Whether you’re a homeschooling parent or not, you have likely struggled with the issue of a child’s lack of concentration at some point during your parenting years. Of course we know that children are curious, energetic discoverers. This is natural. However, some children struggle more than others. Many frustrated parents don’t know where to turn for help. What if there were some simple antidotes and tools you can use to improve concentration? There is. Of course no solution will work for everyone, but we think you’ll find the following suggestions extremely helpful. Your sanity will thank you!
So, how can you motivate and improve your child’s focus? There are several different tools available. In the beginning, it’s best to try them all to see what works best for you and your family.
1.) Attend to physiological needs. Ensure your child gets 9 hours of sleep every night. Reduce sugar intake & increase protein levels (lean meat, almonds, & eggs). This stimulates dopamine which makes concentration easier, particularly for lethargic kids. Taking frequent breaks for exercise will have a similar effect.
2.) Remove distractions at home. Make a list of things that may prevent concentration (i.e. noise, people, lighting, fighting, tiredness, & hunger). Then go through each distraction and come up with a solution. Make sure you implement those solutions daily!
3.) Create the right mood for concentration. Playing calming background music, placing a fish tank (with fish) in the environment, and reducing fluorescent lights have all been proven to be successful in creating the right mood.
4.) Introduce sequencing & organization activities (i.e. following recipes, setting the table, and putting things in alphabetical order.) Board and card games help as well. Chess has proven to be particularly good for improving focus long-term. Their minds become incrementally stronger, alleviating the concentration problem, and in many cases, almost entirely curing it. The study of chess also instills patience and can help a child’s attitude.
5.) Find out which activities your child focuses on best. Some kids do best with hands-on activities, and some do best with a lot of visual cues. Look for activities that your child gets lost in for hours. These activities can enhance your child’s concentration levels.
These are only a few of the tools we’ve found helpful through the years. I’m sure there are many more that you’ll find that will work in your home. Before assisting your child with their concentration habits, pay close attention to their pattern of concentration and observe if there are any obvious links between diet, energy pattern, sleep, and your own behaviors. Remember to lead by example!
Concentration can be improved and made automatic. Picture the first time you drove a car. No doubt the prevailing, panicky thought in your head was, “How on earth can I focus on all of this stuff at the same time?!” After enough practice, your brain built pathways of concentration, and the task of driving has become a smooth and easy one. Take action today and make the process of learning a lot more enjoyable for both you and your children!