With the many distractions that children face today both in and outside the classroom – from misbehaving students and wisecracking friends, to the Internet and instant messaging – it would be completely unsurprising if the phrase ‘need to focus’ popped up more often than not in your child’s school report or during parents’ evening.
It’s inevitable: with so many potential interruptions competing for your child’s attention, it can be difficult to concentrate. Concentration is all about being able to keep the mind focused on a task for a reasonable period of time. Helping children develop self-discipline and effective strategies to concentrate can lay a great foundation for success at school and beyond. Here are some practical tips to get them on the right track in and outside of school.
Have them sit at the front of the class:
Depending on how the child’s classroom is set out, sitting at or near to the front of the class can be very beneficial. It automatically removes some distractions such as other children whispering or playing with something, allowing the child to be more engaged with and focused on the teacher and the task at hand.
Avoid having them sitting with friends:
Teachers normally have this in the bag with assigned seating but, if that’s not the case, it should be. As appealing as sitting next to friends in class can be, conversing with friends during class time is probably not going to give your child the focus they need to stay on top. If your child does find themselves sitting next to friends, perhaps encourage them to chat to them before or after class so they avoid distracting one another.
Get them to participate in class:
Participating in class is a great way for children to become more focused. Encourage your child to answer questions and share their opinion during class discussions. It will also help improve their memory and communication skills!
Get them to ask questions:
Concentration tends to wane during class when children have difficulty understanding topics or concepts being taught. Tell your child to never be afraid to ask questions. That way they will be more engaged with the subject and the teacher can go over the relevant areas aiding their understanding.
Ensure they have a good night sleep:
For maximum concentration, it’s vital that your child gets a good night sleep. We can’t stress it enough but ensuring they are getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night will put them in the best position to be focused during the school day instead of trying to take a nap in class.
Designate a place for study:
Find or create a place in your home for homework time and independent study. It should ideally be in a quiet area or room where distractions can be kept to a minimum. This will enable your child to concentrate on getting homework done or revise without being distracted by people or other things.
It’s impossible to eliminate every distraction, but minimizing potential interruptions can help in improving your child’s concentration. Try taking away phones, computers and other gadgets until homework is done and keep the television off until certain topics have been revised.