Tips to Help Your Kid Focus

Tips to Help Your Kid Focus

It seems like every day there's a new article about how the attention spans of kids are getting shorter and shorter.

As a parent, it can be hard to know what to do to help your kid focus.

It's important to help your kids learn to focus because it's a skill they'll need for the rest of their lives. 

Here are three tips that might help. If you need more tips, our parenting counseling services are happy to speak with you.

Parenting Therapists in Colorado

Marie Whatley LPCC

Marie Whatley LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Kelsey Motley, LPCC

Kelsey Motley, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Winnie Siwa, LPCC

Winnie Siwa, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Jessica Gutierrez-Gaytan, SWC

Jessica Gutierrez-Gaytan, SWC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Sarah Webster, SWC

Sarah Webster, SWC

Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Cassondra Chagnon, LPCC

Cassondra Chagnon, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 481-3518
Holly Bradbury, LPC

Holly Bradbury, LPC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Abigail Corless, LPCC

Abigail Corless, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Mackenzie Batson, LPCC

Mackenzie Batson, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374

1. Get Them Off Screens an Hour Before Bedtime

This one might be tough, but it's important.

The blue light from screens can interfere with sleep, and a good night's sleep is essential for focus during the day.

Instead of letting your kid veg out in front of the TV or play on their phone before bed, try to have some screen-free time together as a family.

You could read books, play games, or just talk to each other.

2. Make Sure They're Eating Healthy Food

What we eat affects how we feel, and that includes our ability to focus.

Help your kid make smart food choices by stocking your pantry with healthy snacks and packing their lunch with nutrient-rich foods.

And don't forget to lead by example! If you're snacking on junk food all day, they're going to want to do the same.

3. Encourage Physical Activity Every Day

Exercise isn't just good for our bodies, it's good for our brains too.

A daily dose of physical activity can help improve focus, concentration, and memory.

So make sure your kid is getting enough exercise every day, whether that means signing them up for a sport or just making sure they have time to run around outside.

3 Different Types of Focus

Functioning Focus

There are different types of focus, and it's important to understand the difference so you can help your child in the most effective way possible.

The first type of focus is what's known as "functioning focus."

This kind of focus is required for tasks that aren't particularly interesting or stimulating, but still, need to be done (like homework).

It might not be the most fun, but it's important to be able to buckle down and get it done.

To help your child develop functioning focus, you can start by teaching them basic concentration techniques like sitting up straight, taking deep breaths, and counting to 10.

Additionally, breaking tasks down into smaller chunks can help make them feel more manageable (and less daunting).

And finally, eliminating distractions by setting phones on silent and working in a quiet area can also be helpful.

Selective Focus

Another type of focus is "selective focus," which is required when there are multiple stimuli vying for our attention.

An example of this would be if your child is trying to pay attention in class but there's a lot of movement and noise going on around them.

To tune out the distractions and zero in on what's important, they need to be able to selectively focus.

Some helpful tips for developing selective focus include wearing noise-canceling headphones, writing down distracting thoughts so they can be addressed later, and choosing a specific object or point in the room to stare at (this helps redirect the brain's visual processing power back to the task at hand).

Sustained Focus

"Sustained focus" refers to the ability to maintain focus over an extended period without becoming distracted.

This type of focus is often required for tasks like studying for an exam or working on a long-term project.

To help your child sustain their focus, you can teach them how to take breaks regularly so they don't become overwhelmed or bogged down.

Allowing them to take a few minutes every 20 minutes or so to move around or take a quick break can go a long way in helping them sustain their focus. 

FAQs About How to Help Kids Focus

What are some ways to help kids focus?

There are a few things that you can do to help your child focus:

  • Encourage them to take breaks often, especially if they feel overwhelmed or frustrated. A short break can help clear their head and allow them to come back to their work with fresh energy.
  • Make sure that they are getting enough sleep. A tired child will have a harder time focusing than one who is well-rested.
  • Create a calm and organized environment for them to work in. Too much clutter or noise can be distracting for a child trying to focus.

Why is it important for kids to learn how to focus?

It is important for kids to learn how to focus because it is a skill that they will need throughout their lives. Being able to focus will help them succeed in school, in their careers, and in their personal lives. Additionally, learning how to focus can help reduce stress and anxiety, as it allows people to better control their thoughts and emotions.

What happens if a child cannot focus?

If a child cannot focus, it can lead to problems in school and in other areas of their life.

They may have trouble paying attention in class, which can lead to poor grades.

They may also have difficulty completing tasks at home or in extracurricular activities.

Children who cannot focus may be more likely to experience anxiety or depression.

How can I tell if my child is having difficulty focusing?

There are a few signs that may indicate that your child is having difficulty focusing:

  • They seem easily distracted or unable to pay attention for long periods of time.
  • Your child has trouble completing tasks or following instructions.
  • The child seems forgetful or disorganized.
  • They seem fidgety or restless.
  • They are overly tired or cranky.

My child is having difficulty focusing, what should I do?

If you think that your child is having difficulty focusing, there are a few things that you can do:

  • Talk to their teacher or another trusted adult about your concerns. They may be able to offer additional insight or suggestions on how to help your child succeed.
  • Seek professional help from a doctor or mental health professional if you are concerned about your child's ability to focus or if you think they may have an underlying condition such as ADHD or anxiety

Overcomers Counseling is Here to Help

If you are concerned about your child's ability to focus, or if they are exhibiting any of the above signs, please reach out to us.

At Overcomers Counseling, we specialize in helping children and families overcome difficulties such as ADHD, anxiety, and depression.

We would be more than happy to talk with you about your child's specific needs and develop a plan to help them succeed. Contact us today to get started.

Conclusion

There's no magic solution for getting your kid to focus, but these three tips can help.

Try incorporating them into your family's daily routine and see if it makes a difference.

And remember, every kid is different so what works for one might not work for another.

Just keep trying different things until you find something that helps! If you need any more information, please reach out to our parenting counseling services. Overcomers Counseling is here to help. 

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June 18th, 2024

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