It happens to everyone…we all have had trouble concentrating at times. We find ourselves distracted when we are trying to focus. It’s just a fact of life. So, it’s not a matter of ‘IF’ your kid gets distracted; it’s a matter of ‘WHEN.’ The good news is that you know it’s going to happen. This helps you make a preemptive strike against distraction. When you are prepared, you can help your child set up a plan of how they can reign themselves back in and get refocused. Here are some tips to help kids get refocused:
Understanding the Task
Sometimes being distracted or losing focus isn’t because a child is wasting time. For instance, if a task doesn’t make sense, they may not be able to concentrate. When a child’s mind starts to wander due to confusion, they will become easily distracted. You can help combat this issue by having support available. Maybe a friend who does well in a certain subject can come over and work on the project together. Or maybe you can arrange some extra time with their teacher in the morning, after lunch, or after school. When your kid’s attention drifts during their homework time, it could mean that something doesn’t make sense. With a little help and clarification, you may be pleasantly surprised at how much focus they can have.
Eliminating the Noise
Your child may think it’s perfectly alright to work with the television on, music, or their phone constantly by their side, but the fact is, it’s not alright. Distractions caused by these ‘noises’ are causing your child to lose focus. A kid’s brain is naturally bouncing around all over the place, so staying focused is always a challenge. Having a bunch of electronics chattering away is a sure way for a kid to get distracted. Provide a noise-free area for your kiddo to work. Remove all distractions, both electronic and human, and give them a fighting chance of staying focused.
The longer a child sits and works on something, the more apt they are to become distracted. As we know, a kid’s brain will wander. For that reason, set an alarm to go off routinely during the homework session or task. If they are working on an assignment that will take an hour, be sure to insert three or four breaks during that time. When the alarm goes off, have them walk out of the study area, go get a drink or a snack, then after a few minutes, return to the study area. By allowing your child some time to get up and away, you are actually scheduling a distraction. Their brain got what it wanted, a distraction, and they can sit back down and focus again.
Setting a Time
While you probably want your child to do their best work and not just hurry through their assignment, sometimes a bit of urgency helps. For some kids, setting a timer to go off pushes them to focus. This sort of “beat the clock” method of focusing can work very well when a kid is super-aware of their study time ticking away. They may make an extra effort to avoid distractions because they are focused on seeing if they can beat the clock. You may also want to remind them of the ‘fun’ stuff they can do when the clock goes off, but only if their work is done. (Of course, just as most things, this method won’t work in every situation and for every person. 🙂 )
Most kids know they are easily distracted. They know that distractions cause them to waste time, which causes them to spend more time on homework than they want to spend. It’s normal and kids need to institute methods for reigning themselves back in when distractions occur. When you have a good plan in place, both you and your kiddo will be happy.
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