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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Focus and Concentration in Children - Two Important Cognitive Skills for Lifelong Success

By Andrew Loh

Focus and concentration are two of the most important kills to achieve success in life. To accomplish any task or work, children will need to focus and concentrate for some amount of time. Both focus and concentration are essential needs for learning. Two important aspects of class room learning are able to focus on a particular task and stay on it for long enough to listen, comprehend and understand classroom instructions. Most children, who attend their classes would experience some sort of difficulties to focus and concentrate, which eventually impede their abilities to succeed in future. Lack of focus and concentration could be due to tiredness, over-stimulation in the class and out of it and stress. Some children can easily focus and concentrate while others may not. Children are not created equal. However, parents may help their children develop both focus and concentration to extra level with some dedicated efforts. Here are some techniques and methods that parents can adapt in their home to boost focus and concentration.

Tip: The basic trick is to pinpoint what to concentrate on and things to filter out so that only those things that are selected are worked in detail.

Consider Children's Maturity Level

Consider children's maturity level to understand a specific topic. More often, children may lose focus in a particular task because the assigned topic is very easy for them or too difficult to focus and concentrate. For example, a simple math problem may be very easy for some children to solve. However, they would start to focus and concentrate something that is not related to academic learning which eventually affects their learning in the next immediate round of exercise. Similarly, too difficult problems may wean away their ability to concentrate and focus on them. Make sure that the chosen activity fits their maturity and skill level. Explain them that all things that they study or experiences in their life are not too easy while some of them could be very difficult to solve o achieve. Tell them only two things would help them in solving most difficult problems in life: focus and concentration.

Choose a Project and Break It Into Smaller Chunks for Easy Learning

A novel to way to boost focus and concentration in life is to split a large project into smaller pieces and start working on those smaller chunks. Bigger projects may easily overwhelm and tire them. Most children usually find them at cross roads when solving bigger problems or work on larger projects. They might even lose their focus and concentration and start thinking in a negative manner: “What do I do? I simply cannot do this because I do not know where to start!” Instead, when children are given smaller tasks to work and solve, they can develop confidence to do that work which in turn will help them develop better focus.

Avoid Distractions

Distractions are the arch enemies of focus and concentration. With distraction, no one can work in an effective manner. If you want your children to develop focus and concentration, you should provide them a very quiet place to work. Adults have a better ability to filter out distractions to some extent unlike children who are yet to develop that ability. Some of the most common distractions could be TV noise, people walking in and out, noises made by vehicles and even sounds that emanate from the kitchen. It is always better to provide a place where these elements of distractions are filtered out.

Play Focus and Concentration Boosting Games

“Beating the clock” is perhaps the best game to develop concentration! Bring home a good timer and set it for a particular amount of time. Now, ask children to beat that time by focusing on a particular task. Shorter time frames are known to provide better results. The standard practice is to allow a single task for the challenge; children can easily focus and concentrate in a single activity for about 60 seconds per year of age. Give them smaller rewards in the form of verbal recognition or “you did that very well and now it is time to work on the next task” type of confidence boosters so that they can work on the next challenge.

Teach Them How to Set Goals

Learning how to focus and concentrate depends directly in goal setting because the latter can firm up children's mind to achieve something. In other words, setting goals will prioritize and streamline assignments according to their priority. When children know how to set their goals, they can easily focus and concentrate in the given task.

Play Memory Games to Sharpen Intellect and Concentration

Memory games are the best tools to develop focus and concentration in children. The best home-grown memory game is arranging different things, asking children to study them, and later going away from the objects to make a complete list without looking at those objects. Recalling whatever is learnt is perhaps the best way to boost focus and concentration.

More useful techniques are available to develop focus and concentration in children, many of which are listed in the next article Focus and Concentration in Children - Various Techniques to Motivate Children to Learn in an Effective Way.


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