The present study examined the relationship between parents’ mental-state talk and preschoolers’ executive function. Seventy-two children participated in the present study, as well as their mothers and fathers. When children were enrolled in the second preschool year, mothers’ and fathers’ use of mental-state references were assessed during a shared picture-book reading task with the child. Later, four months before admission to the first grade, preschoolers’ executive function was measured. Hierarchical regression analysis revealed that maternal, but not paternal, mental-state talk was a significant predictor of children’s executive function composite, even after accounting for child gender, age, verbal ability, and parental education. When looking at each of the EF components, maternal mental-state talk proved to be a predictor of set-shifting whereas no significant relations emerged with inhibitory control or working memory. These findings add to prior research on parenting quality and executive function in preschoolers. (Author abstract)
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