Fighting For Focus: How To Help Your Child Focus In School (And At Home)
It’s common for students at all grade levels to have trouble staying focused.
Whether it’s struggling to pay attention in class or having a tough time completing homework assignments, focus issues can have a big impact on student’s performance.
There can be many reasons children struggle to focus in school—from lack of comprehension to organization problems. The good news: with the proper goals and structure, it’s possible to help your child improve his or her focus and concentration.
Start helping your child focus better in school by following these 15 tips.
How To Help Your Child Focus (At School And At Home)
Help Your Child Focus His/Her Mind
Tip 1 – Do One Thing At A Time
For many students, multitasking is not their friend. Jumping between tasks causes any momentum to be lost. Train your child to tackle one thing at a time, rather than working on multiple things at once. This will help focus your child’s mind on what’s in front of him or her, rather than trying to think about too many different things at once.
Tip 2 – Break Things Down
Breaking down large assignments into smaller tasks can help improve focus by making things more manageable to tackle. Trying to take on too much at once is a recipe for boredom and distraction. By breaking things down, your child has a clear idea of what needs to be done and a sense of accomplishment once it’s completed. That accomplishment can be a big motivation-booster!
Tip 3 – Make A List Of Goals
Sometimes, it’s not that students can’t focus—it’s that they don’t know what to focus on. Before your child tackles any assignment or starts a study session, create a list of goals to give your child direction. For example, if your child is sitting down to a study session, his or her goals may be to review and create study notes for 1 chapter or topic.
Once your child has achieved these goals, take a break to allow your child to refresh his or her brain before tackling a new task.
Create (Organized) Work Environments
Tip 4 – Make A Dedicated Workspace
A disorganized space can be a major cause of distraction for your child. Make sure your child has a dedicated study space such as a desk or table to work on. This space should be clear of clutter and only include items that he or she needs for that study session (like his/her textbook, notebook, study tools, and note-taking supplies).
Tip 5 – Organize Notebooks And Notes
Organized notes are just as important as an organized study space. Help your child organize his or her notes so they are easy to find—colour-coded tabs or folders for each subject are a great option.
Make sure your child’s class notes are neat as well. Disorganized and incomplete notes can be a big concentration-killer for students. Learning how to take effective study notes ensures that your child can spend his or her time reviewing a topic, rather than searching for missing information.
Tip 6 – Learn How To Deal With Distractions
You won’t always be able to completely remove distractions—so teach your child how to deal with them, instead. Help your child brainstorm ways to refocus on the task at hand when he or she becomes distracted.
When your child is having trouble focusing, encourage him or her to get up and take a short break from what he or she is working on. For classroom distractions where getting up might not be an option, something as simple as your child closing his or her eyes and taking a few deep breaths can help refocus the mind.
Establish Consistent Routines
Tip 7 – Set Aside Time For Studying And Homework
Many children do best when they have a set routine they can stick to. Help your child create a daily schedule that includes time for homework, study breaks, and any other activities. Sticking to this schedule will help get your child into a routine where he or she is ready to sit down and focus on schoolwork.
Expert focus tip: Don’t forget to leave room for free time to allow your child’s brain to relax and recharge!
Tip 8 – Plan Study Breaks
Doing schoolwork for hours at a time without taking any breaks can quickly lead to a student’s focus dropping to zero. Plan frequent study breaks for your child to give him or her a chance to work off any extra energy, and help avoid becoming frustrated or overwhelmed.
Check out our blog post to learn how to take an effective study break.
Tip 9 – Stick To A Set Bedtime & Wake Up Routine
A well-rested mind is a focused mind. Help your child create and stick to a nightly routine so he or she gets to bed at a decent hour. A good sleep will help give your child’s mind a chance to absorb everything from the day and recharge for tomorrow.
Find Focus In Everyday Activities
Tip 10 – Play Focus Games And Activities To Build Attention
Jigsaw and crossword puzzles are a great activity to give your child’s brain a workout outside of the classroom. These activities require problem-solving and focus, both of which your child can use in the classroom and while doing schoolwork. (Plus, they’re a fun activity for your child!)
Tip 11 – Help Your Child Practise Mindfulness
Mindfulness involves focusing your awareness on the present moment while acknowledging your thoughts and feelings. When your child is becoming distracted, encourage him or her to take a 5 minute break to sit quietly and take a moment for him or herself. Have your child use this time to think about what is distracting him or her and how to refocus on the task at hand.
Tip 12 – Find Something Your Child Is Excited About
Lack of focus can come from a lack of engagement with the material. The solution: connect learning to something your child is interested in. For example, if your child is working on a book report but has trouble sitting down to actually read, try choosing a book on a topic he or she is interested in or wants to learn more about.
Talk About School Strategies
Tip 13 – Sit At The Front Of The Classroom
The classroom is full of distractions that can impact your child’s focus. Encourage your child to find a seat at the front of the classroom so he or she can focus on what the teacher is saying. If your child’s classroom has assigned seating, talk to the teacher about having him or her moved closer to the front if possible.
Tip 14 – Sit Farther Away From Distractions
Find out the common distractions your child struggles with when he or she is in class. It might be sitting near chatty friends or sitting beside a window. You can find out what may be distracting your child by asking his or her teacher, or talking to your child. Once you know what the biggest classroom distractions are, you and your child can work on a plan to overcome them.
Tip 15 – Keep An Organized School Workspace
Just like at home, your child’s school workspace should be organized and provide the study tools he or she needs. This includes desks, lockers, and even backpacks. Encourage your child to clean out his or her school workspaces often, properly organizing stray notes into their proper binder and throwing away old, unneeded items (like that half-eaten lunch from two weeks ago).
Start Finding Your Focus
With these tips, your child can start building his or her focus skills and get on track to success. And if he or she needs a bit of extra help, our study skills tutoring program can help!