Helping your Child Focus Better
Do you want your child to focus better? You lose sleep worried “How can I help my child focus?” I understand. 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.
This is a long post and I understand you may not have the time to read this now. Instead of scrolling through why don’t I send you the cliff notes version so you can read it when it’s good for you. (Remember how great cliff notes were?)
How can I help my child focus? That’s what your thinking before bed.
This past year we had some trouble with our son focusing at school. Now, it’s not a 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.
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.
Watch this video to learn more about helping your child focus. She discusses many strategies I have mentioned and shows you products that I’ve recommended.
How to help a child focus in the classroom
- Try to determine what type of learner the child is
Do they learn visually, auditory or kinesthetic
- Divide bigger tasks into smaller tasks when possible
Children and adults have better success to finish a task when it’s broken down into manageable tasks first.
- Give instructions
- Move seats away from windows and children they want to talk to
- Find ways to increase motivation
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.
To help keep your child’s school gear coming home make sure to get Mabel’s Labels. They will prevent you from hearing “Mom I lost my hat” ever again.
Activities to improve attention and concentration. These will help your child 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.
Be sure to check out
15 Terrific Ideas for Family Connect Nights and
20 Questions to get your Child talking about School
Tips to remember when reading to your child
Try these focus games for kids
- Play Concentration
- Ask 20 questions
- Freeze dance
- SIMON GAME
- Count backward from a large number
- Letter writing on your back
Be sure to ask questions to help them stay on task and remember what is happening. (go here for best tips when reading together)
- Make a chore or boring task a game.
Make it a competition and see who can pick up more toys under 30 secs. You can have them only pick up items that are a certain color.
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.
Ways to help your child focus at home and at school
Here is a wonderful article from PBS Kids that discussed this same topic. They give more strategies for kids to help focus and concentrate.
Help your child stay on track with this review packet. Written by a teacher for grade level review. Perfect for school breaks and summer. Click below to get yours today.
P.S. Wait! Don’t go before you grab your Guide to helping your child focus better. Refer to it when you have the time.
Great tips! We struggle with some screen time I’ll admit, especially with my 2-year-old… So much easier at times to just give in:(
We definitely struggle with Focus in this house. ADHD mom and child. We often use some of these strategies and they have been a great help.
That’s great to hear. Focusing is hard for many children.
I’ll definetly be using this pretty soon 🙂 I’m about to have a baby.
Kids now a days struggle focusing on their tasks. Thanks for the useful tips you shared in this post. Love it.. 🙂
This is a great article. My nephew struggles with focusing, so I am going to try some of these tips for him.
Yes, try them. Doing all these together really helped my son. Would love to hear how it goes.
Screen time is definitely a struggle in our home! I think with the advances in technology it is getting harder and harder to enforce this one – but I’m just as guilty with my own screen time. It’s definitely something we are working on by finding more “other stuff” to do like going outside or playing board games and stuff like that.
It’s so hard to put the screens down. Games are great for children of all ages. Older kids may resist at first but will enjoy the game once they start. Have family time, put down the phones and reconnect with each other. Enjoy!
The having a dedicated homework space and a dedicated homework time are so important for kids. It actually gets them in the right mindset to focus because they know this is the time to do something and this may be the only time that they can do it.
Yes, having a specific work space is a way to improve attention and concentration and help kids. Using all these strategies together will help your child focus better.
It is so nice to have all these great tips and resources in one place! I’ve often struggled to find a consistency with some students. I think the main culprit has been setting up the room in an efficient and productive manner. I need to focus more on creating spaces/centers that will challenge and reward students for their desire to learn! I teach an animation class, so it is important for me to balance ‘screen time’ (which is the main medium for all projects) with peer-to-peer collaboration, socialization, and traditional making. All-in-all, I’ve been happy to discover that kids are just excited to be working with materials and creating their own narratives, whether it is digitally or using more traditional materials…
I find that making learning relevant to their interests is a big benefit to both keeping them focused and developing lifelong inquiry-based learners. I’m looking forward to implementing these strategies into a plan that works for me and the students!
The class you teach sounds wonderful. I would have loved a class like that. It’s a great way to get them involved and experience hands-on learning. When children are struggling to focus their behavior can change and then they won’t be learning either. Try these strategies to help them focus. You can also maybe let them stand for a min. When they get into the classroom have everyone do a 2 min stretch to get ready. These are quick things that you can do to get them ready to learn. Keep me updated with what works in the classroom.
Both of my children have auditory processing issues so I appreciate that you mention considering what type of learner they are. My kids NEED visual reminders to stay focused – for schedules, for assignments and assessments. Graphic organizers are key! Thanks for sharing.
No one learns the same way. I struggled a bit in school when teachers would only teach it one way. When someone showed me a different way to get the same answer I then understood. Visuals help children stay focused. It also helps the parents not have to redirect them 100 times. Using a visual is more effective than yelling to finish your work.
I am glad you mentioned about having a dedicated homework space. This can help limit distractions and help develop a routine for that space.
Yes, exactly. Having their own space helps the body and mind prepare for what they will be doing. By having a dedicated workspace it will help them focus at home and at school. Routines help to have less stress and frustration.