Have you ever found yourself in a position where you were struggling to hold your kids focus in order to teach them something? If your kid is easily distracted from tasks, you’re in the right place. Here are 9 tips to help you improve your kids concentration.
- Identify & Contextualise
Before you begin to make improvements to your childs concentration, the first and most essential step is for you to identify and contextualise. This means that you must first identify what kind of learning it is that captivates your kid the most, is it visual, linguistic, or conceptual? This will help you help them better, as you can tailor their learning experience to them, and make sure you know they are enjoying it as well as absorbing the information. As for the contextualising aspect, you must also identify and understand the context of their lack of concentration. Could it be the time of day, an empty stomach, or just tiredness? Once this has been noted, you can set your kids timetable around this information and make sure they’ll have the energy for it.
- Creative Alternatives
Having said that, more often than not the issue tends to be that the child is simply not a fan of the task they are being told to do, so it won’t hold their attention for very long. In cases like that, it’s best to find creative alternatives and solutions to the problem. For instance, where doing mathematical sums may not be enjoyable for your child, you can always turn it into a fun activity just by using Lego blocks or other toys to represent the numbers.
- Give to Receive
The most common fact about children is that they tend to follow by example; no matter how subtle or insignificant an action may seem to you, they notice it and pick up on it. Therefore, one of the best ways to teach your kid to develop a larger attention span would be to make sure they know that they have your undivided attention. This doesn’t simply mean to always be watching them, but even the small act of entering the room your child is in to give them instructions instead of calling out from a different room would help a lot.
- Minimise Distractions
This step is vital, no matter how old your kid may be. Especially in this day and age, where electronic gadgets are seen as essential. Every parent should make sure their child is spending only a limited amount of time on a phone or an iPad, so as to reduce the risk of an addiction later down the line. Additionally, not having the gadget within reach at all times will help your child grow increase their ability to focus.
- Physical Activity
It’s been said before, but it’s a rule of thumb that’s stood the test of time and still stands true, so here it is again: exercising the muscles of the body also exercises those of the brain. It has been proven that physical activity goes a long way in not only stretching the brain span of a child, but also their attention span. When kids feel fresh, rejuvenated and energetic is when they are the most eager and keen to take in new information, and it sticks!
- Breaking It Down
Often, kids display a lack of concentration if the information they’re given seems to be excessive or complex. When they are intimidated by the task at hand, their brain automatically tells them that it will be too hard, so they tend to try only for a couple of minutes before getting distracted. A way to prevent this from happening would be to break down their tasks into bite-sized pieces, and to tell them what to do step-by-step. Even entering their room and saying, “I need you to do so-and-so, and then once you finish that, I’ll tell you what I need you to do next.” will go a long way. It lets them know a simplified version of what they are expected to do, while also understanding that more instructions will follow.
Bonus tip: saying that you need their help to do something is more effective than most other phrases, as it gives them a boost of self-esteem, and they will do the job better so as to impress you.
- Timetables & Routine
Most children respond exceptionally well to a routine when it is set early on in their life. Having an hour or two set aside each day for studying (or anything else they may have difficulty concentrating on) makes sure that they know to expect it and learn to focus for that long over time. This is particularly true if this session is kept before playtime or a session of an activity they enjoy, as it urges them to do the expected task well so that they get to play or “have fun” as a reward for it.
- Focus Games
A big tip to follow at times when your kid may not be working, is to encourage them to play games that require focus and concentration. This is so that they are stretching their natural attention span while doing something they enjoy doing. Examples of such games are jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, and sudoku, to name a few.
- Downtime & Energy Distribution
It is vital not only to a kids health but also their brain that they receive enough rest and downtime, where they can recharge. This is connected to the point of setting routines, as you should make sure to always schedule some time each day where they can relax, particularly in order increase their concentration and focus.
If you’re looking for more, we also have a blog about how a STEM education improves a kids concentration. You can read that here.