How to help a child focus

10 Tips on How to Help a Child Focus

How to Help a Child Focus: 10 Great Tips to Improve Concentration


10 Tips on How to Help a Child Focus


Parenting is a rewarding experience, and the joy of seeing your child grow through the years is something that is impossible to replicate. However, as any parent knows, raising children comes with its own set of challenges. Children are notorious for being easily distracted, especially when there is so much to keep their attention–music, TV and gadgets, toys, their natural urge to fidget, and so on. However, some children struggle more than others. Without knowing how to help a child focus, distraction or disorganization can lead to a lifetime of perceived failure, low self-esteem, and an inability to operate in the world for those who struggle the most.

To avoid this, it’s important to help children develop the right skills and habits, especially in critical areas, such as planning and organization, time management, task initiation, and impulse control. But this requires more than simply telling children what and what not to do. When children succeed at developing new skills or habits, they are more likely to notice their positive impact. However, when they are overwhelmed, frustrated by a task, or receive enough negative feedback, they sometimes abandon their desire to try and shut down.

The key to successfully teaching children important life skills (such as how to help a child focus) and abilities is to make the habits automatic. This means putting in a lot of hours of practice and creating a structure. Of course, this can be difficult for some parents. Perhaps organizing does not come naturally to you, and you are unsure where to begin. Or maybe you’re so organized that you can’t understand how your child isn’t, so you end up doing things for them instead. 

Your first step in learning how to help a child focus is to recognize your own habits. Every parent knows that children mimic and pick up on habits and behaviors of the adults around them. Identifying your own organizational strengths and weaknesses will also allow you to better understand your child and your connection. From there, you can begin introducing more techniques and strategies to help improve your child’s attention and prevent distractions. Below, we list more tips on how to help a child focus.

10 Tips on How to Help a Child Focus

10 Tips on How to Help a Child Focus


When learning how to help a child focus, it’s important for parents or teachers and students alike to understand how attention works. The types of attentional focus can affect behavior, so it’s crucial to identify a child’s unique attentional strength and weakness and the factors that can influence their ability to focus or concentrate.

1. Keep your child’s study area clutter-free.

When your child is working on a tough assignment, clutter in the classroom or on study area can make it difficult to keep their mind where it needs to be. By clearing the study area of unnecessary visual stimuli and other clutter, you reduce the child’s reasons for not concentrating on the task at hand.

2. Set timers.

Knowing that they have a time limit as to how long they need to work on and finish a task can help children stay focused. Setting timers is an easy way for parents to learn how to help a child focus. It lets them know how much time is needed to complete a homework before taking a break or going outside to play. 

3. Practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness activities require focus and paying attention. Studies show that mindfulness can help youngsters improve their behaviors and ability to focus on their studies and household tasks. One way to practice is to sit quietly and focus on your breathing. Taking a few deep breaths before a lesson or a test can also help.

4. Allow for movement and rest periods.

We often hear parents complain about how their kids can never seem to sit still even for five minutes, so just imagine needing them to complete a Math homework that requires a significant amount of concentration. It’s important to give children a chance to take a break and move around to expend some of that seemingly limitless energy and avoid mental exertion. At school, teachers may ask students to erase the board, collect papers, or carry a message to the office, for example. When studying at home, the student may work at the kitchen table for a few minutes before moving to the living room floor. Each time the location is changed, the child may experience a surge of mental activity. 

5. Improve previewing and planning skills.

Planning and previewing are important skills to develop in children, particularly for parents and teachers who are wondering how to help a child focus. This can be done by having children create strategies for writing reports and completing tasks. When writing a book report, for example, students could include an outline and suggestions for how they plan to finish the task. Involving kids in party planning is another good example of how you can teach planning and previewing skills. By asking kids to do a preview of their tasks, they learn how to plan ahead instead of starting a project without knowing how to execute every aspect of it.

10 Tips on How to Help a Child Focus

6. Consider visual cues.

When you want to know how to help a child focus, you must also consider a child’s learning style. Many children excel in visual scheduling, so instead of creating the usual to-do list or schedule, consider using images instead. Let your child help you in choosing pictures from the computer that you can incorporate or use as cues in your child’s daily schedule. You may then print the schedule and have your child tick items off as they go through the day and complete each task. Having the schedule posted in a prominent area at home that your child can glance at from to time also helps as a point of reference. This also teaches your child independence and self-help skills as they learn to manage their day without having to be reminded by their parents constantly.

7. Use behavior modification and self-assessment to your advantage.

The use of behavior modification and self-assessment techniques can help in encouraging desired behaviors or decreasing behavioral problems. It is vital to pinpoint the specific habits that must be changed. The precise consequences of changing one’s behavior should also be identified. Good consequences must be more tempting than failure to accomplish positive behavior.

8. Give feedback consistently.

Constructive feedback and positive reinforcement are crucial when teaching your child new skills and habits. Something as basic as putting a checkmark, star, or sticker on an assignment or chore chart can help inspire your child and boost their confidence significantly. And don’t forget to pat yourself on the back for your efforts in helping your child’s learning and development.

9. Avoid erratic work patterns.

To discourage students from rushing through their work, teachers and parents should avoid stating things like, “You can go out to the playground as soon as you finish your assignment” or “You can watch television after you finish your homework.” These types of conditions may inadvertently encourage students to rush through their tasks and lead to mistakes or incomplete homework.

10. Keep track of tasks.

A notebook with three sections labeled “Work to be Completed,” “Work Completed,” and “Work to be Saved” may be used to help students organize their work. Color-coordinated notebooks for various classes can also help with organization.

When it comes to techniques on how to help a child focus, your ultimate goal is to teach young learners to self-monitor and develop the required skills to accomplish certain tasks without needing to think about it. For most adults, this comes naturally as they’ve had years of experience or childhood training from a parent who gave structure and reinforcement. For young children with focus issues, it can be a huge challenge. However, by following these recommendations, parents who are determined to learn how to help a child focus will find that it results in improved attention span and concentration, maturity level, and self-esteem.


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Meet Craig Selinger, the passionate owner behind Themba Tutors, a renowned practice specializing in executive function coaching and tutoring. Together with his team of multidisciplinary professionals, they bring their extensive knowledge to numerous locations: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Bronx, Westchester, Long Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut, as well as offering remote services. As a licensed speech-language pathologist in the state of NY, executive functioning coach, and educational specialist with an impressive track record spanning over two decades, Craig has professionally assisted thousands of families. Craig's proficiency encompasses a wide spectrum of areas, including language-related learning challenges such as reading, writing, speaking, and listening. He is also well-versed in executive functioning, ADHD/ADD, and various learning disabilities. What truly distinguishes Craig and his team is their unwavering commitment to delivering comprehensive support. By actively collaborating with the most esteemed professionals within the NYC metropolitan region – from neuropsychologists to mental health therapists and allied health experts – they create a network of expertise.
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