Focus is one of the most important thinking skills for academic success, as it helps kids begin tasks without procrastinating, maintain their attention in the presence of distractions, and continue tasks through to completion. It helps kids to work through setbacks and to sustain the effort and energy needed to reach a goal.
Focus is a core skill for learning, as students who cannot sustain their attention and effort on a task will likely encounter a great deal of difficulty when learning complex material.
Give your child’s Focus skills a boost by trying some of the recommended activities below.
Tips for Developing Kids’ Focus Skills:
1.) Tell a cooperative story. This is a technique that is best used for children under the ages of 10. Play a story-building game with your child. Provide a starting point then you and your child will take turns adding sentences to the story. This activity practices the focusing skills because each person needs to retell the story from the beginning on every turn before they add their new line. While you can create the story by either trying to remember exactly what has been said, it is often more effective to use paraphrase what has been said, to further the understanding of the unfolding narrative.
2.) Provide external support for your child that tapers off over time. This could involve coaching them through their first few homework problems or prompting them to start a chore at home. Support could also consist of helping them to form a list of the smaller tasks that each larger task entails, and to then assist them in identifying which of these tasks should be worked on first.
3.) Reward stick-to-it-iveness. When your child experiences the rewards of sticking with a difficult task and completing it, they will be more motivated to do so again the next time. Offering treats, privileges, or simply verbal praise when chores are satisfactorily completed without prompting, can be very rewarding.
4.) Encourage your child to participate in activities that require their full attention. For example, in baseball, have them play catcher, pitcher, or first base. These positions will require them to sustain his attention more than those in the outfield. In music, they should be encouraged to play instruments that are a regular part of the band or orchestra rather than something like cymbals, which are rarely used.
5.) Follow boring and mundane tasks with interesting and stimulating tasks. Your child may be more inclined to complete uninteresting tasks when they can look forward to doing something they enjoy after the task is completed, such as going outside to play after finishing their homework or having dessert after they are done eating their dinner.