Easily distracted at school? Learn how to help a child focus in the classroom and at home.
Even if you’ve been out of school for many years, you probably still remember what it felt like to spend long days in the classroom.
It’s a beautiful day outside, but you’re trapped between four thick walls, listening to a lecture about the Pythagorean Theorem.
For children, there are a thousand other things more fun than school.
They’d rather play with toys or hang out with friends than pay attention in class.
Your kid may struggle with organizing their work, managing their time, and/or avoiding distractions.
To help your child do their best work at home and at school, here are a few tips that can improve their focus:
Focus on One Task
It can be hard to feel like the only one who doesn’t “get it” in a classroom.
When a child sees an assignment, they might feel overwhelmed at all the questions on it.
Instead of answering one, they may get lost in that anxiety.
If a child deals with this stress, emphasize how they only need to answer one question at a time.
They don’t need to know all the answers immediately.
Let them know that they shouldn’t worry if their classmates complete tests faster than they do.
Everyone works at their own pace!
There’s a never-ending debate about whether multitasking is more efficient, or if it divides your focus too much to be useful.
But if a child struggles to juggle tasks, encourage them to stick to one at a time.
Anything more can be too much.
Related reading: 30 Effective Impulse Control Strategies for Kids.
Explore School Accommodations with your Child’s Teacher
Helping a child transition back to school can be challenging.
They may be used to the loose and leisurely days of summer vacation (or stay-at-home learning due to the pandemic).
The last thing they want to do is sit in a classroom all day.
How do you help your child readjust to an academic setting?
Let your child’s teachers know that they have trouble focusing.
The school can adjust their work environment so that it’s easier for them to concentrate.
These are some school accommodation examples:
- They can send your child to a different room to write tests or work on difficult assignments.
- It might be helpful to change your child’s seat in the classroom; if they’re too close to their friends or a window, they might lose focus easily,
- Is the noise level of the classroom an issue? Send your child to school with earplugs. They can use these whenever they’re doing schoolwork, but the noise is too distracting for them. Make sure your child knows not to use them when the teacher is talking!
When you eliminate all distractions, your child will find it easier to focus on their work.
- Chairs for Kids with ADHD: 10 Alternative Seating Ideas for the Classroom
- ADHD Fidget Toys: How to Use Fidgeting Devices to Help Focus in the Classroom
Adjustments like these in the classroom setting will prevent your child from falling behind in their classes.
Take Breaks & Try Meditation
Children will lose focus if they work on one task for too long.
It’s important to take breaks to give their minds a rest and refresh their concentration.
How often and how long to rest will vary for everyone.
It may take some trial and error to find the ideal time to stop working for a bit.
Even though your child is at school, it’s still important to take breaks when needed.
But what’s the best way to improve a child’s focus during a break?
Research shows that meditation is a helpful way to boost one’s concentration and attention span.
To teach your kid how to meditate, try these simple steps:
- Find a comfortable, quiet place to sit up straight. At school, this might be the library or a reading corner. Try sitting on the floor on a soft pillow.
- Close your eyes and begin to focus on your breath. You may encounter distracting thoughts and worries, but do your best to think about your breath: where it comes from, how it feels, and the way your body expands and contracts.
- Stay there for as long as you need. During school hours, your child might spend 5-10 minutes meditating after an hour of work.
Talk to your Child’s Doctor about ADHD
Staying focused in the classroom is challenging for students of all ages and skill levels, but it is especially difficult for those with ADHD.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that causes children to have trouble controlling impulses, attention, and fidgeting.
ADHD is a commonly diagnosed neurodevelopmental disorder in children.
If you’re concerned that your child may have ADHD, schedule an appointment with a pediatrician.
How to Help a Child Focus in the Classroom
Is it ever easy for children to focus on their schoolwork?
Improving one’s concentration in the classroom is a matter of strategy.
With time and patience, it’s a skill that can be developed and improved upon.
Help your child stay focused by implementing the above tips.
And for some extra tips, you may be interested in reading ⇒ How to help kids with impulse control issues
Author’s bio: Veronica Wallace is a childhood educator and blogging enthusiast. Some of her favorite articles can be found on the KIDTHINK website. KIDTHINK employs leading child psychologists that specialize in offering clinical treatment of mental illness in children aged twelve and under.
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