The best books to help children with ADHD boost executive functioning skills

Rebecca Branstetter Author Of The Everything Parent's Guide to Children with Executive Functioning Disorder: Strategies to help your child achieve the time-management skills, ... needed to succeed in school and life
By Rebecca Branstetter

Who am I?

Is there a Japanese or Dutch word for "One who loves to geek out on organizational strategies, productivity (and post-its) SO MUCH they focus their career on it?" If there is, um......that's me. I'm Dr. Rebecca Branstetter, and I've been a school psychologist and collector of practical strategies to support students with executive functioning challenges for over 20 years. As the author of The Everything Parents Guide to Executive Functioning and creator of the “How to Teach Children and Teens Executive Functioning Skills” masterclass, my passion is to help kids figure out how they learn, what's getting in the way of their potential, and what to do about it!


I wrote...

The Everything Parent's Guide to Children with Executive Functioning Disorder: Strategies to help your child achieve the time-management skills, ... needed to succeed in school and life

By Rebecca Branstetter,

Book cover of The Everything Parent's Guide to Children with Executive Functioning Disorder: Strategies to help your child achieve the time-management skills, ... needed to succeed in school and life

What is my book about?

Being organized. Staying focused. Controlling impulses and emotions. These are some of the basic executive functioning (EF) skills children need to function and succeed as they grow. But what can you do if your child is struggling with one or all of these skills?

As a school psychologist, I’ve worked with hundreds of children and teens with ADHD and executive functioning disorders on improving vital EF skills at school. One piece that was always missing was supporting parents, who want practical tools to support EF at home. That’s why I wrote this book! In this hands-on guide, you'll learn what EF difficulties look like and how you can help your child overcome these challenges.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Make Social and Emotional Learning Stick!: Practical Activities to Help Your Child Manage Emotions, Navigate Social Situations & Reduce Anxiety

By Elizabeth Sautter,

Book cover of Make Social and Emotional Learning Stick!: Practical Activities to Help Your Child Manage Emotions, Navigate Social Situations & Reduce Anxiety

Why this book?

So often, executive functioning challenges like impulse control, difficulties with attention, and trouble with organization are thought of as isolated skills to be taught as an “add on” lesson. However, there are easy ways to teach executive functioning skills as an “add IN” to what parents and educators are already doing throughout the day. I recommend this book because it helps teach executive functioning in everyday routines, like cooking, going to the store, and on the playground. I really love the colorful and ready-to-use pages in this book! The author also sells a really cool card deck you can get to take with you “on the go” to boost not only executive functioning but also emotional regulation and social communication.

Lost at School: Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges Are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them

By Ross W. Greene,

Book cover of Lost at School: Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges Are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them

Why this book?

I’ve been a huge fan of Ross Greene’s work for a long time because he is changing the way parents and educators look at children with behavioral challenges. His powerful motto, “Kids do well when they can” is a call for teaching lagging executive skills, instead of punishing kids for having executive functioning challenges. Instead of thinking of a child with ADHD as being a “behavior problem” or “unmotivated”, Dr. Greene's Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) approach helps parents and educators focus on the true factors contributing to challenging behaviors, empowering educators to address these factors and create helping relationships with their most at-risk kids.


Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents: A Practical Guide to Assessment and Intervention

By Peg Dawson, Richard Guare,

Book cover of Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents: A Practical Guide to Assessment and Intervention

Why this book?

I love a book you can pick up and use right away with students with ADHD and executive functioning, which is why I love this book. Filled with practical and easy photocopying, there’s great reproducible forms and handouts. Great for educators and mental health professionals!


Self-Reg: How to Help Your Child (and You) Break the Stress Cycle and Successfully Engage with Life

By Stuart Shanker,

Book cover of Self-Reg: How to Help Your Child (and You) Break the Stress Cycle and Successfully Engage with Life

Why this book?

This book is great for parents because it not only explains why children with executive functioning struggle with managing their behaviors, but it also explains how parents can respond differently. He provides examples of how parents can shift from reacting with anger and frustration to a child’s difficulties to modeling and teaching children to calm themselves and bring their rational thinking brain back online.


The Classroom Mystery: A Book about ADHD

By Tracy Packiam Alloway, Ana Sanfelippo (illustrator),

Book cover of The Classroom Mystery: A Book about ADHD

Why this book?

This picture book for elementary-aged students is a great one because it helps shift the focus of ADHD as a “deficit” to a potential strength. I’m a big believer in educating children with ADHD and executive functioning about how their brain works differently, which can sometimes be a good thing! This book can be read to students with or without ADHD and includes a page of discussion questions to build awareness and empathy for students with ADHD.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in ADHD, executive function, and parenting?

5,888 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about ADHD, executive function, and parenting.

ADHD Explore 24 books about ADHD
Executive Function Explore 5 books about executive function
Parenting Explore 116 books about parenting

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like 100 Ways to Calm the Crying, The Whole-Brain Child, and Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child if you like this list.