The "Attention Engine": 8 Self-Monitoring Mantras to Help Your Kid Be Alert & Prepared to Learn! by Dr. Lynne Kenney

3 years ago
The "Attention Engine": 8 Self-Monitoring Mantras to Help Your Kid Be Alert & Prepared to Learn!

Children love learning about how their brains work. When you provide direct instruction to children ages 6-12 about the cognitive skills in their brains and how to know what skill is needed when, they are more engaged in learning as they feel empowered. One skill you can teach children is how to activate their “Attention Engine” to become alert, focused and ready to learn. Once you begin to talk with a child about their ability to be their brain’s “best coach” to turn up their attention, they can use the self-monitoring mantras below to enhance their self-awareness and practice calling their focused attention into action.

Print out these mantras and go through them one at a time, perhaps not all at once, in order to gently teach your child that in their brains they have an attention engine. With mantras, they can activate their focus when they need to learn or attend. Simply improving a child’s awareness of their personal power to become alert is the beginning of a transformation to a more skillful child who understands they have the ability to choose to be alert, in moments, when needed.

  • I notice that I am moving or fidgeting.
  • I take a deep breath so I can focus on what is important.
  • I make the decision to sit up straight, so my brain can think well.
  • I make a decision to fold my hands in my lap, telling myself, I am peaceful, alert and focused.
  • I breathe in and out slowly.
  • I feel calm and alert.
  • I compliment myself for the few moments I focused my attention with intent.
  • I help my brain use its cognitive skills to be ready to learn.

For many children, their cognitive skills are a mystery. When you begin to teach that executive functions are cognitive skills and cognitive skills can be learned, the child goes from feeling confused to feeling empowered. Let your child write his own mantras that he can carry with him. 

Learn All About Executive Functioning With Mindy Hudon!

10 Ways to Love Your Brain & Reduce Your Risk of Cognitive Decline!

Elisa A. Schmitz 30Seconds
Wow, this is genius! I love these for kids as well as adults, Dr. Lynne Kenney ! xo
Stephanie Cannoe
I absolutely love this and know my boys will absorb these tips like a sponge. Thank you.

join discussion

Please login to comment.

recommended tips

“Never Have I Ever” Learned More: A Lesson My Kids Taught Me About Parenting & Perfection

Navigating Back to School in the Era of COVID-19: Free Back-to-School Resources for Parents, Teachers, Students & School Staff

How Art Therapy Can Help Parents & Kids De-stress, Express & Manage Emotions!

The Porn Conversation With Kids: 12 Tips for Discussing the Dangers of Online Porn With Teens & Tweens

Got 30 seconds? Sign up for and get the best of our tips each week!