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Executive functions, or higher cognitive processes which underpin goal-directed behavior, can allow children to control themselves against temptation, focus on tasks at hand, memorize agreements to initiate actions, and adapt their behavior in unfamiliar situations. Mothers play an essential role as role models, supporting and organizing activities to encourage their children to develop executive functions. Therefore, a research study on maternal practices is needed to promote executive functions. This qualitative descriptive study aimed to explore mothers’ perceptions and experiences regarding the promotion of executive functions in preschool children in northern Thailand. Data were collected using participant observation and in-depth interviews between May 2019 and July 2020 with 18 biological mothers of children aged 3-5 years old who participated in a training program to promote executive functions. Content analysis was applied for data analysis.
The findings on maternal parenting related to promoting executive functions comprise seven categories: 1) supporting children to focus their attention; 2) encouraging children to use their ability to accomplish tasks; 3) promoting to solve problems on their own; 4) enhancing self-confidence; 5) encouraging imagination; 6) supporting awareness of their own emotions and actions; and 7) practices hindering executive functions. This study’s findings help nurses understand mother’s parenting related to promoting executive functions in their children, which can be applied to develop programs/strategies to promote executive functions in preschool children.
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