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


Mental Focusing Techniques - How to Improve Focusing in Children

By Andrew Loh

When you say that your children are able to focus, it means that they can keep their minds concentrated on a given task for a reasonable period. The task can be anything in nature; it can relate to reading a book, writing notes, listening to music or even watching a cartoon show. On the other side, the period need not be too long. Nature forces almost everyone to stop concentrating after some time - no matter what he or she do or perform. People will need to take a small break so that they can refresh their minds and later refocus again on the assigned task. These things apply to your children too! After all, they are just like us although smaller in age.

However, the issue of mental focus assumes more importance among children because focusing and concentrating forms the most basic human character. Lack of focus in children can damage their academic performance and impair learning abilities. Lack of focus is also precursor to many other negative effects that have the ability to spoil the personal nature itself. Several factors affect your children's mental focus either singly or in combination. These factors are:

Age - In general, small children often find it very difficult to focus on things or issues. This is so true in the age bracket of 5 and 12 years. However, older children above 12 years develop the ability to focus on their studies and lessons. However, in some cases, even older children may lack the ability to focus on their studies. If you feel that there I something wrong, you can always consult a doctor or an educational expert.

Internal motivation and interest - You can never do anything if you do not show an interest to do that thing. If you develop an interest, you may be able to concentrate and focus on the work for longer durations. It is so common to see many children complaining that they cannot do a particular kind of work. Your children are not too different. At times, you may notice that your children work for a longer duration. This is possible only when they show an interest in a particular task.

Circumstances - What happens to one's life can harm one's ability focus or concentrate. If your children face an uncertain personal life, then they will lose their mental focus and concentration.

Personal health - General health status can seriously affect the ability to focus. Illnesses, fevers, extended spell of diseases or even lack of sleep can affect focus and concentration. Personal health status can impair the ability to concentrate or focus.

Ambience - Immediate ambience or surrounding can seriously affect the way in which your children concentrate and focus. Some children can easily focus on things even in presence of excessive noise while many others lose their concentration within seconds. When the conditions are not right, your children may not be able to concentrate on their studies.

Identifying the needs and requirements - If your children know what they want from a certain situation, they can easily focus on the assigned tasks. If your children do not know the time required to finish job, then they will find it difficult to concentrate on the job.

How can you help your children? You can help your children in many ways. Each child is different and he or she needs different learning experience. You will need to watch your children very closely to understand their needs and requirements. Most children are able to focus in something or a particular task. Before assuming that they are unable to focus, you will need to watch them for a day or two. You can watch their actions throughout the day to find out when they are able to concentrate or when they do not. Watch their activities very closely; most children can concentrate on a particular task when compared to others.

You will need to be very reasonable while developing expectations about your children. Never ever, demand too much from your children. Most of them need some relaxation after some time. You can also cajole your children to develop an interest in what they are doing. If they show an interest, they will be able to focus better. Enthusiasm is the key to better mental focus. If you show an active interest in what you children are doing, you are indirectly helping them develop better focus and concentration.

Never be a bitter critique of your children! Praise them more than you criticize them. You may need to gel interest and praise to make them develop mental focus. Finding fault is very easy! However, providing solutions to a problem is very difficult. When your children work well to finish their assigned tasks, you can give them some form of rewards. A small reward can easily help them to work towards developing better focus. Provide your children best conditions to learn and play. Provide serene environment to study their lessons. See that your children do not face distractions while studying.

Like adults, even children have their own deficiencies especially while focusing on some task or work. You will need to understand that developing mental focus is a very slow act and you simply cannot force it on your children. Here are some simple tips to help your children develop mental focus:

  • Play chess with your children especially in the morning. Chess is a wonderful game that can make your children focus and concentrate on a particular task for longer durations. Chess is a thinking person's game and it needs lot of concentration and focus to win.

  • Play board and strategy games like Monopoly with your children. Board games are extremely good for developing concentration and focus. Play easy games in the beginning and proceed to difficult ones as you see your children developing focus.

  • Read stories to your children and ask them to interact with you about the story. Stories and poems can be very good tools for developing focus and concentration.

  • Solving puzzles and riddles can assist your children how to focus and concentrate on a special task. Bring home lots of puzzle and riddle games.

You can also try to establish set and rigid routines to help your children stay on the course. Most of the daily routines are very common and you can enforce them with your children. Here are some of the most common routines:

  • Fixed bed time

  • Fixed wake up time

  • Fixed breakfast, luncheon and dinner time

  • Fixed time for homework

  • Fixed time for play and TV

  • Fixed time for reading

Most probably, you will face stiff resistance from your children. After all, it is their nature to rebel against you. You may wish to be very rigid about these rules and routines. Children always test rules and you. Be ready to face some form of resistance in the initial stages.


Child Development

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