This video discusses the importance of executive function, or the “air traffic control” system of the brain. Executive function encompasses the higher order operations that help us organize information and regulate our behaviour, including prioritizing, delaying gratification, planning ahead, coping with frustration, and following rules.
Children with good executive function find it easier to get along with others and develop adaptive responses to social demands. Conversely, kids without well-developed executive function skills experience higher levels of frustration, problem behaviour and anxiety. Executive function skills develop early in life in stable environments with the support of attentive caregivers. Toxic stress and chaotic environments, on the other hand, tend to lead to weaker brain architecture as well as limited opportunities to learn and practice essential executive function skills.