#64 - The Brain's Command Center: Breaking Down Executive Functioning with Carrie Bonnett

Apr 14, 2024
#64 - The Brain's Command Center: Breaking Down Executive Functioning with Carrie Bonnett
***For transcript of this episode, scroll down!

🧠 Dive into the command center of your child's mind with executive functioning expert Carrie Bonnett! Learn how improving executive functioning skills can unlock your child's full potential and empower them for success in school and beyond. 🚀


In this episode, we discuss:

  • What executive functioning really means and why it's crucial for your child's development.
  • Practical strategies to support your child's executive functioning skills at home.
  • Signs of executive functioning struggles and their impact.
  • The truth about when these skills develop.


Ready to equip your family with the tools for smoother routines and happier days? Hit that subscribe button now and let's dive into the world of executive functioning with Carrie! 🌟🧠


Want to connect more with Carrie?


Don't forget to grab her FREE Get the Brain on Board, quick-start blueprint to help your student GET THINGS DONE (without constant reminders): www.carriebonnett.com/blueprint


Or, find her at:


Show Notes:

Sam: Executive functioning.

That sounds like a pretty big scary word, doesn't it?

But it's actually very important in our day-to-Day Lives.

Executive functioning might sound like something right out

of a neuroscience textbook, but stick with me.

It's essentially the brain's CEO, responsible

for skills like planning, organization, and impulse control.

Imagine this, your child is struggling to stay focused

during homework time, constantly getting sidetracked

by every little distraction,

or perhaps they have a difficult time organizing their tasks

and often forget to do things.

Sound familiar? These are just a couple of examples of

how executive functioning difficulties can manifest in kids,

and that's exactly what we'll be exploring today.

Plus helpful tips with our amazing guest, Carrie Bonnet.

Carrie is a veteran teacher and a lifelong list maker.

She's an executive function coach based in Bend, Oregon,

where she lives with her husband and two children.

Carrie works with students and families all over the world.

Her no shame approach

and the strategies she teaches empowers students

to thrive in life and in school, helps parents

and teachers to better support their children

and helps adults get on top of all that life requires.

In addition to coaching, she's also an adjunct instructor

for early teachers at the University of Portland in Oregon.

Ah, I'm so excited for you to listen in, get ready

for an episode filled with insights

and tips you can use not only

for your child, but yourself too.


Sam: Hey, Carrie, welcome to the podcast.


Carrie: Hello. Thanks for having me.


Sam: I am so excited to have you here today

because n OT executive functioning is actually one

of those things that we talk about a lot.

It falls within our scope,

but I do think it goes largely ignored, so I'm so excited

to have somebody who focuses solely on that.


Carrie: Yeah, thank you. I knew I

didn't really know that about ot.

I knew that, um, about speech language pathology, like

that's definitely a connective connector,

but I didn't know it really bad about ot, so, great. Cool.


Sam: Yeah. OTs so broad, so it feels like

so much falls under it.

Yeah. So let's start

by just having you tell us a little bit about who you are

so our community can get to know you and what you do.


Carrie: Sure. So my name's Carrie Bonnet.

I am an executive function coach. I'm based in Oregon.

Um, I come to this work from the teacher side.

So I was a classroom teacher for 14 years.

I taught middle and high school, um,

and I didn't know about executive function when I was a

teacher in my, I'm 49 years old

and my teacher training that did it did not exist.

Um, so I came to this sort of knowledge

of this thing called executive function just a handful

of years ago, and, um, I work one-on-one

with students and families.

I work with adults too.

That's kind of a more interesting thing that happened

with this practice of mine

as I have more adult clients than I thought I might.

Um, but there are people who are struggling

to get their stuff done, and so they come to me

to learn some skills and strategies to help get on top

of school and work

and life, uh, to make those things easier.


Sam: So tell us more about this journey.

How did you go from never hearing about it?

It wasn't in your teacher training to this is what I do.


Carrie: Well, I didn't it, I didn't mean

to start in 2020, but I did.

And so sort, it's sort of pandemic related in a way.

Uh, year, a couple years

before the pandemic, I had a good friend

of mine who's a school psychologist.

Um, we were just talking about what the next phase

of my career might be and she said,

you know what I think you should do?

I think you should be an executive function coach.

And at that point I said, what's that? I had no idea. Right.

Um, but then it just sort of kept nudging me.

So I, you know, once you learn something new,

it presents itself in lots of ways, right?

There's actually a brain function that

that is the reason for that.

Um, but it kept kind of nudging me

and I kept hearing about this

thing called executive function.

Then the pandemic came up

and I kept hearing parents say things like, gosh,

I thought my student was doing okay in school until I had

to sit next to them and do school.

And they realized that their student was

really, really struggling.

So, um, so it just, I, it sort of smacked me in the face

and it was like, it's time, it's time to do this.

And then I did some, a lot of learning, some training, um,

and the need is great, Sam.

I mean, you're probably not gonna be surprised to hear that,

and maybe the people listening won't be that surprised,

but there are a lot of people out there

who need help with this stuff.

The, the research shows that these skills,

which we'll talk about in a little bit, I'm sure, um,

that they have to be taught that they're, we don't just sort

of like get them from the air or, you know, osmosis

or something, um, that these things have to be taught.

So that's where I come in.


Sam: Oh, man, that's so interesting.

And what a time to be thinking about it too,

because I feel like so many

of these issues really did show up during the pandemic when,

again, we'll talk about what these

executive functioning skills are, but it was so necessary.


Carrie: Oh, yeah. At that time during the pandemic.


Sam: So let's get right into it

because I think we might be losing some people

'cause they're like, wait, Sam, what,

what are we talking are we talking about here?

So can you tell us what executive functioning is?


Carrie: Right. So I would love to,

I love talking about this stuff.

Um, the simple definition that I like to give

for executive function skills is

that they are the brain skills that help us get things done.

So that's the simple definition. Great.

That's like the umbrella. Um,

but what we're talking about, the types of skills

that we're talking about are things like time management,

organization planning, um, self-monitoring,

like checking yourself,

am I doing the thing that I said I was gonna be doing?

Um, also things like task initiation,

which is getting started on a task.

This one by the way, I mean, I hear all

of them when people come to me,

but task initiation is probably one of the biggies.

Like, especially on the boring stuff, you know,

it's not easy to get started.

So those are the kinds of things we're talking about.

Working memory is another one, um, finishing a task.

So like, and they're all interconnected, which is kind

of annoying, I suppose, but,

but you know, you have to be able to start a task.

Focus is another skill.

Be able to maintain focus on that skill

or that task until then you actually finish

it to its completion.

So it's all a little things that, like when you say

to someone, just get to work,

it's more than just get to work.

It's a lot of different things at play.


Sam: Yeah. I mean, how many of us, kinda, like you said,

adults struggle with that every single day.


Carrie: Yeah, yeah. Especially I'm, I'm, I work for myself.

I work at home. It's real hard and,

and I have a brain that would be described

as I'm more neurotypical than some of the folks who come

to see me who maybe have some neurodiversity in their world.

Um, and it's hard for me.

So imagine a brain that has a learning difference

or, um, a traumatic brain injury.

Like imagine how hard things

some of these things would be for them.


Sam: Oh my gosh, I can't even begin

to think about how much you use it.

Even just like getting to go out the door for school, right?


Carrie: Absolutely. Getting your kids ready for the day.

Like, it just must be intertwined in everything we do. For

Sure. And that

comes up a lot, actually is as one of a,

like a stress point for families

when when you have a person in the house who has a brain

with executive function challenges,

like just getting out the door can be super stressful.


Sam: Yeah.


Carrie: So kind of like getting out the door.

It's like you're thinking about my

shoes need to be in this place.

Did I do my homework last night? Did I put it in my bag?

Is this where it needs to be? Is that kind of what Yeah.

Look at Yes. And looking forward to the day.

Like, oh, is this a day when I need my gym clothes

or is this a day after school?

I'm going to practice. And so I have to put my

whatever gear in my backpack.

Um, so that's like future thinking.

It's like in the moment, can I find the thing

that's important for me to take out the door with me?

Yeah. And then time, right?

Like time management

and awareness of time is all, it's all wrapped up in this,

this just getting out the door.


Sam: So what are some reasons

that somebody might be having challenges

with the executive

function skills? Where does it come from?


Carrie: There, the way I look at it,

I feel like there's sort of three things.

Maybe one is one I've already mentioned

and that is, um, learning differences.

So a brain with a DHD for example, or autism

or fetal alcohol syndrome

or traumatic brain injury,

like all these other sort of things.

Although traumatic brain injury, I suppose it's not a

learning difference, but it, it's a, it's a brain thing.

So, um, sometimes it's harder for people

because they have some kind of diagnosis.

Um, some, not, some of my clients, maybe most

of my clients have something like that, but not all.

Um, it honestly doesn't matter to me personally.

Like, I think it's great if you have a diagnosis, great,

that's good information, but,

but in terms of the work I do, it doesn't really matter.

Um, but that's one reason why it might be harder

for some students than others is like some

sort of a, a brain thing.

And another thing is just developmental.

So another reason why this is just harder for some is

that brains grow real slow and develop really slowly.

And the, the, um, the executive function skills

that we're talking about live in the prefrontal cortex,

which is right behind our forehead,

the very front of our brains.

And that's the very last part, you know, this of our brain

to develop and grow.

And so a lot of it is just developmental,

like it will get better as we get older.

Um, the current brain science says that,

that our brain is kind of fully developed

or grown up at age like 25 to 30.

So that's like, I work with middle

and high school students a lot.

They are not 25 to 30.

Um, so, so some of it is just developmental

and brains develop at different rates.

So even an eighth grader sitting next to an eighth grader,

the brain is just different.

And so some of it is, is brain development.

And then honestly, I think the last reason why it's harder

for some is some,

sometimes a brain doesn't really match up great

with a traditional school.

I mean, I'm not telling people to like change schools, um,

but a traditional school where you sit in a desk

and the teacher talks and you take notes

and you turn in homework and you like,

that is hard for some brains.

Um, and so it's just maybe not a match.

Um, they, you know, you still have to do school,

but that's, that's another reason why

it can be harder for some.


Sam: Oh, I love that you explain that. It's just not a match.

I always say when I talk about sensory challenges,

that it's not like a fault of the person.

A lot of the times it gets, you know, the child gets blamed

for being stubborn or difficult

and it's not a fault of the person, it's a fault of

that person's specific needs being a mismatch for the world.

Yeah. So I could totally see that for school too.


Carrie: Yeah. Well, executive function is exactly

the, the same, right?

Like it's not a character flaw, this is how I approach it.

It's not a character flaw that

you have a hard time getting started

or getting out the door in the morning

or turning in your homework.

It's not, I mean, it's just a brain thing.

Um, 'cause there is, and in this world too,

and they're very connected, right?

Like some kids who have some executive function challenges

also have some sensory challenges too.

But there's a lot of shame around it.

Um, and,

and some kids take on

that like feeling like it's a character flaw, you know?

Yeah. 'cause I'm sure too they get, you know, kind

of maybe shamed or in trouble

for not keeping up with the things that they were.

You know, quote unquote supposed to have done

or supposed to be doing.


Sam: Right. Right. Exactly. Homework is, is a big one that comes up a lot, right?

Like, either they have lots

of missing assignments sometimes,

and sometimes though they've done the assignment

but forgotten to turn it in.


Carrie: That happens a lot with students I work with.

Um, and so we work on sort

of what's a routine that we can get into.

So you always remember, especially now

that it's all on the iPad, right.

All they have to do is push the submit button

or whatever it is on their,

on their learning management system, but getting to the end

and making sure that it gets, gets turned in.


Sam: Yeah. All of that stuff.

I feel like I struggled with this

so much when I was younger in school, I can think of

so many times my mom would have to drive me back to school

to go to my locker because I'm like,

I don't have my textbook that I need to do my homework.

Or Hey mom, I need like three dozen cupcakes

for tomorrow.


Carrie: Yeah. I was, I was with a student last night, she, um,

was working on a, um, speech for four H.

She's a big four H student.

And, and she, it was like due tomorrow or today.

So I was working with her last night and it was due today.

And so this, this happens a lot, right.

And not just with people who struggle across the board.

Like sometimes it's just a one-off or something like that.

But, but imagine, you know, this, the, the brain

that struggles with this stuff a lot

will have experiences like this

over and over and over again.

Yeah. I can definitely see that.

I have so many popping into my head right now of like, yeah.

Memories of all these times that I was like, oh wait,

Yeah. And,

you know, but the truth is like, well,

I think we even said this at the beginning, it's not really,

they're not just school related.

I mean, they, they are right?

Like these skills a student has to do them in order

to student, but their life skills, right?

Like even beyond school, like, you

and I have to do our taxes

and we have to go grocery shopping and we have to sit down

and do whatever the thing is for our work.

So these are like, it's pretty critical that,

that kids learn this stuff.


Sam: Yeah. And so you mentioned too that

the brain wasn't fully developed until 25

and that executive functioning skills kind

of develop as we age.

Are there stages that you usually see they go

through when kids are doing kinda certain things

or where things are getting easier or harder?


Carrie: Yeah, you know, sometimes I do.

I think I, I'm sure that, I'm sure there are,

I don't see young, young kids,

so I don't, I don't see that part.

So I feel like there's a whole lot of growth

that happens early, you know, like elementary school, um,

and then high school a lot for sure.

Middle school is kind of like, to me,

I don't know if this is the, if this is

what the experts would say, but I think feel like middle

school is much more like social, right?

Like figuring out, so navigating social stuff, I mean, sure,

it's, it's content and it's

education and all that kind of stuff too.

So a lot of it is kind of figuring out the social

and maybe navigating the school system.

Um, but I don't know.

I feel like maybe the biggest phase of growth is sort

of late middle school into high school.

But then again, they, when when a student,

if a student goes on to college,

that's a huge transition too.

So, and they're still growing and learning at that age too.

So, yeah. I don't know if I answered

your question, but Yeah.

Um, I'm sure there are phases for sure

where there's like a lot of growth

and then a little stagnant on a period

plateau and then a lot of growth.



Sam: Kind of just my own personal wondering right now.

Have you seen differences in

executive functioning skills with everybody focusing

so much on like social media?

Does it kind of like take the brain away from focusing on

other things because we're so consumed with TikTok?


Carrie: I mean, that's a big one we always have to talk about,

about not just social media, but just technology.

Sure. Social media, yes, too.

But e every person that I work with, we always talk about

that as a distraction, right?

Like, and, and you know,

the word addiction gets thrown out there.

I don't a address that with my, my people necessarily,

but just trying to acknowledge

that it's a huge, huge distraction.

Another skill that we didn't mention

yet is this thing called metacognition,

which is a fancy word for just sort of like

that inner dialogue in your head that goes like,

get off your phone or get back to work.

And some students don't have a very loud voice kind

of inner dialogue that helps get their things done.

Um, but once we are sort of more aware,

we can maybe then take a pause and,

and say, oh, right, I see

that I am sucked into whatever the Instagram or whatever.

Um, but yeah, I mean,

this social media stuff comes up all the time.

Technology comes up all the time.

I did a parent presentation last night at a high school

here, and it always comes up.

It always comes up, especially with parents, right?

Like we, I'm a parent, I have a 13 and an 11-year-old,

and it's, it's a constant struggle question.

Um, battle the worry for parents and educators I think too.

But yeah, it's majorly, majorly distracting.

It's so easy to procrastinate with it too. Oh, totally.

To get sucked in and just kind of keep scrolling. Mm-Hmm.


Sam: So you did mention metacognition.

Tell us a little bit about the different areas

of executive functioning.


Carrie: Yeah. Well, so, so like I said, the meta,

I feel like metacognition is like the umbrella almost

that like everything lives kind of under,

like if we are aware self-aware, that's the metacognition.

And then we could maybe say, oh, I see

that it's been an hour since I've been on this phone,

and then we move on to do something else.

That's, that's what the goal is.

Um, but then there's there I would say like,

and that's a little bit related to self-monitoring, right?

Like the metacognition.

So, so self-monitoring is a huge part

of executive function, right?

Like being able to say, oh yeah, that didn't go as I pleased

or I wanted to and I'm now going to maybe make a change

for next time or in the moment.

Um, so that's the self-monitoring stuff.

And then I feel like there's, the time,

time is huge when it comes to like

just time awareness, right?

Like being aware of the passing of time, um,

how long things take, do I get sucked in

and then I realize it's two hours.

Oh my gosh. So I feel like time is definitely a big chunk

of, um, of executive function.

And then maybe planning,

'cause planning could be made, well, time management is part

of planning as well, but also working memory, being able to

remember what I have to do so I can make a plan to complete

the assignment, the project, the task, whatever it is.

Um, I'm trying

to think if I would say there was different phases.

So in the executive function world, there's not like one

standard list of all these skills.

The one I like to use has 11 skills on it.

Um, but you will sometimes see when you Google

executive function, like some lists we'll say like there's

three or five or eight,

but we're all sort of talking about the same thing.

The way I I tend

to talk about it more is very specifically like pull out the

very specific skills like working memory and planning

and task initiation

and finishing things,

which we would call goal directed persistence.

Um, so just in case anybody wants

to ever Google executive function, you might be confused

because there's a lot of different, um, ways

to, to describe it.

The, um, I use the list that comes from a book called Smart,

actually it doesn't come from Smart but scattered.

But there's a series of books by Dr.

Peg Dawson and Richard Gure.

They're called Smart But Scattered. Do you know it?


Sam: No, I've never heard of it. Yeah.


Carrie: So it's a great series.

So they, they, they're sort of pioneers in this area.

Um, and the,

their list comes from another book called Executive Skills

in Children and Adolescence.

But that's a great, I mean, if anybody's looking

for a resource, that's a great one

because that's how parents often describe their students

to me is like, they're so smart but a little scattered.

Um, and so they have a whole series of like smart

but scattered kids, smart

but scattered teens smart, but scattered adults.

Um, so that's the, if you Google it,

you might find other things, but theirs

is the list that I like.

Oh, that's so relatable. Smart, but scattered.

Yeah, I totally relate to that. Yeah,

There was a, there's another book I just, um,

was looking at the other day.

Ellen Broughton, I think is her name.

She wrote a book called, um, bright Kids who Can't Keep Up.

I think it's like the same kind of deal, right?

Like these, the same idea, like all these smart kids.

'cause the truth is like,

I feel like executive function is the

missing link in schools.

And I think, I think that that's the, that's the indicator

of how if you're, if a kid is gonna be successful is more

like executive function than it is how smart they are.

They have to be able to manage, you know?


Sam: Yeah. So what are some other signs?

We've kind of like mentioned them as we've talked through,

but like what would a parent maybe be picking up on

that would indicate that there's something going on

with executive functioning?


Carrie: Yeah, I mean, the miss, lots

of missing assignments comes up a lot.

Or not even knowing that their assignments are missing.

Um, sometimes it's a backpack, a um,

paper shoved in the bottom of the backpack,

can't find anything in the backpacks or the bedroom.

Um, sometimes it's, it's the rushing to get out the door,

like you said, like, oh, it's so stressful.

Or a teenager who cannot get to school on time on their own.

Um, those are the kinds of things that come up.

I, what we haven't talked about is, um,

emotional control and self-control.

Like, these are also executive function skills.

So being able to control the impulsive behavior

and big emotions.

And that of course is super tricky.

'cause they're adolescents, they're not really supposed

to be able to do this yet.

And sometimes that's, parents will say, my student is just,

they cannot, they blurt out, they interrupt.

They, um, have such a hard time controlling those impulses.

So I hear that a lot too.


Sam: And what do you see, you

mentioned you work with adults too.

What kind of things are you seeing in adults?


Carrie: Yeah, I'm finding, I, I just started

with a woman who's an entrepreneur, kind of like you

and me, works for herself, has her own sort

of online company.

Um, and she just wants so badly to, she has a vision

and a plan for sort of what this is gonna look like,

but she's really just having a hard time

getting the things done.

So it's people who are, they have jobs, they are in college,

they, you know, are trying to manage a family, but,

but it's getting to the point where they don't know where

to turn or how to do anything different.

Like it's sort of going in a cycle,

like running, running, running, running.

And nothing is different. So they, they come to me

to learn a few strategies to try

to get on top of some of that stuff.

And do you see at all that the kids that you work with,

maybe the parents also have, I feel like a lot

of the times these things kind of like run

in genetics and families.

Um, yeah, I mean, I don't know what the percentage is.

I used to have it in my head,

but I don't, yes, there's a great percentage of kids

who struggle with this stuff, also have a parent

who struggles with this stuff, whether it's a diagnosis

or not, it doesn't matter to me.

Um, that happens quite a lot. Yeah.

And actually, I, I am a coach who requires a parent

to be involved in all of our sessions with the student.

Not all executive fun function coaches do that,

but I just think part of it is that they,

the parent might get some benefit outta this also, but,

but the student is not ready to go it alone, right?

Like we just talked about, the brain is nowhere near ready.

And so I, I think it's super important

to teach the same strategies to the family, to parents

as well, so they can support their student.

I can imagine life just gets

so much more manageable too when they're both picking up on

those strategies and the parents like,

Oh wait, yeah, let's try.

And they can, and they have some language to use around it,

like some brain language or skills.

Like, I see you're having trouble getting started, you know,

like, that's so good, so good

to have those conversations with a kid.

And so if somebody doesn't get it addressed,

say the child is still struggling

and they don't kind of work on it,

how have you seen this affect them kind

of down the road long term, big picture?

Yeah, I mean, I just think it will continue

to be an issue, right?

Because brains, I mean, brains change, which is great,

but I would say, you know, you're still going

to be struggling with the same sort of stuff

unless you start to learn some strategies.

Like for example, so one

of my brains challenges is working memory.

I think it's gotten a lot worse as I get older,

but I think even in my youth,

I think my brain was not awesome at remembering things.

So what working memory is, is like just

what you need to keep front of mind.

So it's not like long-term memory.

It's not even really short-term memory,

but like in the moment, what do I need to,

to keep front of mind?

And I can't remember a thing unless I write something down

and I know that about myself.

And so I've just, that's my strategy

that I've used years and years and years.

So, so knowing that it's not gonna change,

but now I have a strategy.

So I think, I mean, student,

I think anytime a person seeks out coaching

or learning about this stuff is a great time.

So whether they're a college student or an adult

or like, it doesn't matter, it's a great time.

Um, but there will continue to be struggles, right?

Like if, if they, if a student doesn't learn this stuff, um,

there will be, there will be struggles in their life.

Like figuring out how to do their job

or live in an apartment with a, with a roommate

or a partner is just that these,

there will be continued struggles.

And that's not to say that coaching changes everything.

I mean, I like to think that, that it does,

but it's, it's very, it's a slow process,

but something is always better than nothing.

Yeah. And you also kind of mentioned at the beginning

of our episode, like a lot of those feelings of shame

and, and that kind of

Yeah. And that will continue, right?

Esteem. Yeah. Yes.

And that negative self-talk gets louder.

And, um, I, you know,

'cause one of the things if, if nothing else, my clients,

I'd love for them to just learn

and know that this is a brain thing

and it's not a a you thing, right?

Like, it's just a brain thing.

So that helps a lot, I think with the shame

and the negative self-talk

and the, this is how my brain works,

and being able to stick up and self-advocate.

I, I talk about that all the time too.

Like, stick up for your brain.

My brain learns best if,

or I learn best if my brain gets, you know, so kind

of having some little sound bites like that are helpful too.

Yeah. Well, let's kind of continue on that.

Sure. I know people are probably starting to itch

for the, okay, now what do I do?

What do I do? How do I do this?

How do I start making some changes?

Get off this hamster wheel. Yeah.


Sam: What are some simple strategies parents can maybe try at

home for themselves or their kids?


Carrie: Yeah, sure. So I mean, I would say first thing comes

to mind is, is to start to get curious, right?

Like, what if

the student is not being willful?

What if this behavior that I'm seeing

that is really challenging?

What if that is a skill thing?

And it, it's, that's what executive function is.

They're lagging skills, right?

Like, so students who struggle with this stuff, it's a skill

that is just a little bit delayed.

So one thing I would say is to start to get really curious,

um, for yourself and for your, your kids too.

Like how, when am I noticing challenging behaviors?

And could it be executive function?

Could it be they're sitting there staring at the assignment

for a long time and they haven't started?

Could it be that they just don't quite know how to start?

So this sort of like getting curious, um, which relates

to the language, right?

Like, I think language really matters.

So using, blaming the brain for this stuff, instead of you,

you can't get started or you are having,

you won't turn in your assignments.

Let's, I'd like to get away from stuff like that.

So language, getting curious.

Um, and then honestly, one of my,

the like most simple things I can say about, um, all

of it like, is to figure out how

to make things more visible for people.

So for yourself or like, keep things in your face.

So what I mean by that is there's a lot of stuff

that is invisible in our world.

So like time, for example, invisible, um, chores,

expectations, um, assignments,

especially if they get closed up in the,

in the iPad or the laptop.

Like lots of invisible stuff that is just outta sight

and out of mind, right?

So I like to say, let's try to make stuff more visible.

So that could mean, um,

clocks like an an i like an analog clock,

if you wanna know why I can, you know,

but I like an analog clock versus a digital clock,

but like keeping clocks in your face all the time.

Insight, I have one right here at

my desk that I can look at.

Um, keeping anything, if you have some sort of tasks

that you have to do today, like writing them down,

offloading 'em from your brain,

but like putting them somewhere where you will see it,

a sticky note or a whiteboard or a notebook

or a planner, something somewhere where you will see it.

Um, and I think it's important because we just forget a lot.

Um, things disappear.

And so I always say like,

make the invisible stuff more visible is a huge

and pretty simple thing, right?

Like to get it outta your head out of the iPad, out of the,

the ether of the world.

Uh, because time is weird.

So time, you know, like ke keep stuff in your face is a

great strategy to try. That's a simple win.


Sam: Oh, I love that. I feel like house tasks, things like

that, everything just used to get kind

of like thrown out and I forget about it.

I'm like, oh man, this, I haven't done this

in, you know, six months.

Yeah. And as I started to kind of write things down

and get it down on paper

and have it, like you said, like your sticky notes,

I have like my sticky of to-dos all day.

Uhhuh, it really does make a difference. Right?


Carrie: Right. Because you,

so I have a whiteboard in my kitchen.

We have two of 'em actually for, we each,

there's four of us in my family.

We each have a little section and I, that's

where I put the things that like I really have

to do today, not work related.

I have one of those on my desk, but this is more like,

I don't know, I have to call the doctor

and make an appointment or I have to, whatever,

like little things house wise, like you were saying,

or errands that I have to run

or pick up the kids at a certain time or something.

That's where I put that because I know I'll be in

the kitchen, I work from home.

I know I'll be in there, in and out, in and out, in and out.

So it's in my face that's, I had a seventh grader I worked

with and that's what he used to call

it in your face, right, Carrie?

Yeah. Keep it in your face.

Kids put it in the best words. Right? Yeah. Just in

Your face, uhhuh.

And for kids too. I also love the idea

of visual schedules.

Yeah. So like pictures,

because a lot of the kids who maybe are not reading ages yet

for some of those younger kids that are still learning.

Yes. I love that.

Like having pictures and little check boxes

to help them go through it.

Yeah. And you know, um, I,

there was a mom last night at this presentation that I did

who said she has a sophomore in high school who

they use visual pictures for things too.

Because sometimes brains that struggle with this stuff,

like they can't picture themselves doing the thing.

Like for instance, getting out the door in the morning,

like a picture of what,

what you look like when you are ready.

So you have your backpack on, maybe you have a jacket on,

maybe you're holding your iPad.

So you know, and you take a picture of it to refer to,

you have shoes on.

Same thing could be like with a bedroom, you know,

like you clean your room.

Ugh, that feels like a mountain.

I don't know how to, how do I clean my room?

Well, sometimes taking a picture of a clean room to refer

to can be really helpful for brains.


Sam: Oh,

That's such a good idea. Especially

when you can't remember where things go.


Carrie: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Like, oh, you, I see there's no trash on the,

like pick up the trash, maybe do that first.

And I see that the bed is made

and I see that whatever it is

that the requirements are in your family,

Oh, what a smart idea and what a great way to make it work

for their personal family too. Right? Totally.

Totally. Yep. So is there

a specific strategy that you love using for like

you or your clients the most?

Like, is there one you always find,

find yourself going back to?

Is it that like, making things visible?

I think it is, to be honest,

because that could, that comes up in lots of ways.

Like using a calendar, using an analog clock.

Um, even timers, timers are a great strategy

and those need to be kind of in your face too,

so you can see how much time is left.

Um, one more thing to think about, I guess, is

that we, we mentioned lists.

I'm, I, I'm a lifelong list maker.

I think I even have that in my bio.

Um, but the list is helpful only

if it's achievable.

So I love a brain dump where you like,

get it outta your head and, and write it on paper

'cause it's swirling, swirling,

swirling, and you're feeling overwhelmed.

But in terms of like what you're going to do today,

that list needs to be achievable.

So you can't have 20 things or 10 on your list.

So with students who maybe have lots of missing assignments,

you can't write 'em all down on one list

and show them to this to a student,

because that is totally overwhelming

and your brain will be like, whatever, I can't do that.

So very small. I like tiny lists.

1, 2, 3 items maybe at the most.

Um, so that's something I also use for myself.


Sam: Oh yeah. 'cause definitely

be overwhelming to have so many. Well, Carrie, thank you so much.

This has been so informative,

but can you tell everyone

where they can find you and continue learning?


Carrie: Sure. I have a website.

It's just my name, carrie bonnet.com.

Um, and I have a free resource too there if you'd like to,

and, and a email list that I send out, resources and tips

and ideas on the weekly.

Um, and that's carrie bonnet.com/blueprint.

It's my blueprint for helping your child get things done

without constant reminders.

Yeah, that sounds nice.


Sam: Well, I'll tag all of that,

that in the show notes too,

so everybody can find you. Thank



Carrie: Thanks,

Sam. This has been really fun.


Sam: Yeah,

Thanks for coming.


Legal***This post/podcast is not sponsored. The opinions and content of this blog/podcast are unique to the writers/speakers unless otherwise stated. No compensation is received for the links shared. All contents of this episode are based on our personal opinions and experiences.Disclaimers: The information provided by SAMANTHA N. GOLDMAN, LLC (“we,” “us” or “our”) on theot4me.com, http://drsamgoldman.com , and http://samantha-goldman.mykajabi.com (the “Site”) is for general informational purposes only. The Site cannot and does not contain medical advice. Any medical information is provided as my/our personal experiences is not a substitute for professional advice. Accordingly, before taking any actions based upon such information, we encourage you to consult with the appropriate professionals. We do not provide any kind of medical advice.THE USE OR RELIANCE OF ANY INFORMATION CONTAINED ON THIS SITE IS SOLELY AT YOUR OWN RISK. Although this blog/podcast contains external links WE DO NOT WARRANT, ENDORSE, GUARANTEE, OR ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ACCURACY OR RELIABILITY OF ANY INFORMATION OFFERED BY THIRD-PARTY WEBSITES LINKED THROUGH THE SITE OR ANY WEBSITE OR FEATURE LINKED IN ANY INFORMATION CONTAINED ON THIS SITE IS SOLELY AT YOUR OWN RISK. Although this blog/podcast contains external links WE DO NOT WARRANT, ENDORSE, GUARANTEE, OR ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ACCURACY OR RELIABILITY OF ANY INFORMATION OFFERED BY THIRD-PARTY WEBSITES LINKED THROUGH THE SITE OR ANY WEBSITE OR FEATURE LINKED IN ANY BANNER OR OTHER ADVERTISING.

Listen the the Podcast On Apple Podcasts!

(or Anchor podcasts) or (Spotify)

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Stay connected with news and updates!

Want to know when our new episode drops? Subscribe to our newsletter and you'll get notified each time an episode is released!

By Clicking "Submit" You Agree to Our Terms & Conditions Listed Under "Legal"