Smartphones, smart TVs, social media, and the world wide web pose as mighty distractions. And, children, their biggest consumers, tend to get lost in them and lose focus.
A lot of parents struggle with getting the attention of their kids. And, if you’ve got a child who seems aloof and doesn’t quite register any instructions fully, then you’d know this struggle.1 Here are some tips and tricks to sharpen your child’s mind.
1. Encourage Engagement In Sports
What better way to enhance your little ones’ focus than to have them master hand-eye coordination? In addition to keeping your child fit, sports like basketball, volleyball, cricket, soccer, and football help boost concentration.
In fact, a study involving children states that physical activity leads to significant improvements in cognition. So, encourage them to sign up for their school’s team.2
2. Break Down Tasks
When you assign a task to your children, break it down step by step. This makes it easier for them to process things.
For instance, if the task is for them to clean their room, then ask them first to make their bed, then put away their toys, and finally set aside their books. Research indicates that this piecemeal strategy not only helps them stay focused but also makes them appreciate how little things come together to form big things.3
3. Have Debates And Discussions At Home
If you want your child to be attentive and participatory in conversations, involve them in group discussions with family members or peers. Be sure to seek out their opinion and build a conversation around the topic so they feel invested in it.
Additionally, do reward their opinions with a compliment. A recent study focused on offering reward points to kids for contributing to a group discussion and found that it makes them want to pay attention. This might just work for your child as well.4
4. Create No-Tech Zones
Designate areas in the house that are strictly no-gadget zones. The study table and dining table are ideal spots to incorporate this rule.5 This might enhance mindfulness, let the kids enjoy their meals, and ensure that they better absorb the information in their books.6
5. Get Them To Try Meditation and Yoga
Studies have pointed out time and again that meditation and yoga have a positive effect on cognition. They sharpen one’s concentration and attention. And, encouraging your children to take either of the two up is a great way to get them to focus on something.
Try simple yoga poses like the seated forward bend, prayer pose, and warrior 2 as they are linked to boosting focus and concentration. You could also opt for yoga classes with them if you’d like.7
Additionally, a study points out that when teaching mindfulness to children, it is important to start simple. This is because if it’s a positive experience for them, they will be encouraged to keep at it.
Hence, just five minutes of breathing deeply can help them focus. Be sure to do this in a quiet and dimly lit place. All you need to do is slowly inhale and exhale while paying attention to your breath.8
6. Avoid Multitasking
Do your mornings involve hurriedly making breakfast while putting on a pair of socks? According to a study, “multitasking” is the equivalent of something called “continuous partial attention,” where the brain quickly switches back and forth between tasks.
So, when a student switches back and forth between homework and streaming through text messages, their ability to focus on either task erodes.9 Though not all multitasking is bad, physically juggling tasks can lead to mistakes. Set an example for your children by doing one thing at a time and teaching them that this helps things get done faster and better.10
7. Load Up On Vitamins and Minerals
A diet supplemented with vitamins and minerals is not only great for your little one’s physical health but also their concentration. According to a study on six-year-olds, the intelligence scores of children taking tablets with a variety of vitamins and minerals was higher than those who didn’t.
Additionally, these kids were also more likely to concentrate better after they’d consumed vitamin and mineral supplements. We’re not saying that your kids need to pop pills to stay focused. But, you could certainly incorporate foods that include these vitamins and minerals in their diet to boost their brain power. So, at your next grocery store visit, fill your cart with blueberries, eggs, walnuts, asparagus, kale, and pumpkin seeds.11
We all want our children to grow into emotionally strong, successful, kind, and considerate individuals. And, for this, it’s important that they stay focused on their goals. Incorporate these tips into their lives to give them that extra nudge towards being more focused.
|↑1||Linn, Susan. “Consuming kids: The hostile takeover of childhood.” (2004).|
|↑2||Sothern, M. S., M. Loftin, R. M. Suskind, J. N. Udall, and U. Blecker. “The health benefits of physical activity in children and adolescents: implications for chronic disease prevention.” European journal of Pediatrics 158, no. 4 (1999): 271-274.|
|↑3||Enhancing and Practicing Executive Function Skills with Children from Infancy to Adolescence. Center On The Developing Child, Harvard University.|
|↑4||Pelham, W. E., B. Gnagy, A. Greiner, B. Hoza, S. Sams, L. Martin, and T. Wilson. “A summer treatment program for children with ADHD.” Model programs for service delivery for child and family mental health (1996): 193-213.|
|↑5||Klorer, P. Gussie. “The effects of technological overload on children: An art therapist’s perspective.” Art Therapy 26, no. 2 (2009): 80-82.|
|↑6||Nikken, Peter, and Marjon Schols. “How and why parents guide the media use of young children.” Journal of child and family studies 24, no. 11 (2015): 3423-3435.|
|↑7||Greenberg, Mark T., and Alexis R. Harris. “Nurturing mindfulness in children and youth: Current state of research.” Child Development Perspectives 6, no. 2 (2012): 161-166.|
|↑8||FoDoR, IRIS E., and Karen E. Hooker. “Teaching mindfulness to children.” Gestalt review 12, no. 1 (2008): 75-91.|
|↑9||Schwartz, Katrina. “Age of distraction: Why it’s crucial for students to learn to focus.” KQED News:“Mindshift.” Retrieved December 5 (2013): 2013.|
|↑10||Rothbart, Mary K., and Michael I. Posner. “The developing brain in a multitasking world.” Developmental Review 35 (2015): 42-63.|
|↑11||Benton, David, and Richard Cook. “Vitamin and mineral supplements improve the intelligence scores and concentration of six-year-old children.” Personality and Individual Differences 12, no. 11 (1991): 1151-1158.|