As simple as paying attention to any given task may seem, maintaining mental focus is no easy task for some children. Challenges with focus can stem from conditions such as ADHD or other issues, and can be tricky to overcome at times. There are plenty of ways that you as a parent can help your child with their mental focus by using some simple strategies.
Increase your child's level of physical activity for better focus
Even though struggles with mental focus can appear as drowsiness or a lack of motivation, a lot of problems with focus are due to a surplus in energy, rather than a lack of energy. Many children who have a hard time focusing feel irritable or anxious and may feel like they simply need to get some energy out. Try to schedule physical activities, such as trips to the playground, swimming at the pool, or simply playing an interactive video game, before your child normally does their chores or their homework. You’ll likely find that they feel calm and more capable of maintaining focus than before. Plus, exercise releases endorphins, which helps your brain sort out priorities and sharpens focus.
Breaking up tasks for your child can help them focus
Sometimes, children have a hard time accomplishing tasks when they are drawn out. Not only is hard to maintain focus for a long duration but knowing that there is still a lot to get done can increase feelings of anxiety and hurt motivation. Try figuring out a system for your child to break up large tasks into smaller, manageable ones. For instance, maybe they only work on homework for half an hour at a time before taking a short break to color, watch a short episode of a TV show, or play a quick game, before returning to their work for another half hour. You can also use this system to help your child concentrate by giving them a solid timeframe to get things done.
Play games that require focus
There are plenty of ways your child can have fun while they actually build concentration skills. Try to incorporate fun games that require attention skills into family game nights or your fun activities during the weekend. Simple card games such as “Uno” or activities such as jigsaw puzzles are great fun activities that can help build attention skills.
Set up a reward system
Using positivity to help your child is always the best way to solidify any skill. Use a combination of immediate rewards and bigger rewards during the weekend to build motivation. For instance, if your child gets enough work done in a certain timeframe, let them watch an extra episode before returning to work or reserve a game they especially love to play after they get their homework done for the evening. You can also think of a reward they can earn for the weekend if they get all of their homework and chores done, such as a trip to their favorite park or picking their favorite board game to play.
Using these strategies combined with mindfulness, nutritional supplements, and helping your child get enough sleep will go a long way in seeing improvements in your child’s attention and mental focus.