Concentration: Methods to Developing Attentiveness

By Jennifer Taylor

Lack of concentration is one of the top problems many children face when they begin school.  For these children it is difficult to stay focused throughout an entire school day, and as a result they often get into trouble within the classroom.   Parents are often at a loss on how to develop stronger concentration skills for their children to help them both in school as well as at home.  Certain children, such as those with ADHD, have more difficulty focusing, but it is a skill that can be developed if practiced over time.  Below are a few ways parents can help build attentiveness and concentration skills with their children.

Explanations First

Often, the first step is defining the term concentration for your child.  For very young children you can use a simple definition such as it means to listen really hard to what someone is saying.  Explain that it is often hard to concentrate if you are doing other things such as talking.

It is also a good idea at this point to explain to your child that it can hurt someone’s feelings if you do not listen to what they say.  Have your child tell you how they feel when others don’t listen to them.  Children, especially those who are very young, may not understand how their actions may affect someone else.  However, they can understand the way another person’s actions affects them.

Play Acting

Along with explaining the term concentration, you may also want to play act scenarios to display what you are actually talking about.  As your child tries to talk you can look around or start talking to someone else.   Ask her if she thought you were doing a good job listening to her.  Follow this up by asking her what you should do differently in order to concentrate better.  By actively engaging your child you are helping her discover for herself what concentration means.  She is also connecting how listening, not talking, and concentration all go together.

Fun and Games

Games are a wonderful way to teach children skills such as attentiveness and concentration.  Simon Says is fun for children and teaches them to listen carefully to instructions before acting.  In order to be good at this game, children learn that they must stop what they are doing and give their full attention to you.

It might seem strange to use a normal children’s game to teach a particular skill; however, we do this all the time without even knowing it.  When children play hide and seek they are learning to look at their surroundings and think of possible hiding places.  They are building certain skills through this exercise.  In the same way, when your child has his full attention on you and is listening to what you will say next during Simon Says, he is learning the art of concentration.

The key to building better concentration skills is realizing that it will take time, and you can implement these changes along with any other recommendations from the school.  These are not meant to replace a plan that is already in place.  Instead, it offers other ways that you as a parent can slowly start building concentration skills at home using simple and fun techniques.

 

Jennifer Taylor is a freelance writer living and working in South Carolina. Happily married, she and her husband have one son. Jennifer believes that each child is a unique individual, and that parents should be able to decide on how to raise their children. She seeks to empower parents to seek out answers and find solutions. You can contact Jennifer at admin@jentaylor.org.

 

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