinging a baby doll in a cradle. This introduces the concept of using toys as a substitute for real-life items.


Talking to your child can help him or her develop concentration, working memory, and self-control.

Start a conversation with your toddler by following what has occupied his or her attention and name the items he / she seems to be particularly interested in. The child will thus stay longer on a particular subject and practice to focus and maintain attention.

As a child grows up, showing and talking about interesting objects or events can help him / her learn how to focus on something his or her parent has pointed to. Babies who learn to speak also develop memory by remembering what the parent said, to eventually associate words with objects and activities.

Conversations in any language other than native are very helpful. It has been found that bilingual children of different ages have better developed executive brain functions than children who speak only one language. That is why the experience of using additional language is an important skill.


This tips will definitely help you boost and develop brain of your children while they are in early age!

Also, if you are interested in boosting other brain abilities, you should check out ”ELECTRICITY CAN BOOST YOUR BRAIN” , ‘3 SIMPLE EXERCISES TO BOOST YOUR CONCENTRATION”, ”How to Build Your Focus Using Simple Techniques

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