Focus and attention are interesting aspects of human beings, while an adult will understand sitting still and directing their attention to something to absorb or appreciate the subject of their concentration, a child might find the concept impossible. Of course, every child is different, some will be able to focus their attention with no problem, while others and especially those affected by commonly found attention-deficit disorders, struggle with an ability to concentrate. Luckily, focus and attention can be trained in easy to handle bursts in order to build up concentration and assist your children during learning, playing or even just to watch a movie all the way through.
Why Is Focus Important?
Focus is affected by the subject you are giving your concentration to, something fun or interesting is going to grab your attention and keep you captivated while a boring talk or lecture is going to make you feel bored or even tired. Children are also naturally curious, and their brains function slightly differently to an adult, this contributes to a shorter attention span and the tendency to jump between multiple subjects or exciting topics.
The problem with a lack of focus however, is the inability to learn topics to the best of an individual’s ability which can have an extremely negative effect on acquiring accreditations and will go on to cause further problems when your child is all grown up and working as a professional. If they cannot complete tasks in their job role, they will soon be let go and struggle to find consistent employment, which can directly affect their quality of life. No child deserves to suffer in their adult life due to a lack of importance placed on focus from a young age.
Helping Your Child Build Concentration
From a young age, you are likely to find it impossible to make your child sit still for longer than 10-15 minutes at a time and most children will always want to be on the go. This is completely understandable and can be stressful to a youngster if you try to force them to focus. Instead introduce some focus games and exercises, especially as young children learn extremely well through general play.
Avoid turning to electronic powered gadgets as they have shown to have adverse effect on the attention span of developing children. Instead consider games that require your child to think, especially puzzles, matching games, putting items in order of size or alphabet or even just challenging them to sit still for several minutes at a time.
As your child develops and grows, try to encourage reading to help build attention and concentration, you can even choose books together based on their topics, ask your children if the type of story interests them or if there is a subject or topic they would like to know more about.
Creating an Area for Focus
Providing your child with a dedicated area for focused attention is advantageous for helping them develop their attention span and can be used as a study area as your child grows up and their schooling progresses. The area should be free of electronic gadgets and have resources available to hand, this includes material for research such as books and encyclopaedias and materials to use such as notebooks, pencils and pens.
Ambience is also important, using the school environment as a strong example, consider the difference in the breakout areas where children have access to brightly coloured and fun playground equipment and open areas to run around in. Then the classrooms, which are smaller, contained areas with resources available to hand and relevant material and calming images placed around the room on the walls.
The area you create for your child should be in calming colours, most often pastels and soft shades of blue and green work well, rather than excitable reds and oranges. Make sure lighting is soft but bright enough not to cause eye strain and consider playing gentle instrumental music or white noise, which has been shown to have positive effects on concentration. Most video game music (as long as it is instrumental) is designed around drawing the player in and by extension, increasing attention and can also be used where appropriate.
Helping your child build their attention span can be frustrating for both the child and the parent, so it’s important to show patience and take regular breaks to reduce the risk of frustration turning into anger or resentment from either of you. Instead, make building focus and improving concentration a fun activity that you can both enjoy and take part in, even if you only spend 10 minutes a day on it. You’ll soon notice the difference!