Frustration, procrastination, and low self-esteem can be signs your child is struggling with focus issues. Whether they have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD or not, their lack of focus is a signal they need some help. The good news is that uncovering the need for strategies to overcome is the first step in moving forward.
Once you’ve identified your child’s need for a focus plan, reach out for help from his or her teacher, doctor, and other professionals. You’re not the first one in this situation, so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. With some diligence on your part to find the right solutions and with the cooperation of your son or daughter, the focus situation can be remedied.
At Read Smart, we understand that some children get frustrated with reading. We’ve helped kids overcome the struggle with our proven system, caring instructors, and nurturing environment. You’d be surprised at how common it is for kids to fight focusing issues. We’ve got solutions that will set your mind at ease and help your child succeed both in and out of school.
Here are some tips to improve focus in your children:
1. Practice simple mindfulness techniques:
Simply practice (with your child) sitting quietly and focusing on deep breathing. If you’ll encourage your child to practice this when they are calm, it can become a valuable tool for them to use when stressful situations occur in their life. Encourage your child to take some deep breaths before starting homework assignments, taking a test, or going into a challenging setting.
2. Do things one step at a time:
Have you ever asked for directions and had someone answer you with 10 different steps? It can be frustrating to feel overloaded with too much information, no matter what your age is. Kids can feel that way when focusing is challenging. Don’t overload them with too many directions at once. In order to help them listen, remember, and follow through on directions, take it one step at a time. Break down assignments into steps and encourage your child to simply do them one step at a time. When the one step process works successfully consistently, bump it up to two directions at a time, and observe how that works for your child.
3. Begin with the end in mind:
Set a visible timer when your child begins a difficult task. Let them know that when the time is up, you’ll move on to the next activity. For example, if your child is taking music lessons, yet dreads practice, set a timer and let them know they’ll have free time as soon as they practice for 15 minutes. Increase the time incrementally as your child’s focus improves. Help them cultivate internal motivation to accomplish tasks. Sometimes if they understand why it’s important to do various things that they may not enjoy, it can help them conquer the challenge. If they begin with the end in mind, it can help them succeed. For example, if they want a place in the school band, they’ll need to practice their music scales, and get happy about it! Help them picture the goal, and it will boost the daily tasks.
4. Observe what works best for your child:
Does your child focus best when there are minimal distractions around? Do they respond to classical music in the background, or other calm music? Would it help to put cell phones away and keep televisions off during homework time? Find out what helps your child to thrive, and stick with it.
5. When distractions come, redirect:
If your child’s attention drifts from their current task of reading or other homework, signal them to refocus on the task at hand. Find a simple signal that works, and communicate that signal to your child. It may be a facial expression, or a hand on their shoulder. Discover what works best for your child, and calmly give them the signal when it’s needed.
6. Look into fidgets for possible solutions:
Some children respond well to fidgets for tactile stimulation. It can help them focus or refocus on the task at hand. Fidgets can be as simple as silly putty or a koosh ball.
Some children struggle with reading focus. At Read Smart, we help students learn to master reading skills so they can succeed at school and in life. Check out what parents are saying about Read Smart, and contact us to get a free reading evaluation today.