Whether it’s studying for an exam or rehearsing a dance routine, practice makes perfect. But practice requires a lot of focus! Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s something many children struggle with. In a 2016 study, it was determined that approximately 6.1 million children in the United States under 17 had been diagnosed with ADHD or ADD. While it may be a staggering statistic, there are solutions. A few easy, everyday tips can help your child focus so they’ll succeed at what they set their mind to.
Pick One Thing to Help Your Child Focus
Multitasking may be a common skill for an adult. However, being able to do this successfully is the result of first developing focus. If you child has to do math homework, finish their chores, and read a book, have them do one thing at a time. This will help your child focus naturally so they can self-monitor and give their best to the task at hand. Playing games like ‘I Spy’ with them can help to develop this skill.
Break the Task Down
When it comes to helping your child focus, a challenging task is going to make it even more difficult. Instead of going all in, take it bit by bit. For example, if you’re teaching them to ride a bike, make sure they’re comfortable on the bike first. You can then have them pump the pedals so they can get accustomed to that aspect of cycling. They’ll have the confidence to put it together once they know each piece of the puzzle.
Make the Activity Interesting
When choosing activities to help your child focus, it’s important that it’s something they like doing. If you’re pushing them towards a train set or coloring books and they’re not interested, they won’t engage. Try to get them talking with Chat Chains so you’ll know what really interests them. Attending to things we’re not always interested in may be a part of life. But by starting out with what does, it will help to cement the fundamentals of focus.
Minimize Outside Distractions
Children get distracted much easier than adults. That’s why the sound of a TV in the background or a barking dog can break their concentration. If you’re determining how to help your child focus better, try giving them their own space. A desk in their room or a reading corner can be ideal. If it’s not necessary, ensure they don’t have access to a laptop, phone, or television so they can’t be sidetracked.
Schedule Time for Breaks
In order to truly concentrate, children – especially young ones – will need a little time away from the thing they’re concentrating on. Be sure to schedule breaks that will let them move around, burn some energy, or do deep breathing exercises. A little breather might seem counter to helping your child focus on homework or at school. However, the shift that comes from expelling some energy can help them re-engage with the task.
Focus may seem like an automatic thing we take for granted. But the ability to focus can mean increased happiness, improved academic performance and the ability to manage stress! That’s why it’s such an important skill for children to develop. By breaking a task down and minimizing distractions, you can help your child focus so concentration will simply become a habit.
PBS Kids for Parents. Tips for Helping Your Child Focus and Concentrate. https://www.pbs.org/parents/thrive/tips-for-helping-your-child-focus-and-concentrate
Parents. Teach Your Child to Focus. https://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/development/behavioral/teach-your-child-to-focus/
Additude Mag. ADHD Statistics: New ADD Facts and Research. https://www.additudemag.com/statistics-of-adhd/