Teaching kids to listen, focus, follow instructions, keep rules in mind and practice self-control
Adele Diamond, a well-known Professor whose studies have focused on self-regulation, argues that children should be taught to:
1. Develop self-control, i.e., they should learn to do what is appropriate rather than what they want to do.
2. Develop the working memory, i.e., they should be helped to hold information in memory while mentally incorporating new information.
3. Develop cognitive flexibility, i.e., they should learn to think outside the box.
Diamond believes that teaching self-regulation skills can help improve children’s concentration and focus. These skills can help your child learn to follow instructions and persist even when they encounter enormous challenges. Other studies have found that self-regulated children are able to listen, pay attention, think, then act.
Everything you need to know to help your child focus and concentrate better
“My child won’t concentrate on anything” is a rather common parenting complaint. While a child’s inability to focus is usually a common cause of concern, all children are easily distracted and generally have shorter attention spans than adults. They are more curious and more easily distracted when they feel little interest for the tasks and activities they are asked to do.
Children’s concentration tends to improve as they grow older and develop their self-control skills. That said, some children struggle more with focusing and resisting distractions. The problem with children’s lack of attention is that it contributes to their learning and to their day to day lives.
So first let’s look at what may be behind your child’s inability to pay attention.
Some of the common causes of children’s lack of focus and concentration
1) Anxiety may be the reason your child can’t concentrate
Anxiety is a common but often ignored cause of inattention among children described as “unfocused”, and this actually makes perfect sense. It is not uncommon for anxiety to “block” your child, meaning that listening to and following instructions may be more complicated for such a child. Your child’s separation anxiety or worry about doing something wrong at school or even embarrassing or humiliating themselves may mean that they are more likely to have difficulty paying attention.
2) Insufficient sleep has an impact on your child’s ability to concentrate
It is a well-known fact that poor sleeping habits have a negative impact on children’s focus and concentration. If you think that your child’s lack of sleep may be behind their inability to focus, ensure that they are getting the appropriate number of hours of sleep every night or taking a mid-day rest if they need to.