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10 Reasons Your Child Can’t Concentrate In School (That Aren’t ADD)


Many children have trouble paying attention in class at some point in their academic career.

When this happens, especially with young students, it leaves parents wondering why their child can’t focus—and whether he or she could have a learning difficulty.

It’s important to know that not every student who has a hard time focusing in school has a learning difficulty such as ADD or ADHD.

In many cases, the concentration issues children have in school can be caused by a number of different reasons.

Signs Of A Concentration Problem

Common signs that your child is having trouble concentrating in the classroom include:

  • Low grades
  • A dislike of school
  • Disruptive behaviour in class

These signs don’t automatically mean your child has a learning difficulty. Before you start looking for solutions, the first step is to identify the reasons your child is having trouble focusing in school.

Find out some of the biggest reasons students have a hard time paying attention in class (that aren’t ADD/ADHD).

10 Reasons Your Child Is Having Trouble Focusing In School

Lack of practice

Many young children have a hard time focusing in the classroom simply because they are in a new environment. This can also happen to older children after a break from school, such as March break or summer holidays.

Doesn’t understand the material

What might look like a lack of concentration could actually be a lack of understanding the material. This lack of understanding can lead to students to stop paying attention, and consequently falling further behind.

Isn’t being challenged enough

For some children, what is being taught in class isn’t challenging enough. Children who are not challenged at a high enough level can lose interest in the material and stop paying attention altogether.

Distracted by external stimuli

The classroom can be a place full of distractions, from chatty classmates to a cluttered workstation. Some children have a harder time than others filtering out these distractions making paying attention to the teacher more challenging.

Lack of motivation

In some cases, your child’s concentration problem may actually be a motivation problem. This lack of motivation can lead to a number issues in the classroom—including disinterest in the material.

Mismatched learning style

Different students have different learning styles: some learn best by seeing, some by hearing, and others by doing. If your child’s teacher emphasizes a learning style that doesn’t match with how your child learns, this can result in a lack of focus and understanding.

Not getting proper sleep or nutrition

If your child is not getting the recommended 8-10 hours of sleep each night, he or she won’t have the energy needed to concentrate in class. Skipping breakfast is another big cause of lack of focus in class. If your child is heading to class hungry, he or she is more apt to be distracted than learning-ready.

Disorganization Problems

A disorganized notebook or workspace can be a cause of distractions for students. Coming to class disorganized means your child is spending time searching for the tools and material needed to learn rather than paying attention to what is being taught.

School Anxiety

Anxiety about school or grades can be another deeper issue leading to lack of focus in the classroom. Students who are overwhelmed or stressed by a subject may simply check out, leading to dropping grades and confidence.

Learning difficulties

If your child is having severe problems in the classroom, such as constant disruptions, distractions, or poor grades, and you have ruled out the other items on this list, it could be time to look into possible learning difficulties.

In some cases, these children may have learning difficulties such as ADD, ADHD, or Dyslexia. He or she may also have auditory issues such as CAPD (Central Auditory Discrimination Disorder). Each of these can be addressed with the help of a tutor and learning plan, so your child can improve his or her focus and succeed in the classroom.

Start Overcoming Distractions

Once you know what’s causing your child’s focus issues, you’re ready to start making a plan to overcome it. For more tips on how to help your child improve his or her concentration skills, check out these tips from the experts.






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