Do you want to boost your kids’ concentration?
After the home schooling many of us have been frustrated at our children looking into space or doing something else when they should be focussed on a task. How can you help to boost your kids’ concentration when they are working on homework? Wouldn’t it be great to have less of those “Why don’t you just do it?” arguments?
This time of year parents’ evenings are going on too and hearing that your child is easily distracted can be a common complaint. How can you help them to focus more? Is there anything you can do at home which might help their concentration at school?
Is this your child?
- Can’t sit still
- Doesn’t seem interested in the task
- Daydreams or looks out of the window
At PKS we make cool and practical products for kids like our personalised colour bottle bands and personalised kids’ cutlery. We are mums ourselves so we are super interested in everything to do with kids! Concentration is definitely a key skill and we want to look at how kids can develop better focus!
Is that tablet or phone ruining your kids’ concentration?
Devices such as phones and tablets have been blamed for shortening the attention span of kids. Swiping and moving quickly on to the next game or page is easy to do and this can reduce kids’ stamina for things like reading where concentration over a longer period is required. Visual rich apps encourage kids to read the minimum and get the information they need from the pictures.
The WHO doesn’t recommend devices for kids under 1 and suggests that 2 year olds should have a device for no longer than an hour a day. Researchers from King’s College, Birkbeck, University of London and the University of Bath found that toddlers who used a tablet more were less able to resist distractions than those with low tablet usage.
Of course tablets and phones can be used in a beneficial way for finding information or learning things – and there are loads of great educational apps! The key seems to be to limit mindless scrolling around to give your child plenty of opportunity to read, play and experience things in the real world – not banning the device altogether, just limiting the time allowed on it.
How can you help to boost your kids’ concentration?
If you do have a child that is easily distracted you can definitely help them to work on it! Here are a few ideas that can help increase your child’s concentration and help them to focus on tasks at school and at home.
Try some games to boost your kids’ concentration!
- Spot the difference – this isn’t just a mindless task! It actually teaches your kids to really use their observational skills and develops stamina. They want to spot all the differences so they are motivated to stay on task! Spot the difference is great from toddler age upwards. There are also many toddler books that encourage kids to ‘find the object’ or missing animal etc and these are brilliant!
- Kim’s game – this is an old game that is still really beneficial for developing memory and concentration. Put 6 or 7 random objects onto a tray and allow your kids a minute to look closely at the items. Then take away the tray and ask them to write down all the objects they can remember seeing on the tray. They can take it in turns to load the tray! It’s a fun game with a useful purpose! This is one for children who can write – but younger kids can still play – perhaps ask orally for their answers instead of getting them to write.
- Snap – this can be played by children from toddler age upwards. It develops concentration – which is certainly needed to be the winner! The element of competition encourages children to concentrate.
- Word searches – these are brilliant activities to boost your kids’ concentration. They are fun and also really good for spelling and observation. They encourage persistence and can introduce new vocabulary! There are lots of word search makers online – you can make your own word searches for your kids, perhaps using their spellings for the week!
- Jigsaws – Jigsaws can be fun from an early age and are great tools to boost your kids’ concentration. They develop problem solving skills and observational skills and kids get a sense of achievement when they finish!
- Lego – playing with lego is really good for kids’ concentration! They have to focus on the task in hand, block out distractions and build what they want to build! Older kids can follow instructions to complete the lego and this requires them to develop persistence and problem solving skills.
- Pelmanism – also called matching pairs. Spread out a pack of cards face down on a table and ask the first player to turn over 2 cards for all to see. Cards that are not pairs are laid back face down. Players keep turning over cards in twos at each turn. It’s a test of memory to recall where the matching cards are! The winner is the player who collects the most pairs!
Don’t forget to give your kids plenty of water to drink while they are playing these games – a water bottle with one of our silicone name bands for bottles on it is ideal!
More ideas to boost your kids’ concentration!
- Word games – there are plenty of word games for kids – try hangman or making as many words as possible from a long word. These games all develop concentration and stamina and the ability to stay on task and achieve. Obviously until a child can read it’s a little difficult to do this game!
- Crosswords – for older kids crosswords are excellent activities to boost your kids’ concentration. There are even crosswords to try that offer kids the chance to win prizes – try the crosswords in First News, a children’s newspaper.
- Activities that require sequencing are brilliant to boost kids’ concentration. For toddlers a great sequencing activity is putting rings on a pole in order of size. Pre schoolers can practise ordering numbers under 10 or objects in order of colour.
- Older kids can learn to follow recipes! Following recipes requires reading and makes kids focus to get the recipe right! Hopefully there will be a tasty end result too! Younger ones can eat the food with our children’s cutlery sets personalised!
- Putting words in alphabetical order requires memory, concentration and problem solving skills as well as reading.
- Following patterns – even very young kids can notice patterns and older children can try activities that require them to fill in the next shape in a pattern. This is really good for concentration and for maths!
- Drawing – this is excellent for developing concentration and observation as well as pencil skills. Drawing also requires creativity and can help kids remember things. Some children are more visual learners and drawing can be particularly beneficial for them! Doodling can also help kids remember things!
- Getting enough exercise is also a really great way to boost your kids’ concentration because kids – and adults – often have better focus when they have exercised. Sport also helps to boost concentration! If your child likes dance for example, dance steps have to be learned and anyone who has attended a dance class knows that this requires concentration!
- Team games require your child to pay attention to what’s going on in the game so increase concentration spans and focus. Sports like tennis, golf and archery require intense focus on a target – which can really help with attention spans!
- Learning to play a musical instrument is great to boost your kids’ concentration! Having to focus on notes and listening to other people play – if your child plays with others – improves focus and memory as well as listening and playing skills!
A good diet is essential to boost your kids’ concentration!
Kids need a balanced diet with fruit, vegetables, protein, carbohydrate and fats. Too much sugar or caffeinated drinks can adversely affect attention spans and concentration – energy drinks are a classic culprit!
Toddlers can learn to enjoy eating healthily with our PKS personalised kids’ cutlery! It’s great for building positive associations with healthy food that will help with concentration!
Plenty of water is also essential for your child – our silicone name bands for bottles are perfect for naming kids’ school or sports water bottles!
What about tips to help with things like focus on homework – or home schooling if you are doing any?
Try these tips at home to help your kids focus on homework:
- Clearly set out to your child what they need to do an in what timeframe. If they see lots of different bits of homework that they have to do, it can be overwhelming. The best thing to do is just give them one task to focus on at a time.
- Create goals – for example writing out the spellings once could be a goal. You can have a homework chart and note their achievements and tasks on it so your child can see progress!
- Your child will need a quiet workspace without distractions – so no tv or other devices to distract them! Even a phone call in the background or your own phone beeping can break concentration if a child is easily distracted so it’s best for them to have a really quiet place to work. Sometimes some background music can help some children concentrate. A water bottle with a colour bottle band on it is a good idea though to keep your child hydrated!
- If your child is using a device like a tablet it’s best to turn off notifications so that they aren’t distracted by banners coming up and tempting them away from their work! If they have social media on the device or messaging then these are big distractions!
- Keep a regular work time routine – so your child knows that at a certain time in the day they will be doing homework. This also helps them to realise that after this focus time they can relax.
- Don’t expect your kids to focus for too long – younger kids might have quite short attention spans after which they will tire. It’s a good idea to divide the work time up into smaller segments if your child has trouble focussing with short breaks if necessary. Older primary kids should be able to focus for longer but may still benefit from breaks!
- Keep a regular bedtime and wake up routine – it doesn’t have to be set in stone, but most kids respond well to having a regular routine, and a consistent bedtime ensures they get enough sleep. Try not to let them take a tablet or device to bed because looking at these close to bedtime can disturb sleep patterns. A book before bed is great if they want to read by themselves, a bedtime story is perfect!
- For learning spellings, tables and phonics, making flashcards is a great idea! You can buy them, but they are easy to make too. It’s a really good way of getting things to stick in kids’ heads and it’s also easy to mix them up to challenge your child. No more learning spellings in the order they are sent from school!
- Setting up a reward system for homework achieved is a fabulous idea – a sticker chart or a marble jar and a reward when they reach a certain goal are great motivators.
- Many therapists recommend mindfulness or yoga for kids too – these allow them to just focus on the present and not the thousand other things that are going on. This can train them to focus more which can help them with schoolwork. Our personalised bottle note bands come in calm colours as well as bright ones, and calm colours can really help create a peaceful ambiance!
It’s definitely not the end of the world if you do find your child is easily distracted – but there is a lot you can do to try and help them increase their attention span.
It’s certainly harder in today’s world to keep focussed with modern technology beeping and whirring all around kids! If you can help them focus when they are younger it really helps to set up good learning behaviours for later schooldays and revision!
There’s a lot you can do to help your kids – games especially can really help with focus. They’re also a chance to have fun together with your child! Now life has started up again after lockdown it’s nice to still grab those times with your child to play a game – education and fun rolled into one!
We hope you’ve got a few useful tips to help boost your kids’ concentration. Before you start playing games with your child, have a look in our shop for our personalised bottle labels (uk), personalised children’s cutlery sets and more products coming very soon!