July 26, 2017

 

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How can I get my child to focus?

Your child may be described — by you or by others — like this:

  • Fidgety: Can’t “sit still” for the expected amount of time that is average for his or her age; constantly gets up to do other things.
  • Daydreamer: Routinely seems lost in his or her own world; facial expression goes blank or takes on a “dreamy” look as he or she stares off into space.
  • Easily distracted: Regularly goes from one activity to another or can’t stay on-topic in a conversation.
  • Hyperactive: Routinely and excessively excited; always on the go.
  • Impulsive: Constantly acts before thinking; uncontrolled physical and emotional responses or verbal outbursts.


There are many ways of addressing these issues.


1. Encourage age-appropriate “brain” exercises.
Paint and color. Play board games. Put together a jigsaw puzzle. These are especially effective in helping younger children because parents and older siblings can participate. These types of activities can be completed in a short amount of time, and there is a tangible “reward” at the end (a pretty picture to hang on the refrigerator or a finished puzzle that looks just like the picture on the box). More complicated games and larger puzzles can be introduced as your child gets older.


2. Provide a challenge.
Word searches, crossword puzzles and chess let children exercise their minds on their own or with a partner. These also require self-directed concentration as the child works independently or, as is the case in a game like chess, must anticipate upcoming moves.


3. Sign up for lessons.
Dance classes. Violin lessons. Cake decorating. Whatever your child’s interest, consider signing him or her up for classes. While it may seem like the last thing you want to do is put your child in yet another class where he or she won’t pay attention, matching the right class to your child's interest can make a world of difference. He’ll want to pay attention, which will help him teach himself how to stay focused.


4. Get into sports.
Exercise is the best remedy for all that pent-up energy. Solitary sports like swimming, skiing and track are even better because participants are constantly in motion without the added pressure of letting down the team.


5. Praise more than you criticize.
We all work better and want to try harder when the result is positive. Children want, and need, praise. That may seem easier to do when they’re adorable and tiny, but it doesn’t lose its value when those tiny tots start turning into real people. Tell them when they’ve done something right and they’ll want to do it again.


6. Turn off the TV — and video games too.
Both TV and video games cater to short attention spans. Limiting a child’s time with each will ease your battle.

By Solomon Brenner

 

 7. Talk with you child about focusing during classtime-ask what things cause them to lose focus and what can they do to stay in control so that they are not distracted.

 

8. Communicate your concerns with your child's teacher- your child's teacher needs to know what your concerns are so they can provide assistance with the goal of keeping your child focused and on task. They are trained and skilled with some techniques that may help.