It can be a nightmare when your boss called for a last-minute emergency meeting and you are screaming at your kid, getting them to focus on completing their homework but to no avail.
Been there, done that, countless of times.
Much thanks to COVID-19, kids everywhere are now having their lessons online in the comfort of their homes. It’s a daily battle for many parents, leaving them stressed out and feeling helpless. Some parents give in, while others try to find solutions to improve their child’s focus problems.
If you are one of these parents, stress not!
I know how difficult it can be to stay sane, so here are 5 useful tips to help you.
1. Create a timetable with your child.
Teach your kids to be disciplined by creating a daily schedule, and stick to it. Write down the time to start on the assignments, including study breaks, breakfast, lunchtime, and the time of the completion of the assignments.
Allow your child to doodle freely when designing the timetable. This not only brings out the creativity in them, but it will also give them a sense of belonging.
2. Focus your child only on the day’s objectives and list them down
Like adults, kids should learn to set goals too, except theirs are simpler ones. For a start, the goals can be focused on completing the assignments set by their teachers, slowly adding in perhaps reading or revision of your own as part of their day’s study goals.
This is to let them have a clearer understanding of what assignment is needed to be completed. You can also break down the large assignments into smaller parts if you feel that your kid is having difficulties understanding the assignment.
When things are made easier for them to handle, it will be less daunting and lesser the chances of tantrums and frustrations.
3. Have a dedicated study area or space
To improve your child’s focus, try not to put your child’s study table in the same room with their play area. The toys will cause their mind to wander, distracting them from focusing on the task on hand.
If there are younger siblings, have the study area away from them.
Be mindful to keep the area neat and tidy, only their study items, eg books, pencil case, note-books, are on the table. This will subconsciously switch their mind to study mode and thus increase their focus.
4. Give your child a break after they finish an assignment
It takes great effort for any of us to fully focus on a task, what more a child? The attention span on children is shorter, so avoid having high expectations. Instead, reward your child when they finish an assignment, whether it’s the entire or a small portion of it. Give them a break, allow them to play with their toys, or have a snack, before starting on the next assignment.
5. Use a format similar to the Pomodoro Technique
If you haven’t heard of the Pomodoro Technique, it’s a method used by many to improve their time management skills.
The Pomodoro Technique uses a tomato-shaped timer (or through a mobile app), and tasks are to be completed within 25 minutes with no distractions whatsoever.
Let’s face it, young children will have difficulty focusing for 25 minutes. To be realistic, you can set a timer to 15 minutes. At the start, there will be a lot of excitement and questionings going on (maybe even tantrums) but once your child gets the hang of it, it will improve their focus greatly.
You can even make it into a game between you and your child, the more fun it seems to be, the more willing your child will be open to it. After 15 minutes when the timer rings, give your child (and you) a 5-minute break. This is to allow the brain to rest, recharge, and be ready for the next task.
An extra tip for being an awesome parent!
#Sleep. That’s right! Sleep is one of the crucial factors in a child’s focus. The average hours of sleep a child (6-12 years old) needs should be about 9 to 11h. The younger they are, the longer the hours of sleep needed.
Here is some advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics
– Keep your child’s bedroom cool and quiet.
– If he or she is afraid of the dark, place a small lamp at the corner but keep the room dim.
– Avoid placing TV or computers in their bedrooms
– Introduce a sleep routine, tug them into bed the same time every day, change them into pajamas, or read their favorite bedtime story every day.
A daily routine will, in turn, become a flow, placing them into their comfort zones.
Breathe, Meditate and Take Things Easy
While you are reinforcing these tips to improve your child’s focus, remember that the main star is your child. Regardless of how much we wish to murder them in our minds, we want nothing but the best for them. Always encourage them after they finish a task, especially when they are not getting distracted by some other activities.
Try to avoid putting too much stress on your child when one method doesn’t work. There are many other methods that you might be able to tweak based on your child’s capabilities. Every child is different, so just go with the flow.
Your child’s self-esteem and self-motivation will also improve when they feel that their efforts are being appreciated by their parents, that is you. Offer them a deal they cannot resist, for instance, the toy you promised them at the end the week should they put in the effort and focus on their daily assignments.
If you have friends who are parents themselves and searching for more tips on improving their child’s focus, feel free to share the love by clicking on the share button or this link!
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