Executive functioning, which include the suite of skills we use to complete a task, is often an area of challenge for students with PG and 2e profiles. Executive functioning is one of the last skills children acquire, which is why many children have challenges initiating a task, time management, and follow-through. When it comes to transitions at home or school, it may be helpful to create clear boundaries around how much time a particular task should take. Well-meaning parents and teachers who offer multiple time-extensions on assignments often perpetuate the cycle of procrastination and further derail other scheduled activities.
To help children build the skills needed to help students with time management and awareness, parents and teachers can try creating clear schedule boundaries using the following steps:
Even with clear expectations and boundaries, transitioning between tasks, projects, or focus can be difficult and may require additional supports to help a child successfully navigate all that is asked of them. Reset rituals are typically short, easily accessible, and sensorial practices that help a person reset before and/or after a transition. They might be put in place when preparing for daily transitions, like before bedtime, or can be used during the many smaller transitions during a busy day. The following are a few examples of calming and reset rituals for individuals or families:
For the individual
Setting the A.M. Scene – It’s a marathon, not a sprint! Don’t cram the morning with additional stressors as you will likely drain your battery before lunch. Try taking the first 20 minutes of wakefulness to slowly come into your senses by quiet journaling, meditation, light stretching, or just looking out the window. This will give your body the slow ramp into the day it needs.
Starting a Task - Breath in through your nose for four counts, hold your breath for four counts, and breath out through your mouth for four counts. This may help clear your mind of the anxiety that builds up before starting a task.
In the Middle of a Task – Take a moment to walk away from a task with a movement break. Stand up and walk around if you can or even stretch while seated to keep your blood flowing and mind focused.
Finishing a Task – Positively reinforce your hard work with something pleasant – maybe it is a favorite flavor of Chapstick, listening to a high energy song, or giving yourself a fun sticker. Whatever it is, a little self-congratulation promotes healthy routines in the long run.
Refresh – If you’re feeling stuck or have moved through several transitions already, it might be time for a longer reset. Take a 10 minute walk, have a snack, or do something that is the opposite of what you were doing before to help replenish your battery. For example, don’t write a post on Facebook if you were just working on an essay. Instead, take a break from writing by dancing!
S.O.S. – If your mind is starting to spin off the wheels, try calming yourself by naming something in your immediate surroundings for all five senses to ground yourself in the present. What can you see, hear, smell, feel, and taste at this time?
Preparing for the P.M. – Turn the lights down and remove distractions from the bedroom an hour before bedtime to help cue your brain that it is time for sleep – that includes putting your phone away!
For the family
If you’re a family that is sharing the same space for work, school, and home life, it might be helpful to use the senses to carve out different times of day and help the whole family transition and reset as needed.
Lighting cues can help create natural transitions between times of day. You can use warm, soft light in the morning to promote wakefulness, then lots of natural and direct light during focus hours, and finally bring things back down with dim or indirect light to relax after the day.
Musical cues are a fun way to promote different moods or reset throughout the day. Make family playlists to give each other a boost during the afternoon dip or set the scene for quiet family reflection after an eventful day.
Smell cues often happen naturally, like waking up to the smell of morning coffee, but these powerful signals can also be used to help mediate transitions throughout the day. Your family can spritz a citrus Febreze product to signal an upcoming work break or pick a calming tea to brew at night to promote relaxation.
We hope these tips will help your child and family navigate all there is to do, but you can find additional ideas and supports from the following articles:
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The following disclosure is provided pursuant to Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 598.1305:The Davidson Institute for Talent Development is a Nevada non-profit corporation which is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt private operating foundation. We are dedicated to supporting the intellectual and social development of profoundly gifted students age 18 and under through a variety of programs. Contributions are tax deductible.
Profoundly gifted students are those who score in the 99.9th percentile on IQ and achievement tests. Read more about this population in this article.