Children are always full of energy, and they should be taught to develop the skill of focussing that energy correctly. But many children find it difficult to concentrate when every distraction around them attracts their curious attention. As a parent, nurturing a good balance of both concentration and curiosity is essential to hone your child’s social and academic abilities.
Here are some practical tips to improve your child’s concentration skills.
Set tasks according to your child’s maturity level: Often, kids lose focus on a task because it’s either too easy or too hard for them. So, ensure that the activities are right for your child’s skill level.
Divide big projects into small tasks: Big projects can be overwhelming to kids. Splitting the task up will give your child the feeling of progress as the pieces are completed.
Minimize distractions: Give your child a quiet place to work when focus is necessary. Remember that kids haven’t developed the same ability to screen out distractions that adults have acquired.
Set a timer: Set a time limit for a particular task that your child works on. Sometimes setting a short period of time will help focus longer. One rule of thumb is that a child can focus on a single activity for about one minute per year of age.
Teach how to set goals: Goals can be a great way to increase your child’s ability to focus. So guide your child to make his/her own goals and give a reward for every goal achieved.
Offer praise: When you see your child paying attention to a task, notice and compliment him/her for it.
Follow a healthy lifestyle: Good nutrition and enough sleep are huge factors in helping your child to concentrate on a task. Complex carbs, protein, fresh fruit and vegetables will help improve your child’s ability to concentrate.
Avoid over scheduling: Pushing your child repeatedly to work on activity after activity can be overwhelming. So give short breaks for the young mind to recover from an activity. Then indulge him/her in another.
Give advanced notice about changes in activities: When you want your child to switch focus from one activity to another, give a few minutes warning time. For example, if your child is playing a memory game but will need to begin practicing the piano soon, give him/her a five-minute warning. The transition will be easier and your child will be able to refocus on the new task faster.
Play games: Use games as a fun way to increase your child’s ability to focus.
Puzzles: Crossword and picture puzzles can be great tools to improve your child’s concentration. While crosswords improve attention, picture puzzles improve focus and visual concentration.
Memory games: Memory games can encourage your child to pay full attention in order to arrive at a solution.
Missing numbers: This is a great game with dual purpose; it improves both concentration and numeracy. The game is very easy to play because all you need to do is count. It doesn’t matter what the sequence is but what matters is missing specific numbers out from time to time. For instance, “ten, eleven, twelve, fourteen, fifteen…” Your child should call out the number you missed as soon as he/she realises – thirteen, in this case. Additionally, you can easily increase the level of difficulty by counting in multiples or even counting backwards.
Tongue twisters: This popular game is a great way to improve your child’s concentration and pronunciation skills. Besides being a fun and entertaining activity, it stimulates hearing memory and is useful for acquiring speed and accuracy when speaking.
Here are some common tongue twisters to start with:
I can think of six thin things, but I can think of six thick things too.
If you want to buy, buy, if you don’t want to buy, bye bye!
She sells seashells by the seashore.
Give papa a cup of proper coffee in a copper coffee cup.
The blue bluebird blinks.
Author: Sim K