Tools to Stop to Think

stop and think

Pausing for a moment to stop to think before acting is an essential executive functioning skill that stems from the development of impulse control, working memory, flexible thinking, self-control, and metacognition. The skill of pausing to think allows individuals to consider the potential consequences of their actions, make informed decisions, and exercise impulse control. This is something we all learn, but can take time and practice to master. Let’s explore this cognitive skill further.

This blog post, titled “Stop and Think” was originally published in 2017 and updated May 4, 2021 as occupational therapy practitioners use this phrase to support self-reflection for safety and working memory in daily occupations. The original post was not about the (Amazon affiliate link) Stop and Think Program®. It was updated again on June 5, 2023.

Amazon affiliate links are included in this blog post. As an Amazon Influencer, I earn from qualifying purchases.

stop and think

Stopping to Think before Acting

By taking a moment to pause and reflect, individuals can evaluate the situation, think about alternative courses of action, and choose the most appropriate response.

This practice helps develop self-regulation, emotional intelligence, and the ability to manage impulsive behaviors. It also fosters the development of metacognitive skills, enabling individuals to monitor and evaluate their own thoughts and actions.

By incorporating a stopping and thinking strategy into daily activities, children and individuals of all ages can enhance their executive functioning skills and cultivate a more thoughtful and deliberate approach to their actions.

Occupational therapy uses pause and think strategies for self-reflection

Occupational therapy: A Must to Pause to self-reflect

Occupational therapy practitioners play a vital role in supporting the development of self-regulation skills, including the ability to stopping and thinking before completing daily occupations. These therapy practitioners understand the importance of this skill at every level of development. By helping individuals cultivate this skill, occupational therapists and OTAs enable their clients to engage in daily activities effectively and safely.

Examples of this tool in occupational therapy include:

  • How did I accomplish this task last time? What steps did I take?
  • What did I do well last time I completed this daily task?
  • What did I not do well last time when I completed this task?
  • Before I step into the shower, do I have all of the items I need?
  • Thinking about energy conservation, is there anything else I need to get out of the refrigerator before moving back across the kitchen?
  • When I respond to a friend’s text, what do I want to get across in my message?

Stopping to think before acting allows individuals to utilize their working memory as a tool for completing everyday tasks at home, school, and in the community. Whether it’s a child learning to control impulsive behaviors, a teenager navigating social situations, or an adult managing stress in the workplace, the ability to pause and consider the consequences of actions is critical for successful functioning.

Not only that, but there are other reasons why a quick moment to pause in an activity is so important for completing tasks:

  • Safety
  • Energy conservation
  • Time management
  • Self-awareness
  • Body awareness
  • Stress management
  • Mindfulness
  • Social interactions
  • Behavioral (emotional) responses
  • Behavioral (physical) responses
  • Use of previous successes
  • Non-use of previous trials and errors

Using phrases, like “let’s take a moment to re-group”, or “let’s pause for a moment” are designed to help our clients and patients as a a valuable resource for developing social-emotional skills such as self-regulation and emotional intelligence. One way to target these skills and walk away with a handbook is using the printable executive function worksheets listed at the bottom of the page.

These worksheets are specifically created to enhance working memory, impulse control, and the ability to think before acting. They can be utilized in various activities, games, classroom learning, and everyday tasks.

In conjunction with the Zones of Regulation activities and strategies, these worksheets can effectively assist children in emotional and behavioral regulation.

Included in the worksheet packet are multiple resources to teach children the important skill of pausing and thinking before impulsively acting.

The worksheets that specifically target the ability to self-reflect includes:

  • Red flags indicating a lack of impulse control
  • Thought-provoking questions for children to reflect on
  • Cards that encourage children to pause, think, and then act
  • Tools and strategies for stopping and thinking
  • Daily reward chart
Stop and think strategies

Struggle with stopping and thinking?

Occupational therapy practitioners employ various strategies and interventions to promote self-regulation, empowering individuals to make informed decisions, regulate emotions, and respond appropriately to their environment. Through collaborative efforts, occupational therapy practitioners equip individuals of all ages with the necessary skills to thrive in their daily lives.

Developing executive functioning skills takes time, as these cognitive abilities continue to develop until early adulthood.

It’s natural to encounter issues with impulsivity, foresight, and cognitive flexibility during childhood. By providing age-appropriate opportunities for children to practice stopping and thinking before acting, we can help them enhance their working memory, impulse control, and self-monitoring skills.

These skills are crucial for learning, safety, and social participation.

Recognizing the red flags showing challenges one might have when they struggle with stopping to think can indicate it’s appropriate to address these skills.

As we know, executive functioning skills do not fully develop until early adulthood. This is because the cognitive functioning center of the brain in the frontal lobe continues to develop into the twenties. You can probably think about specific incidents during your young adult years where impulse control, prioritization, planning, inhibition, and other executive functioning skills were not at their prime. You may have made some inappropriate or unwise decisions during those years.

Our children are developing these skills and won’t fully be developed until much later, so it is natural to see issues with impulsivity, foresight, cognitive flexibility and other skills that are inappropriate.

To help children develop these skills on an age-appropriate level, however allows kids to have the working memory for classroom lessons, the impulse control for safety and homework completion, and the self-monitoring skills to not interrupt. All of these skills and abilities take practice, modeling from adults, and repetition.

Pausing to Think Red Flags

When children are given opportunities to practice stopping and thinking before their actions, they have that chance to develop these skills effectively participate in occupations such as learning, self-care, social participation, and within safe environment.

Some examples of red flags include:

  • Displaying impulsive physical behavior
  • Being easily distracted
  • Speaks out or blurts out answers
  • Interrupts others
  • Quits or gives up on tasks, assignments, games, etc.
  • Shoves in lines
  • Cuts in front of others while waiting in lines
  • Jumps up from seat
  • Asks questions about irrelevant topics
  • Shows physical impulses
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Hypo-active behavior
  • Jumps to conclusions
  • Reacts strongly to criticisms
  • Gets sidetracked by strong emotions
  • Personal boundary issues
  • Jumps from one task to another
  • Easily distracted

The worksheet packet provides a comprehensive list of red flags, enabling children to identify situations where they should apply the ability to stop, think to consider their options, and then act or respond to the situation at hand.

Pause to Think Worksheets

The worksheet packet below has been updated to include even more resources targeting self-regulation, impulse control, self-control, working memory, and other executive functioning skills that impact behavioral responses to everyday situations.

In the packet, you’ll find:

  • Impulse Control Red Flag handout
  • Pause to Think list and self-reflection activity
  • Self-reflection cards
  • Tools and resource list to try when one needs to stop for a moment before acting or speaking
  • Problem and solution mind map
  • Think before you speak sheet
  • Social and emotional challenges and functional results
  • Social-emotional observation tool
  • Daily reward chart
  • Emotional regulation and executive functioning skill handouts (6)

This packet of free, printable working memory/self-control activities just got better than ever!

Stop and think printable packet

Self-Reflection Questions

Additionally, the packet includes questions one can ask themselves as they consider their response to a situation. There are self-reflection questions one can ask themselves as a self-regulation tool. Self-reflection is another aspect of development that takes practice to master.

These questions serve as prompts for children to pause and reflect within specific situations, activities, games, or events. They can jot down their answers in the provided writing area and even cut out the questions as visual reminders for future situations.

These questions can also be helpful for adults in addressing mindfulness, emotional regulation, and executive functioning.

There is space to answer the questions in a blank writing area, and you can cut out the questions as a visual model for future situations. Sometimes having that visual prompt listing out the questions is a good prompt for children, teens, and young adults. These stopping to think questions can even be useful for adults to address mindfulness, mindset, emotional regulation, and executive functioning.

One way to expand the activity is using the pausing to think through actions along with our growth mindset sorting activity. Encourage users to stop to think about their response to a potential situation before responding. This particular process supports an understanding of growth mindset mistakes and turning a potential negative situation into a successful one.

This letter to future self is a great activity to look at where one is and where one would like to be as a future version of themselves. Pair that future version with a goal ladder to break down the steps to achieve that version.

The thinking-then acting cards, which can be cut out, allow students to write down their current situation while considering their emotions, behaviors, and the surrounding environment.

The questions on the cards include:

  • What am I supposed to be doing?
  • What am I doing?
  • How do I feel and why?
  • I feel___because____.
  • What might happen?
  • What tools can I use to help myself?

These cards serve as a tangible reminder for individuals to pause and think, and then respond to a given situation.

To make the most of these resources, try incorporating them into activities like executive functioning skills games, engaging activities that target executive functioning, and more.

These strategies may include:

Additionally, the worksheet packet provides a printable page featuring tools to use in the moment after pausing and thinking.

These coping tools encompass sensory input, heavy work, oral motor input, and vestibular movement. They serve to calm and regulate individuals, helping them refocus and reach a calm and alert state. There is also space to personalize the list with specific tools that work for each individual.

These tools, along with the entire worksheet packet, are invaluable in helping children and individuals of all ages stop and think before acting impulsively.

Stopping to to Think Resource

Finally, the last page of the pausing to think worksheets set is a reward chart sheet. This is a visual prompt for achieving goals as a result of stopping and thinking in the moment. This reward chart may not work for every child or every individual using these stop and think strategies, but it is a tool that is available.

Helping kids to set goals for stopping and thinking is so valuable and this reward chart page can be used in that process.

Would you like to use this printable resource in your interventions, home programing, or classroom? You can grab this resource, print it off, and use over and over again.

Simply enter your email address into the form below and the file will be delivered to your inbox. NOTE: Due to increases in email and internet security for those using work email addresses, the email that delivers this file may be blocked. If you typically use an email ending with .edu, .org, .uni, .gov, etc. consider using a personal email address instead for deliverability.

Free Stop to Self-Regulate and Think Worksheets

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    Impulse Control Journal the OT Toolbox

    The Impulse Control Journal…a printable resource for helping kids strategize executive functioning skill development. When saying “calm down” just isn’t enough…

    When a child is easily “triggered” and seems to melt down at any sign of loud noises or excitement…

    When you need help or a starting point to teach kids self-regulation strategies…

    When you are struggling to motivate or redirect a child without causing a meltdown…

    When you’re struggling to help kids explore their emotions, develop self-regulation and coping skills, manage and reflect on their emotions, identify their emotions, and more as they grow…

    Grab the Impulse Control Journal to build organizational strategies, planning, prioritization, habits, and mindset in kids.

    Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to

    Stop and think worksheets for kids to help them with working memory, impulse control and teaching strategies to stop and think before acting.

    Empathy Activities for Kids

    empathy activities for kids

    Many years ago, we made empathy bracelets as one of our favorite empathy activities for kids. Empathy activities like this bracelet craft are easy ways to teach kids about empathy as a foundation for social emotional skills. We made empathy bracelets as a way to develop social-emotional awareness and self-awareness of others and how they feel.  When you use a hands-on activity like this bead activity to teach abstract concepts like empathy, children can stimulate thinking and allow kids to grasp the perspectives of others. Use the empathy beads and the Quick as a Cricket activity idea here to help kids think about others and the world around them.

    empathy activities for kids

    Amazon affiliate links are included in this blog post. As an Amazon Influencer, I earn from qualifying purchases.

    Empathy Activities for Kids

    One fun way to teach kids about empathy is with the children’s book, “Quick as a Cricket”. By using this book about feelings, and a fun activity that can be adjusted to meet the needs of various kids, teaching about feelings and values is meaningful.  

    This book really hits on the self-awareness of a child as they see that each feeling in the book makes up a part of him.  We thought that if this boy is feeling all of these emotions about himself, then others are too! If you are looking for for more activities based on children’s books then we have a lot to share with you!

    Use empathy beads and make an empathy bracelet to teach kids empathy. Its one of many empathy activities to show respect and awareness of other's feelings.  This busy bag activity is based on the book, Quick as a Cricket.

    Activity to teach empathy

    Teaching kids about empathy is important. There are studies that show us that specifically teaching kids about empathy makes a difference. In fact, when we teach kids about empathy in ways that make sense to them (or are meaningful), we may see more positive positive social behaviors, such as sharing. 

    Helping others becomes more meaningful as well. Additionally, research tells us that kids that learn about empathy are less likely to be antisocial or present with uncontrolled aggressive behaviors.   

    Additionally, it’s been said that empathy and perspective taking serve an important role in what  is called prosocial behavior, or helping others, sharing, taking turns, etc.  

    One way to support this awareness of the feelings and needs of others is through serving others. Doing various acts of kindness can teach this skill in a practical and real life way. Check out our list of service ideas for ways to help others while developing empathy.

    After reading the book Quick as a Cricket, (just a few dozen times–this is a book you WILL read over and over again!), we talked about how each of us has many feelings that can be seen in animals.  

    Some of our feelings happen daily, and some not for a while.  Other feelings pair together (feeling small and sad).   

    Kids can have a difficult time with learning to be empathetic.  My kids really got an understanding of empathy as we talked about how other people might feel these feelings and we should be aware.  To take the empathy lesson a bit further, we made Empathy Bracelets with our empathy beads!    

    Empathy Activity

    Today, I have a fun friendship activity that uses a classic children’s book. Kids can struggle with the abstract concept of empathy and the perspectives of others.

    This empathy activity is part of a bigger picture when it comes to empathy skills. When we notice and are aware of how we feel, and how those feelings make us act, we can have sympathy and awareness for others. The first step is to do an emotions check in followed by a feelings check in. While similar, they both play a role in being aware of how we feel and the emotion terms associated with those feelings. We can then reflect on how others might feel when they are in a similar situation.

    This Quick as a Cricket activity will be a hit at your book club play date, or any day!  I loved the simplicity of our activity as it really went well with the simple rhyme of the book’s text.  

    How to teach kids' empathy? Make an empathy bracelet with empathy beads to show respect and awareness of other's feelings.  This busy bag activity is based on the book, Quick as a Cricket.

      This post contains affiliate links.  

    To discuss and learn more about empathy, we used just a few items. First, we read the book, Quick as a Cricket, (affiliate link) by Audrey Wood.   If you haven’t read this classic book, it’s one you definitely want to find!  

    The boy in the book discovers the characteristics of animals make up parts of himself.  The book has simple rhyming words and captures children’s attention.  It’s a great book to discuss self-awareness and feelings that make up all of us.  

    Quick as a Cricket activity for kids. Make a bead bracelet and talk about empathy, acceptance, and perspectives of others.

    Empathy Bracelets

    You’ll need just two items to make empathy bracelets with kids:

    1. Pipe cleaners
    2. Beads
    How to teach kids' empathy? Make an empathy bracelet with empathy beads to show respect and awareness of other's feelings.  This busy bag activity is based on the book, Quick as a Cricket.

    We grabbed a handful of colorful pipe cleaners.

    To make our empathy bracelets, we used a bunch of different colored beads. (affiliate link) Some of the beads were different shapes and sizes, and that fit in perfectly with our empathy talks.  

    People come in different shapes and sizes but we all have the same feelings inside!  

    To create the Quick as a Cricket (affiliate link) activity, I used our snap and stack (affiliate link) containers.  This worked great as a busy bag storage system so the kids could create bead bracelets whenever they wished as a quiet activity.  

    How to teach kids' empathy? Make an empathy bracelet with empathy beads to show respect and awareness of other's feelings.  This busy bag activity is based on the book, Quick as a Cricket.


    Before making the empathy bracelets, we read through the book once more.  

    We looked at each of the animals and talked about their color and found a bead that went along with the animal.  

    We discussed the feeling or description of the animal and how we sometimes show those feelings.  

    Then we made our bracelets.  It was fun to see how each of my kids made their bracelets differently.  One just plucked the beads from the bin and said the feeling that went along with that color.  

    Another flipped through the book and matched up beads to the animal.  

    Each empathy bracelet is different as it is made by a different child.  But, they all mean the same thing; they represent the feelings that we all share!  

    When you make these empathy bracelets, you could pull out colors to match the animals or feelings, or you could just let the child create as they wish.  It is completely up to you!    

    You can talk about empathy and kindness in many ways using activities with kids.  Mine loved this Little Blue and Little Yellow book activity to promote kindness, too.   

    Kids will love to wear their bracelets and fiddle with the beads.  As they fidget with the individual beads, they can remember the feeling that is associated with that bead.  They might see someone who is having a bad day and recognize the emotion.    

    Encourage empathetic respect of other’s feelings even when your child is not feeling that same way.  You can explain that not everyone has the same beads or colors of beads on their bracelet (or might not be wearing a bracelet!) but they still have those feelings and emotions inside of them.    

    How to teach kids' empathy? Make an empathy bracelet with empathy beads to show respect and awareness of other's feelings.  This busy bag activity is based on the book, Quick as a Cricket.

    Empathy Activities for Kids

    For fun and hands-on empathy activities for kids, grab our social emotional skills resource, Exploring Books Through Play: 50 Activities based on Books About Friendship, Acceptance, and Empathy, that explores friendship, acceptance, and empathy through popular (and amazing) children’s books!  It’s 50 hands-on activities that use math, fine motor skills, movement, art, crafts, and creativity to support social emotional development.    

    • Use plastic eggs to work on empathy by writing various scenarios on strips of paper. Kids can open an egg and state how they would feel in the scenario. This is a great group activity.
    • Use dolls and puppets. Act out scenarios and record the story on a phone or tablet. Kids can re-watch and describe the various feelings and how the characters felt and acted. 
    • For kids with autism, modeling, prompting, and reinforcement are strategies that can help.
    • Read books! These chapter books that teach empathy are great for the older kids or using as read-aloud books with the whole family. They are great ways to spark conversations about empathy. 
    • Writing about Friendship Slide Deck – writing prompts, writing letters to friends, and handwriting activities to develop friendship skills, all on a free interactive Google slide deck.
    • Create a social story about specific events or tasks that involve other individuals. This can create options for the individual to use during a task and can help when there may be unexpected situations to navigate that lead to feelings of anxiety or worries leading up to a social situation or activity.

    • Children can benefit from perspectives of others, including through personal space. Use this Personal Space Friendship Skills Slide Deck as a tool to address body awareness and personal space among others. Friendship involves allowing personal space, and body awareness and all of this is part of the social skill development that some kids struggle with. Use this free Google slide deck to work on body awareness and personal space.
    • Here are five simple activities to teach empathy to preschoolers.
    • Pretend play is a wonderful way to teach empathy to young children. You can do this as an adult directed activity, through puppets or assigning roles to children during large group times. Encouraging a child child to be sad for a specific reason and having another child take care of them, will help children learn body language of others. 
    • Emotion activities that are available to complete on a daily basis, help children learn how to name different feelings in themselves and identify those feelings in others.
    • Friendship activities such as these friendship activities.
    • Using Book-related play activities- This digital download contains 50 hands-on, multi-sensory play-centered activities for anyone helping kids learn about friendship, acceptance, empathy, compassion, and differences in others. These activities encourage cooperation, negotiation and communication through play.
    Use this Quick as a Cricket activity to teach kids about feelings. It's a fun hands-on empathy activity for kids.

    More Quick as a Cricket Activities

    Expand on the empathy activities with other Quick as a Cricket activities that involve play and movement. First, pick up the book, Quick as a Cricket. (affiliate link) Then use the empathy beads activity here along with these functional activities to inspire development:

    Quick as a Cricket Snack from Craftulate can get kids busy in the kitchen building skills like executive functioning and fine motor skills.

    Quick as a Cricket Sensory Play from Still Playing School includes play and sensory based learning.

    Quick as a Cricket Art from Fun-a-Day inspires fine motor skills and motor development.

    hands-on activities to explore social emotional development through children's books.

    References on empathy skills

    Schrandt, J. A., Townsend, D. B., & Poulson, C. L. (2009). Teaching empathy skills to children with autism. Journal of applied behavior analysis42(1), 17–32. doi:10.1901/jaba.2009.42-17  

    What is Empathy?

    Empathy is the development of care for others. When I was young, my mom always told me to say “I’m sorry” when I was in a conflict with my cousin. Sometimes I didn’t feel sorry (after all, he’s the one that took the ninja turtle from me first,) but I did what I was told. After a while, saying “I’m sorry” felt repetitive with no actual meaning behind it. 

    Instead of teaching children to say “I’m sorry,” what would happen if we helped our kids understand how another person is feeling, and respond with care for that person’s feelings. This is called empathy. 

    Empathy Development in Kids

    Did you know the ability to use and practice empathy in everyday situations is not a born skill and that there are actually specific and defined stages of empathy development? It’s true!

    There is real power to the development of empathy in the first five years of a child’s life. Not only do children need to understand who they are as a person, but how others feel. Empathy isn’t something that can be forced on a child, but it is something they can become familiar with and understand through adult support and play based activities. 

    stages of empathy development

    Here, we are covering the stages of empathy development and some activities that preschoolers can participate in, to understand and practice empathy. 

    Empathy is a complex skill that is learned over time.

    From the time a child is born, they open their eyes and notice that they aren’t the only being! There’s mom, dad, nurses and they all do everything possible to get the baby’s needs met. As a child grows, they are introduced to siblings, cousins, peers and other adults. Every interaction a child has, provides them with opportunities to understand social structure and engagement. 

    According to this article by Professor Martin L. Hoffman, the main theorist on the development of empathy in childhood, “there must be parallelism of feelings and affections with thoughts, moral principles, and behavioral tendencies.”

    “ First stage (global empathy)

    It comprises the first year of a person’s life and consists of the fact that the child does not yet perceive others as different from himself. For this reason, the pain that he perceives in the other is confused with his own unpleasant feelings, as if it were happening to himself. For example, the baby who, on seeing his mother crying, dries his own eyes.

    Second stage (egocentric empathy)

    It corresponds to the second year of life, and the child is aware that it is the other person who is going through the unpleasant situation. However, she assumes that the internal states experienced by the other person are being felt by herself.

    Third stage of the child’s development of empathy (empathy for the feelings of others)

    It runs from the second to the third year. The child is aware that the feelings he experiences are different from those of the other person, and is able to respond to them in a non-self-centered way. At this point, she is already in a position to understand that the other person’s intentions and needs differ from her own and, therefore, that person’s emotions may also differ from her own. Thus, for example, she becomes able to console.

    Fourth Stage (empathy for the life condition of others)

    It comprises the final period of childhood. The feelings of others are perceived not only as reactions of the moment, but also as expressions of their general life experience. That is, they respond differently to transitory and chronic states of pain, since they take into consideration the general condition of the other.”

    How to support empathy development in each stage

    Ages 0–12 Months:  Supporting strong, secure attachments in infants, is essential at this age. As children learn that others are understanding how they are feeling, and are supported by getting their needs met, babies learn that their emotions and feelings can be understood by other, even before they can talk. 

    Ages 1–3 years: To help toddlers develop empathy, describe their feelings to them, and the feelings of others around them. This is helpful when they are engaging in play with other kids, as toddlers have a harder time managing their emotions. For example, “When Sandy was sad, it was so nice that you gave her some ice to help her leg feel better.” 

    Ages 3–5 years: In the preschool years, children are learning how to respond to their feelings and the feelings of others. Adults can support empathy development by asking open ended questions and providing concrete ways for children to calm down and express their feelings. Through using emotional tools such as pretend play-based activities, children are able to regulate their feelings and learn how to communicate their needs to others.

    A 6 year old boy recently saw his 3 year old brother become upset because he couldn’t climb as high on the play structure. The 6 year old could use toys to help his brother and asked him if he needed help calming down. Once calm, his brother helped his 3 year old get a step stool so he could reach the rung on the bottom of the play structure. 

    The social and emotional measures in this preschool rating scale, includes empathy goals for children ages 19 months and up. As empathy development becomes a focus in Early Childhood and essential for Kindergarten readiness, teachers and parents are looking for more easy to teach empathy through play. 

    A final note on empathy

    Empathy is something that isn’t taught to children, but a skill developed over time. Starting with strong, positive attachments in early childhood. When children have the opportunities to practice developing their social skills by being provided a variety of opportunities to engage in play throughout early childhood, their empathy grows exponentially.

    Adults can support the development of empathy in early childhood by asking open ended questions, creating opportunities for children to practice developing friendships through play, and providing children with concrete ways to respond to big feelings in themselves and others. 

    Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to

    Self-Reflection Activities

    self reflection activities

    In this blog post, we are addressing self-reflection activities as a tool to support self-understanding, self-awareness, and personal insight. In young children, this is a challenge that progresses as development occurs. But for some, the personal perspective becomes an area of frustration when empathy, executive functioning, and the ability to self-evaluate is a challenge. Challenges in the ability to self-reflect impact functional performance, social emotional skills, and learning. Let’s cover self-reflection activities and specific self-awareness exercises as a tool for development and personal growth.

    self reflection activities

    Self-Reflection Activities

    Self reflection leads to growth.  Without looking back at failures and successes, growth is inhibited. If you are one of the few who are actually perfect in every way, you can stop reading.  For the rest of the world, read on.  The start of a new year often brings bouts of goal setting and self reflection.  


    Self-reflection is a tool that kids and adults can benefit from. Reflecting on one’s actions and behaviors is a great way to grow as an individual and to meet personal goals. Think about a time you’ve set a personal goal. Maybe you wanted to start exercising and lose a few pounds.

    By self-reflecting on a day’s events, you can determine what worked in meeting your goal and what didn’t work. You can intentionally put a finger on the parts of your day that helped you meet your goal of going to the gym and what stood in the way of eating healthy meals.

    Self-reflection is essential for goal-setting! Most of these occupational therapy activities are free or inexpensive ways to address self-reflection in kids.

    Whether this is the start of a school year, or the turning of the calendar to a new year, self reflection activities and resolutions begin to surface.  For some, self reflection comes naturally, searching for meaning, purpose, and ways to become a better person.  Others find reflection difficult.  

    This post is full of self reflection activities to spark conversation, goal setting, and prompt growth.

    It has been said that the first stage of recovery or change, is to recognize there is a problem.  

    Many people are unable or unwilling to change because they do not believe there is a problem.  Becoming aware takes a lot of self reflection.  

    People need to recognize the skills they have, and those they are lacking.  They need to keep an open mind about who they are and where they are going. 

    These self-reflection activities can be a vehicle for helping kids to address areas of functioning in several areas. Improving self-reflection can help kids with self-regulation, knowing what coping strategies to pull out of their toolbox, how to act with impulse control, how to better pay attention, how to improve executive functioning skills, and how to function more easily. It’s the ability to stop and think before acting or responding, based on internal knowledge and experiences.

    Additionally, self-reflection pays a part in mindfulness. If we are practicing attentiveness in the moment and attending to internal and external experiences, we can self-reflect on what worked, what didn’t work, and how to make things work better next time.

    Self-reflection can be so helpful in social-emotional skills, academic learning, functional task completion, organization, and well-being! An awareness of self and the impact one’s own actions has on others is part of the stages of empathy development, too.

    According to Dean Graziosi, New York Times best selling author, “Self-awareness is the ability to understand your thoughts, emotions and core values, as well as realize how these elements impact your behavior. It requires emotional intelligence, and it’s about objectively evaluating yourself and aligning your actions with your internal standards.  To be self-aware is to be able to realistically assess your strengths and weaknesses while maintaining a positive mindset. It’s the ability to judge where you are in life, determine where you would like to be and set goals to achieve your vision.”

    To become self-aware, you must be able to:

    • See yourself honestly, flaws and all
    • Identify and control your emotions
    • Realize your strengths and weaknesses
    • Take strides toward growth – having a growth mindset helps

    One tool for supporting awareness of emotions in general is by doing an emotions check in where the student (or any one, this can be done at any age), identifies how they feel and what their emotions are based on the situation, setting, and triggers. Another tool which is similar but different, is the feelings check in.

    Self-Reflection Activities for Kids

    One of the first steps in raising self-reflection to to help kids be more self-aware. They can use tools to improve mindfulness to notice how they feel, how the react, or how they behave. Most kids will struggle with this ability in the moment (It’s tough for adults, too!) but they can identify what worked and what didn’t work in a particular situation through conversation.

    Using self-control strategies like the Zones of Regulation can be helpful in talking about feelings and self-awareness.

    Explore along with the child. When a child is playing or exploring their environment, it can be helpful to play right along with them. Use play experiences to communicate through play.

    Use play experiences to mirror actions. When a child is playing, play right along with them! Mimic their actions and words to be more aware as a caregiver of the details of a child’s interactions and to bring awareness for the child. Use this tactic only when the child is in a positive mood. Mirrored actions should not be completed when a child is behaving poorly or to bring attention to behaviors.

    Reflect on the day as a family. Plan a family meeting and talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly of the day. It’s a good way to talk about ways to work on areas of need.

    Create a Choice Collection. Come up with options that include coping strategies or tools to use in different environments. These could be part of a sensory diet or self-regulation strategies.

    Work on impulse control. The impulse control journal can help.

    Use a journal to self-reflect through words or drawings.

    Act out situations and how the situation played out. Consider adding dolls or toys for characters in the situations.

    Model appropriate behaviors and self-reflection through conversation.

    The sensory-based strategies outlined in The Sensory Lifestyle Handbook can be a beneficial tool for addressing self-reflection in kids.

    Executive Functioning Skills

    Positive Self-Talk for Kids

    Impulse Control Strategies

    Finally, try some of these self awareness games to build skills through game-playing.

    reflection about personal development

    Children, teens, and adults of all ages develop in different ways. It’s said that we never stop learning, and this is true at every age and stage. Through learning experiences, there is either success or failure, with some level in the middle. This development occurs whether learning a new skill, trying something new, or trying a new way of doing something. 

    When there is learning, there is personal development. 

    As participants in an activity, we can utilize self-awareness skills to monitor successes or challenges that lead to goal achievement. 

    We can use that information to identify areas of need, or specific areas that we need to try again in a different way. 

    This allows us to create a feedback analysis of sorts that supports further growth in an area. 

    Some ways to reflect on personal development include tactics that are used for self-awareness and goal achievement. These strategies are types of reflection exercises and include:

    • Self-talk
    • Monitoring progress
    • Goal mind maps
    • Goal ladders
    • Identifying next steps
    • Talking with others for constructive feedback
    • Addressing negative feedback


    Self-reflection activities are not just focused on the negative perspective.

    There is a certain stigma to self reflection activities that they are just focusing on the negative things that need to change.  There is positive self reflection also.  What did you do well that you need to encourage yourself to keep doing?  What did you learn that will be a great asset to your skillset?

    Positive self reflection takes as much practice as reflection for growth.

    Theoretically is your glass half full or empty?  Do your learners search for problems, look for drama, or doubt themselves?  By answering these questions we can come up with tools to support habits that our learners might be challenged with. Self-awareness activities are strategies to support self-reflection.

    Encourage positive self reflection by trying some of the following activities: 

    • Write three positive things about yourself each day
    • Journal about positive experiences
    • Practice acts of kindness
    • Don’t compare yourself to others, solely reflect on your own abilities
    • Start a gratitude journal along with various gratitude activities
    • Ask yourself self reflection questions
    • Positive self talk activities for kids
    • I am….- learners write positive statements starting with “I am”
    • Post positive affirmations around the room, class, social media, or wherever it helps to self reflect on positive thoughts and actions
    • Teach learners to flip a negative into a positive – I am bad at math, could be turned into I am a great reader, or I can count to 1000
    • Use a mirror for positive self talk – practice affirming while looking at yourself
    • Create a positive self talk morning ritual – The Miracle Morning is a powerful resource


    Everyone has room for growth. Some have the personality type that limits self-reflection and personal awareness, while others have a stream of consciousness that easily enables self-reflection. We are all unique individuals, and these different types of traits are totally ok!

    I bet the number one athletes in the Olympics believe there is room for growth.  Practice does not make perfect, it makes it better.  When I am evaluating students, I often start by asking them why they think I am seeing them.  Most of them have some idea, even if they have no idea what Occupational Therapy is.  That is my jumping off point.  I find out what they believe to be their weaknesses and strengths, and go from there.  They may not be accurate, but it is their belief, so it can be shaped.  

    • The key to shaping beliefs and setting goals is to set measurable ones.  The acronym SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timebound.  
    • Use metrics and data to gather correct information about skills and deficits
    • Learners who have an unrealistic view of themselves, may need counseling to work through this.  Body dysmorphia is one such example.  People suffering from BD see flaws that no one else sees.  They set unrealistic expectations and goals for themselves trying to reach an imaginary goal
    • Teach The Power of Yet – I may not be the best chess player YET.  I could be with more practice and instruction
    • Ask useful questions – create writing prompts starting with key questions:
      • What am I afraid of?
      • I struggle when . . .
      • One of the most important things I learned was . . .
      • Being myself is hard because . . .
      • I wish I were more . . .
    • Letter to future self – what would your learners tell their future self?
    • Create a realistic self view – while some learners feel they are all bad, others feel they are amazing.  It seems counterintuitive, but the second group will need some help to realize everyone has growth potential.  Gently shape these learners to also see their weaknesses as well as their strengths without squelching their self confidence
    • Take a step back – electronics spoon feed information, making it readily available.   The answers are just a click away.  While this is great in some ways, it is not teaching self control, reflection, and the power of doing nothing
    • Utilize the individual’s passions as a vehicle for addressing self-awareness. If they have a hobby or skill where they are successful, how did they learn the ability to complete aspects of that skill? How did they accomplish goals? How would they support another learner who is at the beginning of this skill learning? Sometimes when shifting the perspective to a teaching role, we can all use creativity in supporting self-reflection skills. 
    • Focus on emotional vocabulary as a tool to support students’ reflections of themselves, whether they are looking at personal achievements in a positive light or a negative light. This is an important skill to encourage, as we all have moments of doubt and moments of high confidence and assurance. Emotional learning is one tool in the toolbelt for supporting self-reflection in daily functional tasks.

    A FINAL THOUGHT on self-reflection activities

    Mindfulness is not new, but it has resurfaced as people have forgotten how to slow down.  Monks have been using this technique for centuries.  They can sit for an entire day doing and thinking nothing.  They are able to clear their mind for hours.  I have tried this and can make it about 30 seconds before my mind is racing.  It even races while I sleep.  Self reflection takes the same discipline and focus to make it meaningful.  

    As with anything new and different, change takes time and practice.  The act of self reflection itself, can be your first goal!

    Use these self-reflection activities for kids to help kids reflect on behaviors and identify coping skills or self-regulation strategies that work in the home or classroom.

    Impulse Control Journal the OT Toolbox

    The Impulse Control Journal…a printable resource for helping kids strategize executive functioning skill development. When saying “calm down” just isn’t enough…

    When a child is easily “triggered” and seems to melt down at any sign of loud noises or excitement…

    When you need help or a starting point to teach kids self-regulation strategies…

    When you are struggling to motivate or redirect a child without causing a meltdown…

    When you’re struggling to help kids explore their emotions, develop self-regulation and coping skills, manage and reflect on their emotions, identify their emotions, and more as they grow…

    Grab the Impulse Control Journal to build organizational strategies, planning, prioritization, habits, and mindset in kids.

    Types of self control

    Types of self control

    Did you know there are several types of self-control that impact the way we act, behave, speak, and move? These types of control impact how we learn, communicate with others, and function in our daily tasks. There is more to self control than controlling impulses and self-regulation. Understanding these various differences can make a difference in learning how to stop and think, and gain self control in daily occupations.

    In this article, we will break down what the components and types of self-control are, and provide you options on how to improve this important skill. 

    Types of self control


    Before we can dive into each type of self-control, let’s define it at its basic level. 

    The definition of self-control is a component of inhibitory control, and refers to the ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behavior based on and as a result of external and internal temptations and impulses. Self-control is an executive function and is a cognitive process that is necessary for regulating one’s behavior in order to achieve specific goals.

    Break down of Self-control: 

    An executive function that gives the…
    Ability to regulate emotions, thoughts, and behaviors…
    With consideration for temptations and impulses…
    In order to achieve goals.


    Although different sources may describe self-control in different ways, most can agree on 3 types of self-control. 

    Impulse control is one type of self-control

    1. Impulse Control

    Impulse control requires conscious thought, weighing the pros and cons of potential actions and their outcomes. For young children, this is nearly impossible. As we grow and the areas of the brain associated with executive function (the prefrontal cortex) develop, this ability becomes more accessible.  

    It is believed that the prefrontal cortex does not develop until age 24-30. Now you understand why teenagers and college students are so impulsive!

    Poor Impulse Control

    Impulsivity, or acting before thinking, is caused by a lack of impulse control. In children, this may be seen as over-eating preferred foods, blurting out answers in class, interrupting others, or acting out in aggression.

    More about what impulse control is here! Additionally, these impulse control strategies will get you started on addressing this area.

    Emotional control is one type of self-control
    1. Emotional Control

    Everyone feels varied emotions, regardless of age or status. Adults may want to scream and stomp their feet when something does not go their way, but they are able to stop themselves, as such actions would be inappropriate. In fact, they are most often able to stop inappropriate actions, and choose the appropriate emotional response. 

    Emotional control is the result of a collaboration in the brain. Emotional intelligence and instincts are formed in the amygdala, then the prefrontal cortex controls what behaviors will exhibited. As with impulse control, young children will need time and education, in order to use their thinking brains to stop and control their emotional behaviors.  

    Poor Emotional Control

    Tantrums, sudden aggression, screaming, or crying uncontrollably, are all examples of  poor emotional control. Usually it is young people who struggle with poor emotional control. Some adults, particularly those with mental health conditions, may also have limited emotional control. 

    When emotional control is limited, actions may be driven by emotions, not logic. Negative outcomes, that jeopardize health and safety, may ensue. 

    Motor control is one type of self-control
    1. Movement Control 

    Movement control, also known in the literature as physical control, is one of the lesser known aspects of self-control. This type of self control is exactly as the name implies; it is the way in which we control the movement of our bodies. 

    The OT Toolbox covers the impact of poor self-control and resulting behavior, in this resource titled attention and behavior. The blog covers safety issues such as darting into a parking lot, touching a hot stove, and other movement related self-control situations.

    Good movement control may be observed when a child sits upright at their desk, quietly, without extraneous movements, clearly ready to learn. Many people in organized sports also have good movement control, as they practice drills, and coordinate their bodies in order to meet a common goal. 

    Poor Movement Control 

    Uncontrolled movement, hyperactivity, accidentally crashing into objects or people, and poor handwriting, may be associated with a lack of movement control. Having some wiggles before recess, then being able to sit still afterwards, does not pose an issue for most. In fact, it is pretty typical to need movement breaks throughout the day. 

    When a lack of movement control causes a child to be unable to complete schoolwork, be a part of a team in gym class, safety concerns, or safely move about the community or playground, intentionally crashing into others, hitting, biting, etc., it becomes more concerning. 


    All children should be taught self-control. It is not something that they just inherently “know”. It is a complicated subject, that requires positive adult modeling, education, and of course, practice! 

    The OT Toolbox has tons of great posts on the types of self control and its impact:

    Do you think that self-control should be taught in schools? There is already so much on our educators’ to-do list, but this one may be worth integrating.

    Here’s why: Self-control is integral to the ability to learn and apply knowledge, but it is also important to a healthy social life, too!

    Types of self-control information handout

    Free Handout: Types of Self-Control

    Education supports advocacy! The information in this blog has been created into a handy handout, designed for advocacy and education on the types of self-control. These aspects of executive functioning are not always connected as an executive functioning skill, so that’s where this handout comes into the picture.

    Want a copy to add to your therapy toolbox? Enter your email address below. You’ll receive a copy in your email inbox.

    This resource is also available inside The OT Toolbox Member’s Club. Members can easily access this printable as well as all of the other of free downloads on the site. No need to enter your email address for each one. Simply head to the dashboard page, go to the Educational Handouts toolbox, and print and go!

    Free Handout: Types of Self-Control

      We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

      Sydney Thorson, OTR/L, is a new occupational therapist working in school-based therapy. Her
      background is in Human Development and Family Studies, and she is passionate about
      providing individualized and meaningful treatment for each child and their family. Sydney is also
      a children’s author and illustrator and is always working on new and exciting projects.

      Impulse Control Journal the OT Toolbox

      The Impulse Control Journal…a printable resource for helping kids strategize executive functioning skill development. When saying “calm down” just isn’t enough…

      When a child is easily “triggered” and seems to melt down at any sign of loud noises or excitement…

      When you need help or a starting point to teach kids self-regulation strategies…

      When you are struggling to motivate or redirect a child without causing a meltdown…

      When you’re struggling to help kids explore their emotions, develop self-regulation and coping skills, manage and reflect on their emotions, identify their emotions, and more as they grow…

      Grab the Impulse Control Journal to build organizational strategies, planning, prioritization, habits, and mindset in kids.

      Executive Function Activities (at the Beach!)

      executive function activities

      Executive functioning development is partly learning through experience, and partly trial and error. But did you know you could foster powerful executive function activities through everyday experiences? Here, we’re chatting how to foster executive functioning skills through play…and even at the beach! Add these ideas to improve executive functioning skills this summer.

      Executive function activities don't need to be boring. Use these executive function activities at the beach or while on vacation.

      Heading out of town on vacation to the beach soon? Check out these cool ways to work on executive functioning while you’re there! Once you get back, get to work on these seashell souvenirs!

      Looking for engaging executive functioning activities doesn’t need a trip to the beach. Some of these ideas can be set up in your own backyard. But, if you are going on a vacation or trip this summer, why not use it to foster development of skills through executive functioning activities?

      Executive Functioning Activities: Planning and Prioritizing for a Vacation

      Trips to the beach can be a great opportunity for families to enjoy some time away! They can also be a fun way to integrate some therapy. Sensory processing, motor skills, executive functioning—the options are endless! Sensory processing and motor skills might seem more obvious than executive functioning. Let’s take a deeper look at a few popular activities at the beach and how they can use executive functioning!

      You can start working on executive functioning even before you leave for the trip! These are excellent ways to work on planning and prioritization skills. Especially important in planning for a vacation is the prioritization aspect: when to pack, when to set aside time to wash necessary clothing, making the time to plan out a trip and make reservations can all impact the success of a vacation.

      • Have your child look up the forecast
      • Work on creating a packing list
      • Schedule time to gather needed items
      • Work together to organize vacation items into available bags.

      This can be a great way to get them involved! It also challenges their ability to delay gratification, as they will need to wait until it is time to go, even if that is a few days away. Time management will also be necessary so that packing doesn’t take all day!

      Executive Function Activities: Build Sandcastles

      Kids love building sandcastles! This activity requires a lot of executive functioning skills.

      A child needs to use impulse control so that no one gets sand thrown in their eyes and to avoid the castle from being smashed prior to completion.

      The child also needs to develop a plan and organize their ideas prior to or as they build in order to get the product they would like.

      They need to recall where they put their shovels or buckets, as well as sequence multiple components as they build.

      They also need to problem solve, as the sand might not be their desired consistency! Sandcastles—a great, complex way to work on executive functioning!

      Executive Function Activities: Skipping Stones

      Remember trying to skip stones during calm days on the water? This is another great way to integrate the use of executive functioning skills.

      Stones need to meet specific criteria in order to be the best candidates. Or, this can become an area for problem solving or making predictions (foresight) to see what type of stone might skip best.

      Certainly, there is a significant amount of impulse control needed in order to ensure safety of others in the area! Work on emotional control through contests of who gets their stone the farthest, especially if a child has difficulty losing.

      Don’t have the motor planning or coordination to skip stones? No problem! Toss stones into a pool of water instead.

      Boogie boards/knee surfing Executive Function Activity

      Boogie boarding or knee surfing can be another activity to work on executive functioning in a hidden way! A child needs to plan their motor movements before they take place, as well as consider timing of waves. Safety awareness will also be important, along with persistence, since this can be a challenging activity!

      The beach is a great way to work on a variety of developmental skills, whether sensory processing, motor skills, or executive functioning! Enjoy some of these activities on your upcoming trip and enjoy the benefits of the beach!

      Impulse Control Journal the OT Toolbox

      The Impulse Control Journal…a printable resource for helping kids strategize executive functioning skill development. When saying “calm down” just isn’t enough…

      When a child is easily “triggered” and seems to melt down at any sign of loud noises or excitement…

      When you need help or a starting point to teach kids self-regulation strategies…

      When you are struggling to motivate or redirect a child without causing a meltdown…

      When you’re struggling to help kids explore their emotions, develop self-regulation and coping skills, manage and reflect on their emotions, identify their emotions, and more as they grow…

      Grab the Impulse Control Journal to build organizational strategies, planning, prioritization, habits, and mindset in kids.

      Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to

      Improve Executive Functioning Skills this Summer

      improve executive functioning skills this summer

      Summer is coming! And, I have some fun ways to improve executive functioning skills during the summer months, while the kids are on a break from school. Working on executive functioning doesn’t need to involve boring projects, long checklists, or tedious tasks that make the kids run. These executive functioning activities can help to improve the skills that translate to better planning, prioritization, and staying on task during day-to-day functional tasks and when back in the classroom.

      How to Improve Executive Functioning Skills This Summer

      When school ends for the year, we can all have wonderful intentions of a great summer filled with enriching activities to continue our student’s growth. Sometimes, that means having plans that are hard to achieve. Sometimes, that means having absolutely no plans, but then realizing this is a bit too unstructured!

      Whatever camp you are in, a middle ground is a more attainable place to be. Check out these ways to work on executive functioning skills this summer.

      Under each activity idea below, you’ll find strategies to improve executive functioning skills. Use these tips to work on areas like:

      • Planning
      • Prioritization
      • Organization
      • Task Completion
      • Attention
      • Working memory

      Then, when children see success that they’ve made in fun and meaningful tasks, they can carry those skills over to other tasks. Be sure to point out hard work, worthy attempts, and small successes. This auditory input can help to get a point to stick later down the road.

      Get started with some fun summer games. Planning a weekly game night with the family can get this on the calendar and make game playing an event. Think about even adding themes or special fun snacks to the game night events.

      Interest Based Occupations to Work on Executive Functions

      Occupational therapists use meaningful occupations (or the tasks that occupy one’s time) as a therapeutic tool to improve independence, functioning, safety, and meaning in one’s life. The use of motivating interests play a strong role in building essential executive functioning skills, too!

      Use your child’s interests to improve executive functioning that carries over to less preferred activities (like school, homework, and even chores).

      Whatever your child’s leisure interests, there is likely an easy way to integrate executive functioning growth opportunities!

      sports to work on executive functioning skills

      Do you have a budding athlete in your family?

      • Have them set up a tournament for your family or neighborhood: create the brackets (requires planning and organizing, working memory, and initiation)
      • Winning/losing (requires emotional regulation and impulse control)
      • Create the court or field (planning and organizing, organization of materials)

      Art to work on executive functioning skills

      How about your budding artist? There are so many fun summer-themed crafts for all ages!

      • Have your child think flexibly about different materials they can use, especially if you do not have all of the items needed to make a certain masterpiece!
      • Plan projects
      • Set a completion date and write out steps with small goals that need to be achieved before the next step can be accomplished
      • Use a large project such as a mural, pottery, or painting garden planters to expand executive functioning development over weeks or months

      Reading to work on executive functioning skills

      Have a bookworm?

      • A summer book club could be fun! They could create a plan for each club meeting, including creating the invitations and agenda, working on their skills of initiation, time management, planning and organizing, and working memory.
      • Mark off on a calendar when library books need to be returned
      • Schedule time daily for reading and make it relaxing: a book picnic in the yard, taking books to the park, or reading under twinkle lights can be fun and interesting, and all need to be planned out with thinking ahead.

      Chores to Improve Executive Functioning Skills

      Summer is a great time to start integrating family chores without the pressure of starting a new routine in the middle of a school year. Activities like cooking and recycling are approachable for many ages.

      Cooking to work on executive Function

      Find a recipe that works for your family’s ages, needs, and foods. Then, to work on executive function, try some of these tips:

      If cooking is something that you would like to try with kids, be sure to pick out a recipe that is motivating to the child. Here are tons of cooking with kids recipe ideas.

      1. Break up the recipe into the planning stages, the executing stages, and the eating stages!
      2. With each step of the recipe (including preparation and clean-up), assign different family members different jobs, like making the list (while giving them 3 steps to remember and write down for a working memory challenge).
      3. Work on planning and prioritization by estimating when each step will need to start for more complex recipes (time management).
      4. Think about the items and recipe ingredients that are needed as well as steps of the process, including smaller tasks like emptying the sink or dishwasher after you finish cooking (organization of materials).

      Recycling to work on executive function

      Take the opportunity to teach your children about recycling. Here are tips to use recycling as an opportunity to build specific executive functions:

      1. Can they identify what items should go in the garbage versus the recycling (working memory)?
      2. Can they initiate and show impulse control in this task, such as taking the extra steps to the recycling bin, rather than just throwing that can in the garbage?
      3. Use a calendar to mark off the day when recycling materials should be collected and the bin taken to the curb or recycling center.
      4. Use a list to identify materials that can be recycled.

      Summer Learning and Executive Functioning Skills

      While neither a strong academic focus nor a lack of academic focus tends to be the best for any child, there are ways to integrate academics into the more relaxed environment of summer activities.

      Have some sidewalk chalk? Work on sight words (both from previous grade and the soon-to-be grade), letter formation, math problems, you name it!

      If slime is still a trend in your house, find a good recipe and have your child use their executive functioning skills to complete and reflect on the creation. What went well? What did they struggle with or would they change?

      Make a ninja or obstacle course! This takes incredible amounts of executive functioning skills: initiation, shifting, impulse control (“No, Johnny, it probably would not be best to put that plank on top of the playground as a launchpad.”), emotional control/failure tolerance, time management, working memory, planning and organizing, and organization of materials.

      Have fun this summer, stay safe, and keep the growth going!

      Impulse Control Journal the OT Toolbox

      The Impulse Control Journal…a printable resource for helping kids strategize executive functioning skill development. When saying “calm down” just isn’t enough…

      When a child is easily “triggered” and seems to melt down at any sign of loud noises or excitement…

      When you need help or a starting point to teach kids self-regulation strategies…

      When you are struggling to motivate or redirect a child without causing a meltdown…

      When you’re struggling to help kids explore their emotions, develop self-regulation and coping skills, manage and reflect on their emotions, identify their emotions, and more as they grow…

      Grab the Impulse Control Journal to build organizational strategies, planning, prioritization, habits, and mindset in kids.

      Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to

      Impulse Control Worksheets

      impulse control worksheets

      This past week, I’ve shared a few impulse control resources and these impulse control resources are just one more tool to add to the toolbox! I wanted to pull out a few of the helpful controlling impulsive behavior worksheets from The Impulse Control Journal to share with you. Use these in isolation, or grab the whole 80 page packet to use to help with areas such as habits, mindset, goal setting, and focusing on addressing impulsive behaviors that impact learning, social emotional learning, and more.

      When we equip our clients, students, and patients to stop and think, they can use tactics and cognitive strategies that work to ensure success in daily functional tasks.

      Free impulse control worksheets to help kids and teens with impulse control skills.

      Impulse Control Worksheets

      These free impulse control worksheets are just a snippet of the materials you’ll find in the Impulse Control Journal.

      Included in this sample pack are 5 pages:

      • When is Impulse Control Hard
      • What Does Impulse Control Look Like Worksheet
      • BIG Emotions Journal Writing Page
      • Feelings Journal Writing Page
      • Coping Skills Journal Writing Page

      Each page is printable and you can use them over and over again to target impulsive behaviors and actions.

      Use the impulse control worksheets as teaching tools for kids and teens to show how responses to situations, emotions, and mindset impact impulsive actions, and how to use specific coping strategies to allow learning and functioning in situations. When is Impulse Control Hard

      Free impulse control skills worksheets for teens and kids.

      When is Impulse Control Hard Worksheet

      This page in the packet describes situations when impulse control skills can be difficult. This is important because it helps individuals realize that they are not alone, and that controlling impulsive behaviors isn’t something to be worried about, ashamed of, or that they are the only ones having trouble controlling their impulses.

      The worksheet includes a teaching portion: If you think about it, you might start to notice a pattern of times and places when using impulse control is hard.

      Users can then check off any times or places that using impulse control is difficult. This can change depending on the day, the situation, emotions, events, etc. Users can also fill in any times not on the list.

      Then, the worksheet asks about when using impulse control is easiest and when it is hardest. This is a good exercise to journal and build a toolbox of experiences using working memory. What are some strategies that DID help the user to be safe or make good choices in a a particular situation? What impacted poor choices? These are all areas that can be expanded upon.

      What Does Impulse Control Look Like Worksheet

      This worksheet helps kids understand what impulse control is and how specific situations can lead to different impulsive behaviors or actions to different people. The executive function worksheet then describes different ways to use impulse control skills in different situaitons. The worksheet allows users to check off different ways they have demonstrated impulse control skills in the past.

      This is a great way to teach, but also to build working memory skills. What has worked in the past can be pulled from to use as a tool in the future.

      Next, the worksheet asks about times that the individual has used good examples of impulse control. It also asks about specific times or events where poor impulse control was used. This worksheet can be used on a daily or weekly basis to help with working memory in building coping tools for impulse control.

      BIG Emotions Journal Writing Page

      Another worksheet in the packet is one on BIG emotions. These are the emotions that can be difficult to manage in a way that impacts actions and behaviors. The worksheet includes a quote from Fred Rogers:

      “When we talk about our emotions, they become less
      overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.”

      -quote by Fred Rogers

      Kids can use the worksheet to journal about their biggest emotions, using the journal prompts. There is also a drawing prompt as well.

      The big emotions prompts touch on interoception as well. Interoception, or the sense of the internal state of the body, is a sense that can impact how we “feel” on the inside with big emotions. Sensations connected with emotions might include:

      • Butterflies in the stomach
      • Heart racing
      • Holding your breath
      • Breathing fast
      • Stomach churning
      • “Seeing red”
      • Tensed muscles

      Here is more information on emotions and interoception. The worksheet asks questions like this because it can help users to connect the dots between big emotions and impulsive actions.

      There are also pieces on this worksheet that include concepts of empathy awareness. It asks users to recall times when others may have experienced big emotions. It can be helpful to connect to others and see that impulsive actions are something that everyone deals with at one time or another.

      Feelings Journal Writing Page

      There is also a feelings worksheet. This worksheet is intended to help users realized that feelings are great to experience, whether they are feelings of happiness, sadness, or anger, etc. Sometimes some of our kiddos might get into a thought process where if they are in a “red zone” (relating to the Zones of Regulation program), they might get it in their head that being in a red zone is a bad thing, when it’s definitely not!

      There is a quote by Jonathan Martensson on this worksheet page:

      Feelings are much like waves, we can’t stop them from coming, but we can choose which one to surf.

      – quote by Jonathan Martensson

      The journal page goes on to include writing and drawing prompts about feelings and emotions.

      Coping Skills Journal Writing Page

      And finally, there is a coping skills worksheet. This page includes writing prompts and a drawing prompt about coping tools that can be used in situations when impulse control might be needed. This worksheet page helps users draw from past experiences and to build their working memory “bucket” of tools they can use in the future. There is also a quote from John Wooden:

      Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from doing what you
      can do.

      -quote by John Wooden

      This letter to future self is a great activity to look at what one is doing currently and to identify changes that one wants to achieve. Using those goals as incentive to be a different or changed version supports development. Then, use that future version with a goal ladder to break down the steps to achieve that version.

      You may also want to grab the Impulse Control Journal, which is where these worksheets come from. It’s a huge resource designed to develop and strengthen executive functioning skills as well as habit building, goal setting, mindset, and of course, impulse control. I love this journal because it helps kids and teens to recognize their strengths, build upon them, and realize they have the capability to do what they need to do and what they want to do.

      Impulse Control Journal the OT Toolbox

      The Impulse Control Journal…a printable resource for helping kids strategize executive functioning skill development. When saying “calm down” just isn’t enough…

      When a child is easily “triggered” and seems to melt down at any sign of loud noises or excitement…

      When you need help or a starting point to teach kids self-regulation strategies…

      When you are struggling to motivate or redirect a child without causing a meltdown…

      When you’re struggling to help kids explore their emotions, develop self-regulation and coping skills, manage and reflect on their emotions, identify their emotions, and more as they grow…

      Grab the Impulse Control Journal to build organizational strategies, planning, prioritization, habits, and mindset in kids.

      Free Impulse Control Worksheets

      So, what do you think? Would you like to add this printable worksheet set to your therapy toolbox? You’ll need to enter your email address into the form below to access this file.

      Free Impulse Control Worksheets

        We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

        Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to

        Self-Monitoring Strategies for Kids

        self-monitoring strategies handouts

        One of the big executive functioning skills is the ability to self-monitor oneself. Self-monitoring strategies play a part in the ability to notice what is happening in the world around us and what is happening in our own body. The ability to “check” oneself and monitor actions, behaviors, and thoughts as they happen play into our ability to problem solve. Use the tips below to help kids learn how to self-monitor and problem solve. These self-monitoring strategies for kids are applicable in the classroom, home, sports field, or in social situations.

        Self-monitoring strategies and free handouts with self monitoring examples for parents, teachers, therapists.

        As a related resources, try these self-reflection activities for kids. You’ll also love these other free handouts for executive functioning skills: Organization Handouts.

        Use these self-monitoring strategies for kids to teach kids how to self-monitor their actions and behaviors for better learning, attention, and functional independence.

        Related read: Here are more executive functioning resources to fill your therapy toolbox!

        What is self-monitoring

        Self-monitoring is a process of metacognition. Metacognition is the ability to plan for and execute a task, monitor one’s actions, analyze a problem, apply a strategy, maintain attention, and evaluate or monitor completion of an activity. Ideally, metacognition should occur naturally and instinctively as we engage in an activity.

        The ability to self-monitor is made up of two main areas:

        1.) Observation- In this stage, a child is able to identify a specific behavior, thought, or action that occurred. This might happen during the action or afterwards.

        In a child who struggles with talking out in class, they may catch themselves as they are interrupting. Another child may realize they spoke out of turn only after the teacher mentions the interruption.

        In both cases, the child is able to identify what behavior has occurred through self-assessment. This level of self-monitoring is a real struggle for some students and working on the ability to notice the behaviors or actions that are inefficient or inappropriate for the situation. The ability to observe and recognize behaviors or actions is a skill, and that self-monitoring ability requires a lot of reflection, as well as the ability to recognize an ideal response or appropriate behavior for a specific situation.

        2.) Recording- This stage of self-monitoring is a means for moving from an awareness of actions and behaviors to function. In the recording stage of self-monitoring, children are able to note their actions and make changes based on what happened in specific situations.

        Having a set of strategies in place to address self-regulation needs, attention needs, or emotional supports is beneficial for use in the moment. Jotting down deviances of targeted behavior can help kids to become more aware of what happened in a specific situation and how they can make adjustments in the future to avoid specific behaviors, or how they can use accommodations and self-regulation tools to respond and react more appropriately.

        3.) Look at what needs addressed to get to a future that is desired- So often, kids know they are making poor choices, but don’t know how to stop the routine of those poor choices. If they can use introspection to identify how and what they are feeling and why, they can respond to those choices with a plan in place.

        This letter to future self is a great tool to identify areas of change and to start breaking down goals. Follow up with our goal ladder as another strategy to make step by step progress toward that future visualization.

        Self-Monitoring Strategies

        In talking about self-monitoring skills, let’s first discuss what exactly self-monitoring is and what it means for kids to self-monitor their actions, thoughts, and behaviors.

        Observation, or self-assessment may require work in order for the child to understand targeted behaviors.

        Recording or measurement of actions can occur through several methods:

        • Checklists
        • Parent/Teacher/Student communication sheets (where the child inputs behaviors throughout the day)
        • Journaling in a notebook or a tool such as the Impulse Control Journal
        • Data collection sheets
        • Frequency collection forms
        • Self-graphing

        Self-Monitoring Examples

        • Lists of appropriate actions or behaviors
        • Simple strategies to impact self-control
        • Visual cues
        • Verbal cues
        • Reminder notes
        • Goal setting
        • Journaling in a notebook or a tool such as the Impulse Control Journal
        • Coaching
        • Role-playing practice
        • Self-talk
        • Modeling from peers

        The goal of this stage is to get students to move from a teacher/parent/therapist/adult support of self-assessment to a self-assessment status where the child identifies behaviors and actions that are off-target.

        A child’s ability to stay organized can make a big impact on self-monitoring. Use the organization activities and strategies identified here.

        Why is Self-Monitoring important?

        When children self-monitor their actions and thoughts, so many areas are developed and progressed:

        • Attention
        • Behavior
        • Problem-solving abilities
        • Hindsight
        • Foresight
        • Persistence
        • Shift

        You can see how each of the executive functioning skills play into the ability to self-monitor and how self-monitoring skills play into the development and use of each of the other executive functioning skills.

        The ability to self-monitor actions, behaviors, thoughts impacts learning, mindset, social and emotional skills, and functional participation in everyday tasks.

        Self-Monitoring Impacts Function

        There are also functional skills that are developed and improved through self-monitoring:

        • Learning
        • Communication
        • Behavior
        • Task initiation
        • Task completion
        • Social-emotional interaction
        • Follow-through on learned skills

        Self-Monitoring Strategies

        Below, you will find additional self-monitoring strategies that can help children with the ability to identify and self-assess and self-adjust behaviors that may occur within the classroom, home, or other environment.

        There are many examples of self-monitoring strategies that can be used to help students develop this skill. One technique is to use text-to-self connections, which involves asking students to relate new information to their own experiences or prior knowledge.

        This can help them to better understand the material and make connections that will improve their memory and retention. Another strategy is to focus on executive function skills, such as time management, organization, and planning. By teaching students how to self-monitor these skills, they can become more independent and successful in their academic and personal lives.

        These strategies should be viewed as supports that can be used independently by the child following instruction and input to teach strategy methods.

        • Make an outline for writing tasks, homework assignments, or multi-step assignments in order to keep the child on task.
        • Utilize a self-monitoring schedule- Ask the child to stop and self-check their actions, behaviors, or thoughts to make sure they are on-task.
        • Try an index card or other visual reminder on desks for a list of appropriate behaviors.
        • Use social stories to teach appropriate actions and reactions to specific situations in the home or classroom.
        • Incorporate a schedule of self-regulation strategies to address sensory, attention, and focusing needs. A sensory diet can help with this.
        • Teach the child to check and recheck- Teach children to stop and check and then re-check their behaviors.
        • Teach the child self-talk strategies.
        • Teach students to look at their finished assignment from their teacher’s eyes. This can help them have an outside view of completed work or actions in the classroom and adjust as appropriate.
        • Sensory or coping strategies scheduled throughout the day for sensory input or movement breaks.
        • Use a timer for scheduled self-assessment and self-reflection of behaviors or actions and recording of data.
        • Work toward fading self-monitoring visual and physical cues as well as data collection means.
        • Teach the child to journal experiences. The Impulse Control Journal can be a helpful tool for children who are able to write or dictate to an adult.

        Related read– Find many strategies and activities to boost attention in kids here.  

        Self-Monitoring Handout

        Want to access this article as a printable PDF to use as a handout? Use the printable version in education to parents, teachers, therapists, and other professionals. Simply print off the printable version and add it to your therapy toolbox.

        Note: In order to access this file, you will need to enter your email address. This allows us to send the PDF directly to your email. This is a 5 page printable self-monitoring strategy outline for educating those who work with kids with self-monitoring skills in kids.

        Free Self-Monitoring Strategies Handouts

          We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.
          Impulse Control Journal the OT Toolbox

          The Impulse Control Journal…a printable resource for helping kids strategize executive functioning skill development. When saying “calm down” just isn’t enough…

          When a child is easily “triggered” and seems to melt down at any sign of loud noises or excitement…

          When you need help or a starting point to teach kids self-regulation strategies…

          When you are struggling to motivate or redirect a child without causing a meltdown…

          When you’re struggling to help kids explore their emotions, develop self-regulation and coping skills, manage and reflect on their emotions, identify their emotions, and more as they grow…

          Grab the Impulse Control Journal to build organizational strategies, planning, prioritization, habits, and mindset in kids.


          Self-monitoring is an essential skill for individuals to develop, especially those working with executive functioning skills. It involves paying attention to one’s own behavior, thoughts, and emotions, and adjusting them as necessary. Self-monitoring can help individuals identify their strengths and weaknesses, recognize patterns of behavior that may be problematic, and develop strategies for improving performance. By using self-monitoring strategies to address behavior and academic issues, professionals and educators can help students become more self-aware and develop greater self-control.

          Step-by-step self-monitoring

          Step-by-step teaching of self-monitoring is an effective way to help students learn this skill. It begins with identifying the behavior or skill that needs to be monitored, setting specific goals for improvement, and teaching the student how to keep track of their progress.

          This can be done using a self-monitoring checklist, which outlines the steps involved in the process and provides a clear roadmap for success. With practice, students can become more proficient at using self-monitoring strategies to track their own behavior and improve their academic and social skills.

          For students with ADHD, a self-monitoring checklist can be a helpful tool. It can help them stay focused and on task, monitor their own behavior, and track their progress towards goals.

          The checklist can include items like:

          • staying on task
          • following instructions
          • completing assignments on time

          By checking off items on the list, students can see their progress and feel a sense of accomplishment. It can also be used to provide feedback to parents and teachers, who can provide support and encouragement as needed.

          Self-monitoring can also be used as an intervention for students who are struggling with behavior or academic issues. By identifying the problem behavior or skill and teaching the student how to monitor and adjust it, professionals and educators can help the student improve their performance and develop greater self-control. Self-monitoring skills can be used in a variety of settings, including the classroom, home, and community.

          There are many different self-monitoring tools available that can help students develop this skill. These tools can include visual aids, like charts and checklists, or digital tools, like apps and software programs.

          The key is to find the right tool for the individual student and to provide ongoing support and encouragement as they develop their self-monitoring skills. With practice and persistence, individuals can become more self-aware, improve their behavior and academic performance, and develop greater confidence and independence.

          Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to

          What are Executive Functioning Skills?

          Executive functioning skills are an important component of skilled occupational therapy intervention, but they can be confusing to some. What are executive functioning skills? Executive functioning skills go beyond the basics like working memory and impulse control. Using the individual skills in a cohesive manner with mental dexterity drives function at all ages and stages of life. In fact, there is not necessarily one agreed-upon definition for executive functioning! Ready to learn more? Keep reading!

          What are executive functioning skills

          What are executive FUNCTIONING Skills?

          Executive functioning (EF) skills are diverse. Typically, EF consists of skills including the ability to manage emotions, initiate activities within a timely manner, shift attention from topics or activities, control impulses and urges, retain information for use during functional activities, develop plans and formulate systems to perform a desired task, prevent missing materials, and being mindful of how our own behavior impacts others.

          One aspect to delivering strategies and tools to support executive function development can be through a coaching model. In fact, executive function coaching is a powerful tool to support individuals in specific needs.

          Development of executive functioning skills

          When do executive functioning skills develop?

          Executive functioning skills take a long time to develop! As a result, different ages demonstrate different challenges when facing EF deficits.

          While a child in late elementary school may seem successful with their ability to manage classroom materials, turn in homework assignments on time, and engage in age-appropriate behaviors, the same child may demonstrate significant challenges upon the transition to middle school. For example, now they have to return to their locker between classes to exchange books, which is not just a simple stop-and-go activity.

          There are distractions, the desire to engage in social interactions, a time crunch to make it to the next class on time, the need to remember what class is next and what materials they need, and not to mention needing to remember the sequence for their combination lock! This all happens before they even make it into their next classroom or head home for the day.

          How can executive functioning skills improve?

          Thanks to the brain’s neuroplasticity, EF skills have potential for improvement! Many daily activities require diverse EF skills, making them a fantastic opportunity to integrate effective strategies.

          What are executive functioning skills

          Emotional regulation as an area of executive functioning:

          Emotional regulation is one of the first areas of executive functioning that many parents want to improve, since it can add significant stress to family life. Self-reflection is one way to improve emotional regulation. However, it’s important that this takes place after the big feelings pass, since learning takes place when bodies and minds are “just right.”

          This can easily be added to family routines. One way to encourage self-reflection is to have each family member share a positive and negative from the day when seated for dinner.

          This also allows for family members to support each other (“Good luck on your test today, Jacob, you studied very hard!”) and provides opportunities for continued conversation (“You mentioned having an argument with your friend at lunch today. Is there anything I can do to help?”). It can also normalize the big feelings we all experience!

          Initiation and executive functioning skills:

          We’ve all struggled with initiation at some point in our lives; we need to complete items on an ever-growing to-do list, but just don’t know where to start! Kids experience this, too.

          For children who are competitive, make a contest out of completing tasks. See who can complete their to-do list the fastest, but with the best quality, too! Teaching children and teens how to become more independent with initiation can be fun and successful.

          Shifting as an executive function:

          Shifting is often combined with attention, since shifting requires the individual to determine what is important and focus on that, rather than what they might have been doing or thinking before.

          Take, for example, a student who was writing a paper on a Shakespearean play for their English class. They’ve now finished the assignment and have moved on to a worksheet on the quadratic formula. Their mind needs to completely turn “off” Shakespeare and turn “on” the quadratic formula.

          Luckily, there are many activities for attention. One fun way is to build an obstacle course. Each time the child completes the course, change one of the rules!

          For example, the second time, they can only touch primary colors or can only hop on one foot in between obstacles. They will not only need to remember what the new rule is, but they will have to shift away from the old rules!

          Inhibition and executive functioning:

          Inhibition is often referred to as impulse control. It can be an exhausting component of executive functioning, as it can lead to significant safety concerns.

          One way to improve impulse control with younger children is through the game “Red Light, Green Light.” Many children (even early teenagers) enjoy playing versions of “Floor is Lava,” avoiding certain materials as they attempt to navigate a room. This can also be a great way to work on working memory!

          Working memory as an executive function:

          Working memory can be a significant challenge for many individuals. Working memory requires us to retain learned information and use it during daily activities.

          There are many ways to support working memory development and deficits. There are many task-management apps available, even for things like medication management. For activities to improve working memory, try playing games like Magic Labyrinth, Melissa and Doug’s Sandwich Stacking Game, or making a recipe!

          Planning/organizing for executive functioning success:

          Planning for projects and organizing ideas is stressful! It can be helpful to go through large assignments one at a time. Break the assignment into manageable pieces, including what materials are needed for that step and when that step needs to be completed.

          The good news is that these skills can experience definite improvements with practice. Check out this link for more information and strategies on prioritization and planning skill development.

          Organization of materials and executive functioning:

          Messy rooms with laundry covering the floor, desks and lockers overflowing with paper, expandable folders filled to the brim with assignments—these are the signs of a disorganized student! Organization is often the first thing to go when a person feels stressed or overwhelmed, as it can be time-consuming.

          To support a child’s organization skills development, try making checklists for their locker or desk. As they place each item into their backpack, they can check a box to make sure they have everything they need before they go! Or, use labels to clearly define where belongings go in a closet or on a bookshelf.

          Executive functioning skills in kids

          Monitoring for executive functioning success:

          Monitoring is important since we all interactive with others on a daily basis! Monitoring is the acknowledgement that we behave in certain ways and that these behaviors can affect other people.

          Self-reflection (mentioned above) can be a good way to promote monitoring. An individual can process through what they think went well, what they struggled with, and how they think others felt during these events. Behavior charts can also be helpful by clearly listing out what the expectation is and whether the individual demonstrated that skill area. Ultimately, the goal is to encourage self-monitoring as much as possible, rather than adults monitoring the child. The possibilities for monitoring strategies  are diverse and it’s possible to find something that works for each person.

          More Executive Functioning Skills Resources:

          • Free Executive Function Mini-Course- Wondering about what are executive functioning skills? This Executive Functioning Skills Course is a FREE, 5-day email course that will help you understand executive functioning and all that is included in the set of mental skills.
          • This collection of executive functioning skills resources outline many aspects of higher cognitive skills through various EF skill areas.
          • Getting organized can be a start to addressing several executive functioning skill areas. Here is a collection of organization strategies, tips, and tools.
          What are executive functioning skills? This resource on attention, organization, planning, and other executive functions helps kids develop skills needed for learning.

          For resources, tools, and printable activities to improve and strengthen the development of executive functioning skills, check out The Impulse Control Journal.

          Impulse Control Journal the OT Toolbox