Concentration Strategies for Kids: 7 Ways Parents Can Help Kids Learn to Focus & Concentrate by Robert Saunders Teacher

Parenting
a month ago
Concentration Strategies for Kids: 7 Ways Parents Can Help Kids Learn to Focus & Concentrate

Concentration is like a muscle that requires regular exercise to strengthen. Some kids are born “stronger” in this area than others, but all kids can learn strategies and engage in practices that help improve their ability to focus and sustain their attention.

  • Set aside a reasonable amount of time for your child to practice focusing on a specific task. Young children (ages 4 to 5) can usually concentrate for somewhere between five and 20 minutes, depending on the task – less time with novel and challenging tasks and more time with those intrinsically enjoyable activities.
  • Do one thing at a time. We may praise the ability to multitask in our adult lives, but the research is clear: multitasking reduces concentration and diminishes our performance. In line with the concept of mindfulness, do one thing at a time in this one moment. For very young children, you might simply sing the alphabet together while looking at the letters. For children who are a little older, say fourth grade, you can complete one long division problem at a time together. Don’t look ahead at all the other problems, just focus on one at a time.
  • Set aside homework time and space. Because multitasking impairs concentration, it’s important to reduce extraneous distractions. For example, do homework at a designated desk or table in a quiet room with the TV off, the phone in another room and the laptop shut unless it’s needed to complete a homework assignment. Parental monitoring programs can automatically shut down Internet access after a set amount of use. As kids get older, parents can shift to using self-monitoring software so teens can independently manage their time. This way kids don’t get sucked into a time vortex on Instagram or Snapchat.
  • Build in planned breaks. Kids need to get up, move around and do something different and not too taxing after spending some time concentrating. They will benefit from taking some time to rest and recharge, especially during after-school homework time. Younger children can take a snack or play break, and teens can take the opportunity to check out their friends’ posts or text with peers.
  • Break big tasks down into smaller, more manageable pieces. This is another strategy for helping children to approach a challenging task. If your child is learning to tie her shoes, make the first goal to master the initial knot, then move on to making two loops with the strings until she knows exactly how to do that, and so forth. Another “piecemeal” strategy for building concentration is to use a timer to help kids organize themselves. For example, “Here’s a book about horses. I’m going to set this timer for 15 minutes, and I want you to write down as many facts about horses as you can in this time.”
  • Practice observing things in the moment. Kids can be distracted by “internal stimuli,” like physical sensations or entertaining memories. While a child’s imagination is a wonderful thing, we also want them to be able to clear away distractions and build the ability to concentrate. You can play “I spy with my little eye…” and take turns making observations of various objects in the room, listen closely to the lyrics of a song together or do some yoga poses and pay attention to how it feels in the body.
  • Practice belly breathing. Steady, diaphragmatic breathing slows our heart rate and clears our mind so we can concentrate. This is an important skill for kids to have when they’re confronted with challenging tasks, which can make them anxious and spike their heart rate. Anxiety leads to avoidance, the opposite of concentration. So finding ways to make tasks more approachable is important, and calming the body is one of those strategies.

The content on 30Seconds.com is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information on this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal healthcare provider. The opinions or views expressed on 30Seconds.com do not necessarily represent those of 30Seconds or any of its employees, corporate partners or affiliates.

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Donna John
Great tips! Look forward to learning more from you, Robert Saunders Teacher !
bepositive
Such helpful advice, thanks!
Elisa A. Schmitz 30Seconds
What great suggestions, needed now more than ever. Trying times for kids an parents alike. Thank you for the insights, Robert Saunders Teacher , and welcome to 30Seconds. We look forward to learning more from you!

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