Without an adequate amount of concentration, it's unlikely your child will have the ability to focus on in-school lessons, homework or even her leisure-time activities. While every child shows signs of inattentiveness at some point or another, some kids have more trouble than others when it comes to concentration. Depending on her age, you can expect her to pay attention and concentrate for progressively longer periods of time. Teaching your child the importance of concentration early on, and reinforcing I as she ages, can help your little one focus and manage daily tasks or master organizational skills.
1 Compare the amount of time it takes your child to complete a simple task when she focuses and when she losses attention. For example, ask her to concentrate on reading a story for five minutes. Repeat the activity, allowing her to get distracted by watching TV or engaging in another simultaneous action. Time how much longer it takes her to finish reading while distracted. Discuss the differences between the two times and ask her whether she noticed the difference.
2 Play a concentration game with your child. These educationally entertaining activities can help kids understand the importance of concentration and build focusing skills. Try a paper and pen maze with your grade-schooler to help her focus her attention on one goal. As your child ages and grows better at concentrating, you can try board games that involve complex rules or last for fairly lengthy stretches of time such as an hour or more.
3 Read a book together. Start your book-reading activity by asking your child a few key questions such as "What does the main character do in the story?" or "Where is the story set?" As she goes through the story, she must concentrate on what she is reading -- or what you are saying, depending on her age -- in order to answer the questions. If she stops concentrating, she won't have the ability to come up with the answers and will see the negative consequences of her lack of focus.
4 Help your child understand that concentration on school work is key to her academic success. While she might think that concentration is only necessary during after-school study periods, she needs to learn that inattention during school can cost her a good grade. When she gets home from school pick one class or subject and ask her what she did -- or learned -- during the day. If she can't tell you, or didn't concentrate long enough to actually remember it, discuss how she will now need extra study time to make up for what she lost. She likely will quickly learn that concentrating on a task is better than having to re-do it or add in extra study time.
Items you will need
- Board games
- Paper mazes
- A pen
- A watch or timer
- Try different concentration tasks on different days, instead of sticking to the same old activities. For example, try a puzzle on Monday, a maze on Tuesday and a book-reading game on Wednesday.
- If your child is having what seems like serious difficulty understanding why concentration is important or just can't focus at all, consult a professional -- such as her pediatrician -- for help and guidance.
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