5 Incredibly Simple Tips to Improve Focus for Kids
“Stop fidgeting and finish your homework.”
“My child can’t concentrate!”
“How many times must I repeat myself?! Focus and finish!”
Many frustrated parents have commented to their kids. Do not worry it’s not just your child! It is common for children of all ages to struggle to focus. There are a couple of reasons why your child might struggle to focus at school or at home.
Here are a few tips to help them improve their focus and to help you as a parent understand why they are not able to (or don’t want to) focus. As an added extra, Labels4School have two FREE memory game downloads for your child to play. Download 2 x L4S Memory Games here and here.
The main reason we think kids have difficulty concentrating (and can find it so frustrating) is because kids' brains are wired differently to adults. We see a task and know that it needs to be completed. We do it whether we want to or not. Kids pay attention to things that they are interested in. If it isn’t fun, they get bored easily and completing the task is not important.
What are the signs of low concentration/lack of focus?
- Not interested
- Can’t sit still or stand still
- Constantly fidgeting and easily distracted
- Often day-dreaming
- Struggle to keep their workspace organized and tidy
- Have difficulty following instructions
Having said that, remember your child’s focus can only last so long. At age 4, we can only expect a child to focus for 8-20 minutes. At age 8, we can expect a child to focus for up to 40 minutes. Keep tasks short and break them into smaller steps.
Tips to improve focus
Play games to build focus and attention
Encourage your child to play thinking games like puzzles, Simon Says, memory games, crosswords, spot the difference, Uno and other card games. This allows them to focus on something they are interested in and practise paying attention to one task at a time. A fantastic game to improve concentration in kids is the memory game. Click here to download our FREE printable L4S memory game. Print it out, get your children to colour in the characters and cut out the cards. Flip them over so you can't see images and each child has a turn to try flip over a matching pair.
Feed them healthy food
Studies have shown that kids who primarily eat junk food and food that contains lots of sugar have more difficulty concentrating. The food makes them feel sluggish or overdone. We have all seen our kids after a birthday party or take away. They have the sugar rush for a short while and then CRASH! Rather try plenty of greens, fish oils, lean meat and vegetables which all improve concentration and awareness. Drinking lots of water can also boost your child’s focus.
Routine is so important in children’s lives. It helps set expectations for the day and gives children a sense of security. An example of a routine would be: Wake up, eat breakfast, go to school, come home, eat a snack/nap, play, do homework & chores, eat dinner, time with mom and dad and then it is bedtime. You don’t have to be strict and keep to exact times. Some days you can be flexible and change things up but a routine will help your child know when he/she is expected to study and focus.
Naps improve concentration
School can take a lot out of our kids. The amount of energy, concentration and learning that happens during their time at school can be tiring. A 20 minute nap in the afternoon after school can do wonders for improving concentration when it comes to homework time.
Set up a reward system
Rewards keep kids motivated and interested because they are getting something out of the task. You can reward your child with anything that they enjoy or are interested in, not just chocolates or playing on a tablet (although these ARE great motivators). You can reward your child with praise, an outing, stickers and comments in their book or even some one on one time!
These 5 tips should help improve your child's focus and concentration and hopefully keep us from pulling our hair out trying to get our children to focus. The better the focus, the more your child can absorb. The better we can undertsand our kids the easier our lives will be!