The term “thinking skills” refers to the specific mental and cognitive processes that a person draws upon to think effectively. Basically, thinking skills are what we use in our heads to problem-solve, reason, infer and hypothesize.
The thinking skills we talk about here at LW4K are derived from years of research into executive functions — the brain-based cognitive skills that manage critical thinking. These thinking skills represent both individual executive functions and cognitively-linked categories of two or more executive functions.
Below, you’ll find a brief explanation of each skill. If you wish to learn more, simply click any of the links for a free e-book containing more information on that thinking skill.
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What Are Thinking Skills?
Focus: Focus helps your child start a task without procrastinating and then maintain his attention and effort until it’s done. Children with executive functioning difficulties have problems in getting started and sustaining their attention and effort to a variety of tasks.
Working Memory: Working Memory helps your child to recall and retain information in his mind while working. Difficulty in Working Memory impairs the capacity to follow directions and learn new activities both at home and school.
Self-Control: Self-Control helps your child to manage her feelings and behaviors, and stop herself from acting inappropriately. Difficulties in regulating feelings and behavior are often present. Moodiness, impulsivity, and unpredictable behavior are observed.
Time Management: Time Management helps your child to be aware of her use of time and to manage her schedule and tasks efficiently. Children may have difficulty managing their lives at age appropriate levels. Time management difficulties can manifest themselves as the 10-year-old who is unable to get ready for school in the morning independently, or as the teen who cannot manage more than two competing activities.
Planning: Planning helps your child to develop a systematic approach for setting and achieving goals by understanding step-by-step processes. Children may experience difficulties in completing step-by-step procedures and may often struggle in setting any type of future goals.
Organization: Organization helps your child to arrange and coordinate materials and activities in order to complete a task. Children may have problems with keeping track of their material and may frequently will lose things necessary at home or at school.
Self-Awareness: Self-Awareness helps your child to understand and articulate his own thoughts and feelings as well as the thoughts and feelings of others. Children may have difficulty understanding the feelings and experiences of others and struggle to express themselves effectively.
Flexibility: Flexibility helps your child to adapt and adjust to changing conditions and expectations without becoming frustrated. Children may have difficulty adapting to new situations. These children struggle to learn from their mistakes.