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In the Zone: Helping Children Focus

Jul 12, 2021

Does your child have trouble getting in the zone? Focus and attention for kids can be challenging for parents who want their kids to zero in on their schoolwork and chores. Paying attention can be a challenge for some kids though. Kids lacking attention skills may not follow through with directions, make mistakes over and over again, and may have problems calming down. How can we help a child focus naturally so that they thrive in their own element? We’re breaking down some handy tips as your kiddo’s cognitive skills grow.

Break Tasks Up into Smaller Portions

1 + 1 is 2, 2+ 3 is 5, and so on and so on. If your child is presented with an assignment with many equations or steps, it may seem like an overwhelming feat to take on it all. After all, adults can do this too when presented with big challenges. Break the assignment or chore into smaller steps. Instead of showing them a page filled to the brim with unsolved problems, take the first equation and write it on a piece of paper for them. This way, the problem appears more manageable and can lead to a quick solution. Rinse and repeat until the larger task at hand is complete.


Experiment with Break Time

Attention spans may be dwindling with your little one. They may prefer exploration and movement over static positions. Break time is a must for kids. For grade school-age children, a 10-15 minute learning period is generally best before a break is needed. Breaks do not need to be lengthy all the time. Just a quick few minutes to talk to another or move their body will do wonders for helping them stay on track. You may want to experiment with time spent taking a break and time spent attending to a task. Set a timer and get going! 

The Power of Predictability and Routines

Following a set schedule is great for kids. When they know what task is coming and how to prepare for it, they’ll be better prepared to focus and make sure they complete it. Whenever you set time aside for homework and dinner, for example, make sure it happens at around the same time each day. Depending on the age of your kiddo, you may want to create a schedule for them so they know what to do and when it’s going to get done. 

Create a Designated Space for Homework

Make it a space that your child would want to go to each and every time. Include some fun lights and maybe pillows and blankets provided they can still maintain good posture. It’s important that this space be free from distractions, including TV and distracting objects like fidget spinners. Music may be okay depending on your child. If they work better with music playing, provide it as an option during this time. You may even experiment with focus music on Youtube or upbeat music without lyrics. No matter the choice, be sure that your child’s preference is, in fact, helping them stay focused. Studies completed have shown that fast-paced or music with lyrics can be distracting for a majority of people.


Set Goals, Give Praise

Never underestimate the power of setting a goal. Goals help to align our focus on a task that we wish to improve upon. In a nutshell, goals make us better than before! Keep a sticker calendar and give a sticker each time your child reaches a goal. Let them know that you are proud too. Nobody is a mind reader, so if you are pleased or happy with their progress, even if small, let them know! 

Take Care of the Body

Kids’ concentration can thrive when there’s a focus on the body as a whole. A hungry, sleepy, or inactive child will almost certainly be unable to focus on learning or following through with simple instruction. Make sure that even on busy days there’s time to get enough food, sleep, movement, relaxation, and playtime. Sharp focus for kids depends on those aspects of well-being and health.


Occupational Therapy and Attention and Focus

When a child lacks focus, it can negatively affect home life, school life, and the ability to keep friends. Whether your child has ADHD or simply is struggling to focus, an occupational therapist can help. They can give great guidance so that your kiddo can develop the skills necessary to stay focused long enough to learn and make smooth transitions to new tasks. Focused kids may have needed some extra practice, so don’t hesitate to take this step if your child needs some help. Reach out to us today.

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