Magazine article Work & Family Life

Helping Kids Pay Attention and Focus Better

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Helping Kids Pay Attention and Focus Better

Article excerpt

We've become a nation of the "attentionally challenged:" children (and grownups) who just can't focus. I'm not talking about attention deficit disorder. I'm talking about kids and adults with an ordinary attention span who are having difficulty focusing on everyday tasks.

Why focus is important Focus is one of the keys to academic success. It enables kids to listen to teachers, take in new information, apply themselves, and do their homework without getting distracted. Focus also enables kids to pick up the "rules" of socialization, conversation and games. If kids can tune in, they'll know what's expected of them.

Why it's so easy to lose focus

A culturally reinforced lack of focus permeates the world in which we live, thanks in part to new technologies. We want to do everything in a hurry. We're communicating a do-it-now mentality. Our children hear urgency from us and see it in our example.

At the same time, a good deal of kids' focus is wasted in anticipation of what's to come rather than enjoying what's in front of them.

Parents can foster focus

Kids are born with different focusing styles. For example, some tend to procrastinate. Others are either intensely "on" or totally "tuned out." Some children have trouble sticking with hard or boring work and are easily distracted. Others tend to be steady and are able to concentrate most of the time.

Parents need to understand and work with-not againsttheir child's focusing style. Here are some strategies that you can tailor to your own child:

Learn the signs that indicate when your child is capable of focusing. …

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