How to get your child to focus when he or she is easily distracted.

Imagine how you'd feel if your child sat still for thirty minutes and focused on their work. Their room is silent except for the scratch of a pencil as they work to solve yet another question.

Make this a reality by implementing these simple strategies to improve your child's focus:

1. 🎧 Reduce background noise. 

When your child is studying, try to keep the background noise to a minimum. This includes noises from TV, games, and phone calls, among other things. If you have two kids, plan their study schedules in a way that they are both studying at the same time. Alternatively, you could tell the one who isn't studying to go outside to play or engage them in a fun (but silent) activity like painting or solving puzzles. 

Since creating a peaceful study zone may be challenging due to space constraints, we've put together a small how-to guide on setting up conducive learning environments in small homes.

2. 🏃 Make time for physical activity.

Some of your child’s restlessness may be the result of pent-up energy. As parents, we can encourage our children to play for some time before they start studying. This will relieve them of their extra energy and they'll be more likely to sit still. Besides, all that extra oxygen that reaches their brain will help improve their clarity, concentration, and focus!

3. 🎯 Encourage them to play focus-enhancing games.

It is almost impossible to keep our children away from digital screens. So, when they use their computer or mobile devices encourage them to play games like Sudoku, Wordle, puzzles, and chess. This way they benefit from all that screen time. Look for websites like MentalUP, which offer free concentration games for both children and adults. 

4. 🤠 Embrace play-based learning.

The best way for kids to learn is through play. When children interact with imaginary or real-life objects, their natural curiosities take over and they gain a thorough understanding of the topics. 

Geniebook has Discovery Kits that are ideal for children who enjoy exploring new topics and learning through play. Each Discovery Kit contains a mix of exciting activities and educational games - all handpicked by our team of passionate teachers to keep your child delighted for hours on end. Learn more about Discover Kits by clicking on this link.

5. 🗣️ Modify your communication style.

It might not be effective to say, "It's time to do your homework!" if your child has already come to associate the phrase with unpleasant feelings. Instead, you could say something like, "Hey! How about solving three math problems before dinner?" or "You need to answer five Science questions before you switch on the TV." 

Saying things like these will help if your child as this style of communication is:

  • Clear: Your child knows exactly how many questions they are expected to solve, and,
  • Time-bound: Your child knows when they will be able to get up and are likely to sit and focus in order to finish the work faster.
You can divide your child's study time into manageable chunks throughout the day so they complete their work and learn without having to sit still for long periods of time, which might bore them and make them restless. As your child begins to get comfortable with this bite-sized focused study time, you can gradually increase the time per session.

6. 🎤 Be mindful of your tone.

If your child continues to fidget despite your best efforts, resist the urge to yell at them. Although it can be challenging, yelling at kids rarely results in long-lasting behaviour changes. Even if they sit down to study after being yelled at, they will not be in the right mental state to concentrate. Instead of yelling at them and forcing them to study, consider taking a short break so that both you and the child can decompress. And then, after some time has passed, return and try again.

7. 🛡️ Install App blockers.

Young children typically have a short attention span. Sadly, social media and television shows have reduced their attention span even further. To be fair, kids have the same urge as adults to be glued to their phones. In fact, numerous researchers from prestigious universities including Harvard, Oxford, King's College London, and more have published a paper that claims that "Digital distractions" are causing "decreased verbal intelligence" in children and "cognitive offloading" in adults. 

Installing app blockers that prevent some apps from running for a set period of time is one way to combat this. This would compel your kid (and you, if you need to concentrate on something, too) to put away the phone and finish the job at hand. 

Remember, children who find it difficult to focus are not idle or mischievous; they simply need to be taught how to develop this skill. And, as parents, we can assist our children in improving their focus, concentration, and attention skills by practising the above-mentioned strategies. 


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