Are you the parent who keeps reminding your child to complete their homework? Is your child not able to concentrate on studies? Is s/he forgetting to pass on the important information from the school? Are they not able to complete their work on time? It’s quite normal for the children to be all over the place and jumping around. But this gadget driven world is making them habituated to the sedentary lifestyle of sitting in one place and gazing/scrolling through the gadgets for a long time, without any physical activity. That’s another reason for the dip in the focus and concentration in children.
Children have not yet turned into full adults that they can sit in a single place and complete their tasks in a single go and their excessive energies will also not let them sit still and quiet in a single place. But as parents we tend to worry about our children’s focus and concentration levels, as no one can deny their importance in learning and development of the children’s skills. The improved concentration and focus levels can actually take the brain to higher planes of learning, improvement in individuals.
Causes for lack of concentration and focus in children:
- Lack of proper sleep: Children on an average need 8-10 hours of sleep (depending on their age) everyday. This sleep time not only helps in relaxing their brain, but also improves in their physical health. Any disturbance to this time will cause the attention difficulties in children
- Lack of proper nutrition: A hungry child wouldn’t be able to concentrate and pay attention to the tasks at hand. Diet high in sugar, junk food are known to cause hyper-activity in children. Research has proven that even the intake of too much caffeine or high energy drinks and colas decreases the attention span in children
- Lack of physical activities: The proverb “All work makes Jack a dull boy” holds true even in today’s modern society. Children need free play time with their friends and peers. The children who don’t get a chance to play with their peers have reported lesser concentration levels in the recent study.
- Excessive gadget time: Kids these days spend a lot of time watching gadgets and playing video games. Research has proven that the too much gadget time is the main cause for their decline both the academic front as well as the emotional front.
- Tensions on the family front: Any stressing factors like family members health, fights with in the family, lack of emotional support for the child will definitely decrease the child’s inability to concentrate and learn. So try to provide a supportive and warm environment for the child to learn and thrive.
Tips to improve Concentration and focus in children
Children are always open to learn new stuff as they don’t have any preconceived notions and hence its easier to train their brains and improve their concentration both in the offline or in online activities, if we can follow these simple yet effective tips.
Structured Routines: Children thrive under routines. Having a daily set routine for reading and completing the homework at a certain fixed time will tune their minds to concentrate and complete those tasks in the prescribed time limits. To start with, practice sitting with the child at that prescribed time continuously and within a month, it would become a habit and the child would start focusing more during that time.
Avoid Distractions: During the initial period of that prescribed reading period, the child would struggle to concentrate and hence would get disturbed even by the slightest sound or even with the sight of the gadgets. So plan the ambience and set up the environment properly for the child to start concentrating.
Physical Activities: The children’s excessive physical energy could be vented out only if they participate in some form of physical activities like running, or sports. Even the simple free play in the park would also reduce the excess physical energy in children. Hence the reading time should be scheduled post these physical activities
Brain Games: We can introduce the children to various brain games that not only improve their critical thinking skills, but will also improve their concentration. Some of these games can even be played during the travel and doesn’t require much preparation. These games can be played both outdoor and indoor as well depending on the child’s interest.
Breaking bigger tasks into smaller chunks: Initially the children would get demotivated if we have given them a huge list of tasks or big projects to be completed. Instead, if we can provide them small, manageable chunks of work, it would help in building their motivation levels, which is the most critical part in concentrating and focusing to complete various tasks at hand.
Start practicing mindfulness: The simple chanting of Omkaram always brings back the lost focus and concentration. In case if you are not able to do that with proper breathing exercises, then there are a lot of guided meditations and practiced breathing techniques available in the internet My other blogger friend Susmitha from Veganosaurus has wonderful guided meditation practices here which you can use and start practicing your mindfulness journey along with her.
In this gadget driven world, unless we act a good role models, our children wouldn’t be put their gadgets away. We need to teach them the ways to manage their gadget time in a productive way for improving their learning. Its the mindless watching and continuous video games are the ones which have shown the negative impact by reducing the child’s focus and concentration. So we as parents should start teaching the children how to use their gadgets in a positive manner. Even after trying all the above, in case if you have not observed any improvement in your child then I think its time to consult an expert and get your child evaluated once.
QOTD: Ask your child why focused effort is required in achieving their goals and what support do they need to improve their focus from parents?