(Posted by a Guest Blogger, Ken Z.) For parents, there are times when all children need a little help perfecting their concentration skills. From pre-school through high school graduation, concentration is required to learn and succeed.
Some parents falsely believe that when children are unable to stay on task for very long that they must have some form of attention deficit disorder. Often children merely need to be shown different methods to stay on task. To help them succeed, try various strategies to boost concentration ability.
- Get Rid of Distractions
When children are trying to mentally engage in schoolwork or some other task, television, music or other extraneous noise can be highly detrimental for a child trying to focus. Turning off all distracting noise is the first step to better concentration ability.
- Do Not Interfere
As a parent, it is natural to feel the urge to step in and assist the child when they appear to be struggling with something. As normal as this instinct is, try to refrain from interfering and let the child work it out for him or herself. Believe it or not, when they need a parent to help them, they will ask. You will soon find out that most of the time they will figure it out alone.
- Create a Reward System as Encouragement
A reward system is a prime motivator in keeping a child focused on the task. Start small to build confidence. Assign a duty of short duration, no more than five minutes or so. When the child completes this job, reward him or her with whatever treat that works best.
Increase the tasks assigned in increments. Instead of a five-minute chore, make the next one ten to fifteen minutes. Use reward and praise to keep the child motivated. Before long, staying on task is second nature for a child.
- Break it Up
When a child feels overwhelmed, it is not unusual for them to “check out” of the situation. While it is tempting to tell him or her to get their homework done as soon as they get home from school, it is not the right strategy for a child who has difficulty with focus.
Instead, have him or her complete one subject first, such as a reading lesson. Then grant a bit of free playtime and set a timer. Let the child know that when the timer is heard, he or she must go sit down and work on another subject, such as math. Repeat this process until all assigned schoolwork is complete.
While practice does not always make perfect, applying these strategies will give children with concentration deficiencies a leg up. These methods are not only great for a child’s educational interactions, but they also provide benefits for their adult future.
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Ken actively writes articles about innovative parenting tips. He currently works at The Little Gym which provides fun kid activities in Houston.