Planning is the most basic of all functions which involve setting goals and determining the right steps by which these goals are to be achieved. As part of the executive functioning skills, it refers to the ability to create a plan or strategy to reach a goal and to complete the tasks required.
Planning and Time Management are executive functioning skills that are closely related.
For children who struggle with them, however, it can be a challenge. The result is that no matter how small or large a task is, things don’t get completely done or even started. This skill is related to a child’s ability to identify and manage future-orientated tasks, involving how he or she identifies future responsibilities or events, sets goals to complete them, and recognizes the steps necessary to finish the task ahead of time.
If you frequently find your child asking you to get certain school materials at the last minute, going to school without all the required materials or books, or leaving behind personal belongings at friends and family members’ houses, they might need to strengthen their planning skills. Or maybe if your child can easily identify the steps required to achieve a goal, but struggles to determine when to start, what you might be seeing is your child’s struggle with planning.
Here’s an example: A child comes home very excited about the science fair set to happen in three weeks. They had all these great ideas about what they wanted to do. After a few days is all forgotten. They’re not following through with any of the steps to plan for it, no list of materials needed has been made, no trials were scheduled. So, the night before the science fair comes and they haven’t done anything. What can you do to avoid that?
Planning is thinking ahead
What are some strategies you can use to help your student? Write everything on calendars, planners, set timelines, set reminders, and use the apps on their phone. Even schools have made it a lot easier for kids nowadays because they have everything up on their online platforms. BUT they are not writing down all of it. Your kid also has doctor appointments, soccer games, lacrosse practices, and piano lessons to attend. Our tutors take all of it into consideration when they help to plan your child’s weeks and days.
Finding a good executive functioning coach, someone they can relate to and trust while also holding them accountable is the best thing you can do. Someone who will be their cheerleader AND it’s also going to help them, guide them, and show them different tools to develop their planning skills. At Wright Academics, we have available different activities for the students and the coaches to work on together. Our Coaches use a variety of exercises to assist students visualize, not only the end goal but also the steps necessary to get there. Using a board with color-coded cards displaying the different stages of a project or tasks, building a timeframe between now and the due date can give them a clearer view of the available time they have to complete it.
It can be overwhelming to see your child struggling, especially with activities that seem very easy for most people. Don’t hesitate to contact us; there is a way to assist them in developing the abilities they require to be successful in school and life.
If you have any questions, reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help!