- What causes lack of concentration in a child?
- How can I improve my child's concentration and focus?
- How to help a child focus in the classroom
Have you noticed your child acting differently recently? Maybe they seem restless or easily distracted, they’ve started to lose things and have become unorganised, or maybe they’re even struggling with schoolwork. If you’ve spotted any of these behaviours in your young one, it’s possible that they’re having some problems concentrating. 😑
There are many reasons why a child can suffer from attention and concentration difficulties, but there are also ways to improve these issues. Keep reading to find out how!
What causes the lack of concentration in a child?
Is your child having trouble concentrating, or trouble focusing? Before you start to worry, there may be a simple reason as to why they’re having difficulty focusing. Take a look through the following possibilities to see if any ring a bell.
- Not getting enough sleep
The amount of sleep children need every day differs according to age, but it can fall anywhere between 10 and 14 hours up until they reach the age of 12, when it drops to nine hours. If your child isn’t getting the right amount of sleep, this can result in an inability to concentrate. 😴
- An unbalanced diet
What we put in our body has a big effect on many things, including concentration. If your child is skipping meals or has a diet high in sugar and fat, this can lead to attention problems.
- Tasks are too difficult
Whether at home or school, if something is too hard for your child, they’re likely to have difficulty focusing. 🤯
- Too many distractions
Video games, TVs, smart phones, tablets, Netflix – as fun and enjoyable as these may be, they’re also prime material for child concentration problems. 📺
- Problems and worries
As we know, being an adult means a whole host of worries, problems and reasons to run for the hills! And this can result in trouble focusing at work or concentrating on important tasks at hand. Children can experience the same issue. If your young one has things on their mind or is going through something personal, this can lead to an easily distracted child.
- Not getting enough exercise
A lack of sports or exercise can lead to a lack of concentration and focus in child behaviour. 🏃
- Being unorganised
Is your child a little scatty? Do they leave their belongings everywhere, forget things and not write down important information relating to homework and schoolwork? Child focus problems can be made worse by a lack of organisation.
- Learning difficulties
If you are concerned about your child’s behaviour and think they’re displaying symptoms of learning difficulties such as ADD, ADHD or Dyslexia, we recommend that you seek the advice of a medical professional. 🧑⚕️
How can I improve my child's concentration and focus?
Before looking at ways to improve poor concentration in child behaviour, it might be helpful for you to know how long your child’s attention span is! For example, what’s the attention span of a 4-year-old? Well, if you follow the rule that it’s about two to three times their age, a 4-year-old's attention span will be about 8-12 minutes. Try to keep this in mind when you’re worrying – too much 😉 – about your child’s concentration levels. Now you know how long your child’s attention span should be, here are some tips to improve their concentration and focus.
- Implement a healthy bedtime routine
If your child isn’t getting enough sleep, try helping them establish a bedtime routine that will prepare them for a good night’s sleep. Things such as reading, decreased screen time and a bath are all excellent ways to calm the body down and get it ready for bed. 🛏️
- Keep diets balanced and meals regular
A balanced diet can help keep concentration levels steady and improve memory. It’s also important that your child doesn’t skip meals because if they’re hungry, they’re not likely to be focusing on much else! 🥪 On the other end of the scale, if your child’s eating too much, this can make them tired. The sweet spot is a diet full of essential nutrients, which should leave your child satiated and ready to focus.
- Simplify long or difficult tasks
Try breaking up long-winded house chores into smaller chunks so they don't appear as daunting. For example, if you want your child to sort out their bedroom, allow them to do so by focusing on a small area at a time. If their homework is too hard, try sitting with them and helping them work through tough questions. Any concerns about homework struggles should be brought to the attention of your child’s teacher if the problem is ongoing.
- Keep distractions to a minimum
If you’ve asked your child to do something that requires focus or if they’re doing homework, make sure that any distractions are out of sight and in another room – that includes all screen devices!Should they need a computer to help with schoolwork, make sure they’re only accessing the relevant websites. 🖥️
- Maintain a daily schedule
Much like a bedtime routine can help with better sleep, a daily schedule can help your child concentrate because they’ll know at which points in the day they need to be focusing more and when they can have a break. Without being too regimented, try keeping fixed times for when your child does their homework, has play time, reads, does house chores etc. Not only will this help with their time management skills, but it also lets them know when they need to be in concentration mode. 📆
- Allow naps when they’re overtired
Let’s be honest, school is exhausting! If you let your child have a quick nap after school or in the afternoon, they’ll have a boost of energy to get homework done! About 30 minutes is enough for young kids and teens, and make sure it doesn’t happen too late in the day or it will interfere with bedtime.
- Set time limits
For tasks such as reading or homework, set time limits so that your child knows there is an endpoint and is able to make the best of their concentration levels for that burst of time. Short attention span in child behaviour can make completing tasks tough, so take into account how long theirs will last. Remember, it will be about two to three times their age. 🤔
How to help a child focus in the classroom
For all the teachers out there who are having issues with a lack of concentration in child students, here are some tips from the NHS on how to help a child focus in the classroom. 🧑🏫
- Keep your language simple.
- Be aware of the learning style of the child.
- Demonstrate activities so that the child can follow your example.
- Reduce visual distractions in the classroom, especially around the board.
- Be aware of any noise distractions that could appear from inside and outside the classroom and try to keep them to a minimum.
- Use a list or pictures to keep the day’s activities in order and help keep the child organised.
- Make sure the child’s seat isn’t too close to a window as they’re likely to be distracted by the outside.
- Seat the child with a peer who has better attention and a more settled approach to work.
You'll find these and many more in this NHS Attention and Concentration PDF.
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