“Can you just stop playing and sit down to complete your task (anything from dining to doing homework)?”
Do you have such an experience of asking our children the above question a few dozen times? I am sure we are all familiar to this experience… tiring and frustrated right?
As a father of an active and fun-loving boy, it is really a challenge to get him sit still, focus on his assigned task and finish the task without getting distracted.
After years of observation on children behaviour, I slowly come to understand that children are naturally energetic and curious about anything that surrounded them. And the chances for expecting them to sit and focus completely is really slim (when there are nothing interesting occupied him). So getting distracted seems like a norm in every child.
Is it that is it?
Before we dive into those ways, let’s share with you what we have found out of child’s nature that may help you to understand more of your kids.
Children are naturally energetic and curious with their unresolved energy. So if the tasks they are given, don’t excite them, they’ll get bored and within a second they will drift to something more interesting to them.
As for adult, we will complete any given task whether we like it or not.
Now, let’s look into the 3 best ways to improve your kid’s focus and concentration quickly and easily.
1. Play games or toys that involve mind and hands-on to build attention
As we all know children learn best while playing. So it is pretty good idea to try to make their activities more like a fun game in order to drawn their attention.
You may start with trying to allow your children to play with regular toys that may be colourful and come with activities that occupy attention and concentration.
During the playing session, all electronic gadgets like smartphones and tablets are kept away from the children. It is because all these gadget is the most advance interactive device we have on earth, that could grab the attention of your children anytime. So keep them out of reach at that moment.
You may be figuring what games that could provide such an effect for increasing focus of the children. Here are the critical characteristics of those healthy games for your children:
- Hands-on and thinking activities – You may consider games that involve intensive hands-on activities that will occupy your children’s motor skills. Studies show activity involves motor skills will capture 60% of your children’s attention as they need to get their hands to work. Further, thinking activities in a game will grab the remaining 40% attention where they need to keep their mind to do a lot of mix and match to finish the game.
For example, picture puzzles actually could improve attention span of your child while he or she has to look for things that are ‘wrong’ in the picture or look for hard-to-find objects that is correct to place in the puzzle. As a result, it improves the attention and increase concentration of the player.
- Sequencing activities – Besides hands-on and thinking, Sequencing activities may make a home run for your children’s focus and concentration. We have found this a phenomena moment, when children are fully captured in activities that has sequence. They are probably given a specific road map to finish the game. And if they miss the sequence, they may lose in the game. So they will pay 100% attention that you couldn’t imagine your children have in nature.
For example, block toys or instructive toys that need to follow a step by step instruction would be one of the good toys for your kids who have concentration difficulties.
- Just sitting no moving – After all those hands-on, thinking and sequencing activities are in place, encourage your kids to sit on a chair without moving to complete their game. So you may check how long he can do it. Then you may try to lengthen their focus span each time he revisit the game or another game. By repeating this characteristic, the child’s brain is challenged and conditioned that strengthens his mind-body connections and improves focus.
- Set time goal for the game – You may set a time goal for completing the game. This may give your children a sense of urgency for completion and boost their focus further. But please be aware of the average adult’s concentration span is 45 minutes and children’s span would be way lower. Normally, an average children’s span is around 20 to 30 minutes. If the game needs longer time, rest is need in between. Apart from this, you may need to observe your children responses to the time goal. It is because some children thrive under time goals, other children might feel pressurized and may start feeling anxious and lose focus.
2. Finding your child’s learning method (visual, auditory, kinaesthetic)
Everyone, including you and me, learns in a different ways. Some of us learn through listening, some may learn best with seeing, and they are people learn with touching or doing.
Studies show that there are 3main learning methods naturally inherit in every one of us. There are categories as visual learning (learnt by seeing), auditory learning (learnt by listening) and kinaesthetic learning (learnt by doing). So there is no exception for children from this learning method. They fall in either one of the learning category.
Why is it important to know which category your children fall in? It is because letting your children expose to information in his learning method will help them learn easily and not distracted by information processing method that is not natural to him. This gives him a sense of motivation and confidence on learning. So he may not easily opt out from the given task which does not affect his attention span.
- Visual – Children who are visual learners like to sit at the front of the class. Taking detailed notes and create mental images to retain information will be most effective to his learning. As a result, they will be more enjoying looking at pictures, videos, map, charts and diagram. As they understand information better when they are able to see it. So the focus and concentration of the visual learners will be improved exponentially if they are exposed to material or activities relate more on visual aids.
- Auditory – Auditory learners are children who learn best by listening to recordings and podcast to take notes from. For this group of learner repeating facts out loud is easier for them to remember. In this regard, they might find audio books more helpful than paperback books. Further, since listening is their nature of learning, listing to music may also help these children increase their concentration as well.
- Kinaesthetic – Children who are kinaesthetic need to be able to touch and feel their subject matter to understand and process it better. For these children, they would like to go on field trips, doing hands-on experiments and solving real-life problems.
“When our children were learning about invention, we will bring them to visit national science center to explore all aspect of science. When they got back to learning center, we would sit together and build the selected invention and decorated it. Ever since then, the children can remember the invention concept easily.” – Our structure robotics camp activities for diversify learning.
Please pay attention to your kid’s natural learning method. As their natural learning method will directly affect their focus and concentration span.
3. Make bigger tasks into smaller-simpler tasks
Focus and concentration of children will be distracted easily in the beginning of task is due to the fact that the children is overwhelming with the big tasks that need to be done. They will feel complicated and difficult to carry out the task in one go. Finally, they quit and give up in the early stage of the task and their focus span also terminated on the same time.
So instead of letting your children feel that way, let’s break down the big task into smaller and simple tasks that are according to their level of capability. This makes it easier to handle for them where they will not easily give up. If the starting point or task is below or at least at their level, they will be more motivated to involve and finishing the task. This in return, practised their focus and concentration span.
Always remember, doing is better than not doing. Every time your children repeat the above steps, they earn a chance to strengthen their focus and concentration. Giving up in the earlier stage in any tasks or games or activities, make no progression on the positive. Let’s encourage them to play and learn.
Like any skill, your children’s focus and concentration can be improved and mastered. The only way is to be consistent on the practice. Apart from this, all these practice of the 3 steps will not only increase your children’s focus and concentration. It will build a close bonding between you and your children along each practice. So let’s enjoy the process, as it is always overlooked, “the journey is the reward.”
Don’t forget to share these focus and concentration tips with your friends & family. Have we missed a point on how to increase concentration power in kids? Do let us know which worked best for you & your child thru email @ firstname.lastname@example.org.