Is your child easily distracted and restless? You’re not alone. Many parents complain that their child has poor concentration. Some of it is to be expected: toddlers are naturally restless, and even older kids can get tired in the middle of a task. But what do we do when this lack of concentration affects his grades? He may leave his homework or school work unfinished, or put it off so many times that he ends up submitting crammed, haphazard work. How do you teach him to concentrate on his homework?
Find what motivates him
How can a child who gets restless after 5 minutes of Math spend 2 straight hours playing a computer strategy game? The secret is motivation and interest. Math is ‘boring’ and ‘abstract’ but something like Counterstrike (which also involves analysis and computation) is ‘fun.’ So try to help him find something fun, or at least desirable, in each task. If he doesn’t like his textbook, scour the bookstores for other educational material that presents the facts in a more colorful and interesting way. Get him educational software, or relate the topic to something he likes. And introduce fun games that build concentration.
Consider emotional circumstances
Your child may be distracted by personal problems or a troubled home environment. Ask him about his day; teach him positive and healthy ways to express fears and other emotions (like keeping a diary). Let him know that you’re always around if he needs to talk about something.
Build his energy levels
Make sure your child gets enough sleep and nutrition. This starts with a good breakfast (kids who skip breakfast have lower test scores and are more restless in class). Limit sweet food that lead to sugar highs, and sugar crashes. This includes ‘hidden sugars’ like those in processed food.
Give your child a ‘thinking spot’ where he can do his homework, or any activity that requires concentration and focus. It should be in a quiet area of the house, uncluttered, and with no distractions. Eventually your child will associate that place with work, and will be in the proper mindframe each time he sits down.
It’s easier to focus on tasks if you have clear goals and time limits. For example, ‘Read and answer pages 210 to 225 in 45 minutes.’ Then reward them for accomplishing that task: ‘After finishing those pages, you can have 20 minutes of computer time.’
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