It’s natural for children to feel restless, and the pace of modern life can make it even more difficult for them to concentrate. Video games and the internet provide constant stimulation, and immediate gratification. Kids may struggle when it comes time to listen to their teacher or perform any task that requires focusing on one thing and resisting distractions.
In fact, 87% of teachers said that modern technologies were creating a generation with short attention spans, according to a recent survey by The Pew Research Center.
As a concerned parent, you may wonder what you can do to help your child extend their attention span so that they can grow up to be productive and peaceful. Consider these suggestions.
Providing a Supportive Environment
Serve nutritious foods. Fuel your child’s brain and stabilize their blood sugar with a balanced diet. They’ll want to eat their vegetables if you cut them into fun shapes and dip them in colorful sauces. Keep soda, chips, and candy to a minimum.
Exercise daily. Physical activity keeps our minds sharp at any age. Gather together for a walk after dinner. Buy a gym membership for the whole family.
Limit screen time. Pediatricians recommend two hours a day or less of TV and internet browsing. Decide which shows you want to watch and turn the set off in between.
Rest and relax. Stick to consistent bedtimes even on weekends and summer vacations.
Make learning fun. Maybe your son squirms after 10 minutes of doing homework, but you have to drag him away from his favorite video games. Turn schoolwork and chores into a contest that he’ll enjoy.
Adjust your schedule. Children usually have at least one time of day when they’re at peak performance. Arrange for piano lessons before school or after lunch so the timing matches their personality.
Provide a positive role model. Your child will appreciate the importance of concentrating if they see how it enhances your home life. Listen to them attentively when they describe their day at school. Team up to bake cupcakes or weed the garden.
Encouraging Constructive Habits
- Communicate face to face. It’s convenient to stay in touch by calling and texting, but kids need practice with in-person conversations. Plan for family dinners and weekend outings.
- Practice self-talk. Anxiety can cause a lack of focus. Guide your child on how to give themselves a pep talk when they face a challenging situation.
Head outdoors. Nature has a powerful effect on our minds. A hike through the woods or an afternoon tending plants in a greenhouse will help your child to slow down and become more observant.
Breathe deeply. Our breathing also influences our thoughts and feelings. Bring your child to a yoga class where they can receive instructions on fun breathing exercises. Buy them a harmonica or blow soap bubbles.
Work on crafts. Children love to immerse themselves in hands-on activities like arts and crafts. Visit your local library and browse online for project ideas. You can turn a milk bottle into a bird feeder or decoupage an old picture frame.
Read books. Storytime is an ideal opportunity to train your child to focus while you deepen your relationship and prepare for bed. Let your child pick books that interest them, and take turns reading to each other.
Make believe. For playtime, rely on toys and activities that stretch your child’s imagination. Build a stove out of a cardboard box. Act out a scene from a comic book.
Help your child to succeed in school and in the workplace. The power of concentration will help them to live mindfully, harness their energies, and achieve more with less effort.