Like our muscles need frequent exercise to strengthen, so does our concentration. Some children are born with natural abilities to focus, while others may require help to develop those skills. However, all students can learn new strategies and practices that allow them to enhance their ability to concentrate. No doubt, concentration is an essential skill for children to acquire. Kids are required to focus for elongated periods, and as children grow up, they have additional activities after school which demand even more concentration. The majority of kids can focus on enjoyable extracurricular activities, but the ones that are a bit difficult and boring challenge the focus of children.
Trouble concentrating can either be short-term or a long-term challenge for kids. Both ways, it can impact everyday life and make learning harder. No matter what type of school kids attend, there are certain reasons why they might struggle to focus. Sometimes it can be due to their personal lives, while environment can also be one of the factors. You cannot always change the surroundings, which makes it difficult to concentrate. Here are some ways you can follow to help your students improve their focus, which will increase their self-esteem and self-confidence.
1. Limit Screen Time
Screen time is inevitable in today’s digital world, where kids are surrounded by smartphones, computers, tablets, television, and smartwatches. Schoolwork can also require dealing with computers and tablets. A study shows that increased screen time is linked to the reduction of focus and weak academic performance in young students.
Parents and teachers are aware of the fact that screen time for school-age children should be limited. However, the question arises, how much exactly? Doctors have suggested restricting digital device use to two hours. Even this one rule doesn’t apply to every child. For some kids, two hours of use can be too much. Teachers are recommended to help kids avoid excess use of devices during school hours and ensure their parents follow the same after school.
2. Consider Physical Factors
When young students seem to lack concentration, teachers and parents need to consider physical factors, such as sleep, hydration, exercise, and nutrition. Parents should make sure their kids eat healthy food and take adequate sleep of at least 7 to 8 hours. Also, hydration plays a role in proper brain functioning, ensuring kids drink enough fluids during school hours and at home. Incorporating exercises for kids would be a great way to revitalize their minds and body.
3. Don’t Go For More Than One Thing At A Time
We usually praise adults who are good at multitasking, but the research says that multitasking may diminish performance and reduce focus. Incorporating mindfulness exercises can help students focus and pay attention. Following the concept of mindfulness, try to help kids focus on one thing at a time. Research has shown that mindfulness can help students improve their ability to concentrate on schoolwork and lessons.
4. Limit Directions
It can be difficult for kids who struggle with concentration to listen to directions, remember and follow through with them. So, it’s better not to overload your students with more than one or two directions at a time. For example, it’s time for art class. You might ask your students to open their bags, get out the books and colors, and start drawing. It might be a lot for some kids. If that is too much for even some of the students to focus and remember, try to break it down into simpler steps.
5. Incorporate Fun Activities
Playing word games and solving puzzles or riddles have been found beneficial in improving kids’ attention span and concentration. Storytelling while students enjoy their lunch break can be another way to allow children to attend to a specific topic for a reasonable period. Teachers can also add creative activities such as wood carving, sewing, embroidery, crochet, etc.
6. Plan Breaks
Children need to do something different, get up, and move around after completing a task or spending time focusing on one thing. Some students may want to take a nap after schoolwork, while others may want to play outdoors. Teachers should build in planned breaks after a task or two so the children get refreshed. In this way, you will be able to direct their focus back to the schoolwork.
7. Set Aside Time and Space
Multitasking can weaken focus, so it’s important to minimize any distractions that may divert your kid when doing homework. Set a designated table or desk in a quiet space with a laptop, phone, and TV off unless necessary. If a digital device is needed to complete a task, parental monitoring programs can help you automatically turn off internet access after a fixed time.
8. Other Ways
Some other techniques and strategies can help kids focus. You can find different fidgets for your students to help them focus better. Different fidgets work for different sensory needs, so you need to see which works best for each student. Also, trying graphic organizers that are available online can help kids get through math, reading, and writing assignments.
One of the most vital things you should do as a teacher or parent is: appreciate your child’s work to improve concentration. When kids struggle with skills, it can take a huge toll on their self-esteem. Remember to celebrate a child’s strengths and focus wins.
9. Be Open
Everyone is born different. Some children require quiet space in order to concentrate, while others may do well with noises around. Also, some students may take less time to focus, and others may need extra breaks as well as time to concentrate. That’s why parents and teachers must be open to asking children what works for each of them. Not only will it enhance their concentration abilities but their self-confidence.
Trouble focusing can be challenging for many young students. There are various reasons why kids might face difficulty focusing. Some of your students might be stronger than others in this area. However, all of them can learn and get involved in practices that help enhance their concentration skills. Following some tips like limiting screen time for kids, getting them involved in fun activities, trying mindfulness, and planned breaks between each task can help your young students focus and improve their overall performance.