We all want the best for our kids. That is why we spend so much time making sure that they are developing behaviors and mannerisms that will help them function in the long term. One of the most helpful pieces of wisdom we can pass down is the ever-important ability to concentrate.
Being able to concentrate will not only help younger children tremendously in their school-age years, but this important skill will continue to be relevant throughout many facets of their lives. Hopefully, technology will have improved by the time our kids would be worrying about boring work Zoom meetings that easily could have been emails.
That said, chances are they will still have to fight the midday blues and distractions to focus on whatever new technological advancement has replaced them. So, yes, teaching your kids the importance of listening in math class today will definitely help them during the hologram Zoom meetings of the future. The necessity of learning to focus is not in question, but determining exactly how to teach your kids this valuable life skill can be a bit more tricky.
Some kids will take to rapt attention more easily than others, even in academic subjects that they do not find to be the most interesting. However, in all likelihood, even the most studious of kids will need some guidance from time to time.
Before we explore exactly how to help our kids focus, let’s explore why this is a problem in the first place.
Why Do Kids Have Trouble Focusing?
A child's mind is fueled by imagination. Their imaginations make them vivid and creative storytellers, excellent during playtime, and help to keep every moment interesting. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be less than helpful when it comes to prolonged periods of concentration. The key is to work with your child’s imagination, not against it.
Some of the more concrete issues that can lead to inattention include:
- Not getting enough sleep. Young kids need between ten and eleven hours of rest a night to recharge. Otherwise, they may be groggy or tend to underperform the next day.
- It may be worth making bedtime a bit earlier to see if a lack of sleep could be the culprit. To help your little ones get all the rest they need, consider using a natural SleepyPatch.
- Anxiety. Talk to your child about how they are feeling. If they’re preoccupied with other troubling thoughts, it makes sense that they would not be able to concentrate to the best of their ability. Mental health is critical for happiness, but also self-confidence and self-control.
- Inadequate nutrition. Kids are constantly growing, so they need to eat more often than adults. We have to make sure that our kids are getting all the nutrients they need over the course of the day to stay healthy and be their best.
When To Ask For Help
There are a few main reasons that kids and their peers can have trouble focusing in school and in other aspects of their lives. Some of these explanations could require a diagnosis (ADHD—Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, OCD, a learning disability, an anxiety disorder, etc.). These cases should always be handled with the help of a trained professional.
If you suspect the root of your child’s difficulties in school or with concentration could be something other than just occasional daydreaming, be sure to speak with their doctor or psychologist.
1. Use a Natural Focus Aid
Now that we know why children may have trouble focusing, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to help them be their best each and every day. Natural focus aids are an effective, safe, and 100% harsh chemical-free option to help combat attention problems.
The Natural Patch Co. offers a helpful and chemical-free FocusPatch that is wonderful for both children and adults. Kids will love the fun faces featured on the stickers, while adults will appreciate the drug-free results.
Simply stick the FocusPatch onto a shirt where the full benefits can be enjoyed. They work by using a precise and successful blend of essential oils to facilitate heightened concentration.
The combination of lemon, atlas cedarwood, bergamot, and peppermint essential oils all work together in a mixture proven to help people of any age focus. The FocusPatch is just one of a line of Parent Tested Parent Approved patches that help kids live their very best lives.
2. Create and Follow a Routine
One of the best ways to help kids focus on a regular basis is to make sure they know what to expect. Children thrive off of routines, and they often crave them. The stability from a proper schedule makes them feel at ease, and always knowing what to expect takes away any anxiety about the unknown.
If our kids know to expect a certain period of time after school is “homework time,” they will be more likely to take part without much of a fuss. Following a routine will also help them in their day-to-day lives at school.
3. Focus on Just One Specific Task at a Time
While young children are fantastic at many things, no one would say that multitasking is one of them. Kids tend to either have a one-track mind, or a mind that will go in a million directions at once, often not holding onto one idea for long enough to see it through.
As we age, many (but not all of us) gain the ability to work on multiple projects at once, making incremental progress on them all. Typically, a child's brain does not work like that.
Instead, kids can get easily overwhelmed if faced with too many tasks to do at once. This can cause them to shut down, leading to avoidance, and making performing the tasks nearly impossible.
Instead, we need to work with our kids on only a single project at a time. That way, they get a sense of accomplishment out of a job well done, and everything feels much more attainable. Break instructions down into smaller parts to help their attention span. This is as useful in a study session as it is in household chores.
However, even if a child does not have multiple tasks to work on at once, they may have one large project to tackle. If this seems too complicated or taxing, the prospect of all this work can still cause a child to become frustrated. That is where our next tip comes in handy to help your child focus.
4. Break Big Tasks Into Small Parts
When we work on larger projects and bigger tasks as adults, we can inevitably feel overloaded with just how much we have to do. Eventually, though, we put it all into perspective by utilizing mechanisms we have developed over time. Children have not yet had the time to find these techniques for themselves, but this is where a bit of gentle coaching goes a long way.
One of the tips that work best for avoiding burnout in kids is to take a large home assignment and turn it into smaller, more manageable tasks. For instance, if a child has a large book report due, instruct them to first read a chapter a night.
That reasonable amount of work will feel much more doable than looking at all the work that has to be done.
5. Set Reasonable Goals and Expectations
At the end of the day, kids are kids. They are capable of accomplishing incredible and extraordinary feats, but we should always remember that they have their limits, just like anyone else. Be sure to give ample breaks (more on that later) and slowly transition between subjects or topics.
It’s important that we do not set out to do more than our kids are ready for, as this can result in them shutting down and being even further behind than when we started. We should know what our kids are capable of and push them to be their best. That said, we should always encourage rather than discourage, validate their feelings, and celebrate their victories.
6. Have Pre-Planned Breaks and Set Timers
This comes back to a similar psychological principle as breaking projects into smaller tasks. We all function better when we know there is an end in sight.
Doing work, no matter how difficult or simple it may be, with seemingly no reprieve, is enough to get anyone down in the dumps, especially kids. Instead, resolve to work on a certain task or subject for a predetermined amount of time and then have a break.
For instance, do a half-hour of a homework assignment followed by a quick snack, or perhaps a play break with their favorite toy outside on a nice day. Older children may appreciate some yoga as well. Breaks are best spent apart from cell phones, laptops, and screen time.
Not only do children work harder and more productively this way, but it will keep them in good spirits, allowing them to concentrate for longer periods of time.
Focusing for a Better Tomorrow
People of any age can experience difficulty focusing, but this can be especially pronounced in our children. The good news is that by helping them, listening to their needs, and creating a plan to help them concentrate based on their unique personality, there are many ways to make our kids into expert concentrators.
Having these skills will undoubtedly help them substantially in school, but you are also gifting them with talents that will last a lifetime.
Why Can’t My Child Concentrate at School? | RCH
Helping Kids Back Into the School Routine | Child Mind Institute
Kid's Healthy Eating Plate | The Nutrition Source | Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health