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Executive Function and Future Financial Success for Your Child

By Laura Connerly
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast Facts:

  • Developing executive function in the childhood brain is key to good life management skills
  • Parents can help children sharpen executive function through interaction

(283 words)

LITTLE ROCK — Childhood is an intense time for cognitive development, and research indicates a link between executive function and financial well-being. One of the most important areas of neurological growth is executive function.  

We are all born with the potential to develop executive function skills such as working memory and self-control.  These skills develop rapidly during childhood, and higher levels of executive function relate to better math, language, and financial management skills.  

Parents can help their children develop executive function through consistent interaction. Here are a few examples of ways to help your child practice and develop executive function skills: 

  • Baby – finger plays and conversation
  • Toddler – songs with motions, matching/sorting games
  • Preschooler – song games, imaginary play, storytelling, puzzles
  • Elementary – board games that involve strategy, “Simon Says,” singing in rounds, organized sports, learning to play an instrument
  • Adolescents – planning an activity or event, setting goals and planning action steps, sports, yoga, music, theater, computer games, strategy games, study skills

There are many resources available to parents who want to read more about how to help their children develop executive function skills. Some examples include “Enhancing and Practicing Executive Function Skills with Children from Infancy to Adolescence,” from the Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University, as well as academic journal articles, such as “Foundations of Financial Well-Being: Insights into the Role of Executive Function, Financial Socialization, and Experience-Based Learning in Childhood and Youth,” in the Journal of Consumer Affairs. 

For more information on child development, visit


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. 

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. 

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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126

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