How to Help your Child Focus at Home and at School
Do you want your child to focus better? You lose sleep worried “How can I help my child focus?” I understand. This past year we had some trouble with our son focusing at school. Now, it’s not lack of intelligence or behavior issues. He was not focusing on the task. Granted, not focusing can become a behavior problem if not addressed quickly. Today’s kids are sitting at their desks for long periods even at younger ages. Some children have more difficulty with this than others. My child was having trouble focusing. I needed to find ways to help my child focus at home and at school.
I realized that focusing does not come easily to many children. Like anything else, focusing is not something that children just know. It is a learned skill that needs to be taught and reinforced. Learning strategies to help them focus starts at home. The ability to focus will enable your child to prepare for a lifetime of learning. Once they learn these techniques they’ll function better in school as well. Children can follow these strategies to help improve their ability to focus.
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Strategies to help focus at home
- At home model finishing tasks
- Use a sticker chart for home tasks
- Before starting a task make sure all screens and TVs are off
- No multitasking
Research is clear on the topic of multitasking. Multitasking reduces our concentration and lowers our performance. Help your child do one thing at a time. Focus on completing that one task.
- Give your child structured time for different tasks
Your child doesn’t need to sit for over an hour to eat a small dinner. Give them the same amount of time they would have for lunch in school. Sometimes using a timer can help. We use a timer set to 25 min for dinner and breakfast.
- Encourage and remind each morning to stay on task (No Yelling!)
- Have a Homework Space
Have a designated area for homework. This area should reduce distractions and help your child to focus on their work.
- Breaking task down
If you have a large task that needs to be done you can break down the larger task into smaller easier tasks. Do the first part of the task and then build after each one is completed. This also helps so your child doesn’t get overwhelmed and want to give up. They will have better success by breaking down the big tasks.
- Exercise in the morning
This really helps get the blood pumping and get some energy out. Movement is shown to help motivate the brain. We used to read a book or listen to music but realized he needs to be able to move around before sitting for long periods of time. I learned that days he has music are harder because it is another point in the day that he has to sit.
- Have your child repeat these statements each morning before they leave: I will Listen. I will focus. I will have a great day.
These strategies will help them focus at home and at school. They will help improve attention and concentration. We need to remember, the way we speak to our children has an impact, both good and bad. When we speak to our children we want them to truly hear what we are saying. They need to learn to focus on a task but also focus when someone is listening.
When speaking to your children these tips will help them focus and listen to what you are saying.
- Get down to their level- it’s easier for them to focus if they aren’t looking up at you
- Make eye contact
- Have them repeat back to you what you said. Repeating things out loud helps to remember.
- Give your child time to hear what you say and respond
- Think about your language and own behavior. Stay calm and don’t yell.
- Have them close their eyes and count to 10
- This tip is for children who are having a hard time. Have them slow down, take deep breaths and count.
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These strategies will help develop a child’s well being and set them up for future success. Use these activities to improve attention and concentration. It’s very easy to get distracted and get lost in the moment. We need to help teach kids how to focus on the task at hand.
Here is a wonderful article from PBS Kids that discussed this same topic. They give more strategies for kids to help focus and concentrate. http://www.pbs.org/parents/expert-tips-advice/2016/01/tips-helping-child-focus-concentrate/
P.S. Here you can get FREE Gross Motor Activities to get your kids moving. Movement helps to focus better. Sign up here!