LW4K Video Series: What is Focus?

Welcome to our new LW4K Video Series where we take an executive function skill and break it down into easy-to-understand examples. This series also provides examples of video games that can help your child enhance their executive functioning skills, as well as examples of when this skill can be utilized in real life. Click here to watch the first installment of the series: What is Focus? The transcript of the video is also provided below for your convenience. 


What is Focus? Focus is the thinking skill that helps you to:

  1. Begin a task without putting it off
  2. Concentrate 
  3. Ignore distractions 
  4. And Finish a task once you have started

Focus can help you to:

  1. Start your homework without putting it off
  2. Stay on track at school 
  3. Pay attention during tests, quizzes, and receiving directions 
  4. And completing longer projects for school and extracurricular activities

Here are some examples of times when you might use Focus in your everyday life:

  1. When you are practicing a new song on an instrument 
  2. When you are learning a new skill in sports 
  3. When your teacher is giving the class instructions for a project
  4. When you are watching an educational video in class
  5. When you concentrate even when it is noisy around you 
  6. When you pick a spot to do your homework that is quiet 
  7. When you turn off the TV before you begin your homework
  8. When you can come back to a task and finish it after being interrupted

Focus is also an important skill for playing video games: 

In the game Mario Kart 8 Ultimate, players need to keep their eyes on several different factors while they race such as upcoming turns, and the location of helpful items. They must also be aware of where other players are on the track, but not be distracted by them. Failing to focus on driving could lead to a missed turn, a run-in with a banana peel, or being passed by several other players. It only takes one bad move in the game to send the player to the back of the line, so focusing is essential to winning the race every time. 

Focusing is also important in games where multiple projects can occur at the same time. In the game Stardew Valley, the player has a limited number of hours each day to choose between farming, foraging, exploring, building relationships, fishing, and dungeon crawling. Because all of these activities have different rewards, the player must focus on the task they have chosen and not be distracted by all the other possibilities the game has to offer. If a player does not use their focusing skills, they may find that they have spent too much time doing small parts of many projects instead of completing one project on time. 

Blocking out distractions is another way to use Focusing in video games. In Moving Out, the player works for a moving company who packs up homes where there is a lot going on at all times. The player is on a strict schedule and needs to finish packing the truck before the timer runs out. They will need to block out moving cars, ghosts, and other distractions to successfully pack up all the furniture and earn a high score. 

The next time you are playing a video game, think about all the times you are using your focusing skills. Then think about how focusing helped you accomplish your goals within the game. Try and use these skills the next time you are trying to focus in school or complete a chore as soon as you’re asked to do it. You just may find that by practicing your focusing skills in games, you are getting better at this skill in real life too! 


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