It seems as if the level of a child’s concentration is taking as serious a hit as the environment. It may feel like a task to even get your child to sit still for an hour, let alone concentrate on studies.
However, it can’t be ignored that helping children develop self-discipline, effective focus strategies and concentration skills at an early age is a basis for long-term success in high school,college and the professional working world.
Oprah Winfrey suggests some practical and manageable tips parents can use to help their children focus, complete their homework, and ultimately succeed in education.
1. Manage Distractions
The biggest enemy of concentration at home is television. All electronics are a constant
temptation for a child. Even if you ban television and the computer, their minds are likely to
be on gadgets. Instead of banning distractions outright, delegate time limits to their usage.
Whether it’s the phone, laptop or iPod!
2. Make a list
To cover all the areas that you think your child should brush up on, make a to-do list. Don’t
make the list generic, for instance, if your child is weak at mathematics, set some time aside
to practice Geometry or Algebra, instead of just marking “Maths” on the list. This will help
your child cover the whole syllabus, rather than getting stuck on just one topic.
3. Set goals
Sit down with your child to set goals while studying. Make a long term goal and short term
goals. The long term Goals can be what you and your child want to achieve in the academic
year, like a ‘first division in the half yearly exams’, or ‘full marks in Maths’. The short term goals can be varied and numerous – finish a certain number of chapters in one day, finish
practicing verbs, etc. These will help your child concentrate exclusively on the subject at
hand and finish the set goal. You can write down these goals near their study table. Or maybe you could invest in a whiteboard for daily goals!
4. Praise their efforts
Children need motivation, and praise and positivity can give that extra push that a child needs to concentrate. Being negative and criticising can make it more difficult to absorb
information. So, try and compliment your child each time a short-term goal is completed, and
help them make notes. Help if they ask you to. Parental support is crucial for the progress of a child.
5. Take breaks.
Don’t expect your child to study relentlessly for hours. The average attention span of an older child is about 20 minutes. Let them stretch their limbs, take a small walk around the house or grab something to eat every half an hour. This will help them retain what they read and improve their cognitive skills.
Revision is the key to success. Always encourage your child to revise whatever they have
studied that day, not leaving anything for later. This helps with memory and retention.
You must always, however factor in that all children are different. Some children have different styles of studying and understanding, if your child seems disinterested or unable to concentrate, make sure that it is not because of disorders like ADHD or ADD, which are very common.
To help your child give their 100 percent, you must believe in them. Give them adequate space
to unfurl their wings and keep encouraging them, always!