The development of executive attention serves the child with mechanisms that allow an increased voluntary control of thoughts and feelings and is tightly linked to the development of self-regulation. This function shows a protracted development along childhood and early adolescence with a major period of maturation during preschool years. I will present some research showing the influence of both genetic and environmental factors that contribute to individual differences in attention and self-regulation. In the last part of the talk, I will present efforts to train this function in the preschool children and show evidence of training benefits at the cognitive and brain function level. This research provides a deeper understanding of the development of executive control, the factors that contribute to individual differences in efficiency, and the type of experiences that may promote children’s self-regulation skills.