Have a child who can’t seem to sit still to do homework or have quiet time at home? You’re not alone. Unlike grownups, who understand the necessity of completing tasks whether we enjoy it or not, children get bored quickly, preferring to seek out more interesting things. Ahead, we share what parents can do to encourage children to focus on tasks at hand, and improve their concentration.
Kids who easily lose focus might find it more difficult to screen out distractions unless they are engaging in tasks that they really enjoy. Whether it’s settling down to do homework or reading a book during quiet time, try to keep your child’s learning environment free of possible distractions. The usual suspects such as phones and tablets should obviously be kept away, but even the smallest things like hearing loud music or sounds from the TV could divert your child’s attention.
Set a time-based goal
For older kids, setting a reasonable time limit for completing a goal can help to increase their motivation to complete the task. Make sure that your child will be able to cope with the time limits set because not being able to reach the target can cause stress and lower your child’s self-esteem. If you’re training a younger child to focus better, try suggesting that he or she concentrate on an activity for five to 10 minutes, then take a break.
Giving your child a short break to rest and recharge in between doing tasks that require their full concentration will increase your child’s ability to stay focused for longer.
Focus on one thing at a time
Research has shown that multitasking reduces concentration; train your child to focus on one thing at a time instead of tackling multiple tasks at once. This will help them to focus on what’s in front of him or her rather than thinking of different things. Also, keep your instructions simple especially when telling younger children what to do. Take a step-by-step approach that will give them a clear idea of what to do at any given time.
Divide a big task into smaller tasks
Help children approach challenging tasks by breaking it down into manageable pieces. Besides making a huge task seem less overwhelming, this strategy will increase your child’s sense of achievement as they tick off each step, thus motivating them to see the task to completion.
Play games that require focus
There are plenty of games that can help to train and strengthen your child’s ability to focus. From simple picture card matching to practising patterns and sequences and other memory games, these easy activities are a fun way to improve your child’s concentration. Not everything has to be about homework!