Does your child have a hard time concentrating on his homework? Does he fidget during dinner time, or does his attention wander in the middle of a conversation?
Many children have trouble concentrating—especially with so many distractions like the TV and the internet! But it’s important to find the cause of poor concentration and then to train their brain, so to speak, to have a longer attention span. Here are some parenting tips.
Parenting tip # 1: Make sure your child gets enough sleep.
Enforce a regular bedtime. Tiredness and fatigue is one of the leading causes of poor concentration. Another parenting tip: don’t let your child have a TV in the room or leave on the radio while he sleeps.
The noise can disrupt his sleep cycle, preventing him from getting into deep, restful sleep.
If your child comes home tired from school, tell him to take a nap before starting homework. Even a short 15 to 20 minute power nap can make a profound difference in his ability to focus on his homework.
Parenting tip # 2: Ask him what happened at school—and listen.
Encourage your child to share any problems or issues he may have had encountered that day. Even small things like fighting with a best friend or missing an important throw at a basketball game can distract him. He may be able to concentrate better if he shares what he feels and gets a pep talk from you!
Parenting tip # 3: Get him interested in the topic
Many smart kids have trouble concentrating in school because they’re bored by the subject matter. Or, others simply don’t like a subject because they don’t see how it relates to real life.
Parents can help by encouraging the child’s curiosity and making the subject come alive. For example, do a science experiment together, or go on the Internet to look for videos or documentaries on a topic.
Parenting tip # 4: Work with the pediatrician.
Poor concentration and daily fatigue can be a symptom of dehydration, hidden hunger (your child eats but doesn’t get he right nutrients), anemia, glandular problems, ADHD. Or your child has poor concentration because he can’t see or hear what’s going in the classroom, and just needs glasses or a hearing aid. Share your concerns with your child’s doctor, who can order tests.
Parenting tip # 5: Get the blood flowing to the brain!
Exercise can help kids shake off the feeling of lethargy, and send the blood pumping to the brain! Tell them to turn off the TV and play outside for half an hour before doing homework. Enroll them into a regular sports or martial arts program, or start a family ritual that will get both of you active—walking the dog around the block as you talk, or playing catch in the yard.
Photo from webmd.com