3 techniques on improving focus in children. Perfect for the child who can’t pay attention for a long time.
My two-year-old was tossing acorns, rocks and leaves into a puddle. He watched which items sunk or floated. He asked why some of them plopped while the others didn’t. He was so engrossed that we stayed crouched by the puddle for an hour and a half.
This isn’t the first time, either. At museums, he stays at a particular exhibit instead of hopping around every few seconds. He’ll play with his door puzzle for 45 minutes straight. And just yesterday, he sat by the bookcase, pulling out books and flipping through them for an hour.
It’s possible for kids to stay focused for a long time. A ton of that has to do with their temperament. But parents can also influence their children’s ability to improve focus.
Improving focus in children
These three simple techniques will help your child hone his ability to improve focus:
#1: Follow your child’s lead
Encourage and improve focus by letting your child decide how to play. Lay toys and books and allow your toddler to decide what to play with, when, and for how long.
You can still have a general agenda and even make suggestions, but allow him to determine the course of play. He gets to decide that for now he’ll play with his stuffed bunny, and maybe later stack some blocks.
Be careful not to cram too many commitments in a day so he has can decide what to play. He’s more likely to stay interested and develop longer attention spans.
Imagine you’re at work, concentrating on your assignment. Suddenly, a coworker pops up asking if you could send her the file you worked on yesterday.
You stop your work to look for the file to send. Just as you finished that task, another coworker swings by and starts talking about her day. More interruptions. You get the idea.
Sit in the sidelines and allow your child to stay focused. You can ask questions, but don’t hover over every minute of the activity or decide what to do all the time.
My toddler was reading for an hour yesterday. I sat nearby and answered a few of his questions, but I gave him time to be alone. I even used this opportunity to chop vegetables in the kitchen.
Your child will let you know when he wants company. Otherwise, give him uninterrupted time to play and discover.
#3: Promote activities between challenging and easy
Give your child an easy toy and he’ll lose interest quickly. Do the same with a difficult one and he’ll get frustrated.
Promote activities challenging enough to ignite effort but not so difficult to cause frustration. Some toys may be too difficult for your child that he gets upset and give up. Easy activities or toys he’s already figured out won’t keep him interested for long.
I’m not sure what my toddler learned during that hour and a half at the puddle. Maybe he realized that leaves float while rocks sink. Or he found new ways to play with water that he can try during bath time. Or maybe he just liked looking at the reflection of the trees above him.
Whatever he got out of it, he loved every moment. Beeping trucks and yelling kids and even a Mama trying to coerce him to go home didn’t deter his focus.
Get more tips about how to improve focus:
- How to Teach Our Kids to Embrace Mistakes
- Teach Your Child the Value of a Job Well Done
- How to Keep Your Child Learning in the Summer
- 8 Long Term Benefits of Reading to Your Child
- How to Raise a Smart Child
How do you help your child improve focus?