CONCENTRATION is SELF CONTROL!
Concentration contributes to self control. There are so many distractions in today’s world. Children as well as adults struggle with being able to stay on task and concentrate for periods of time.
Have you ever said to your children, “if you would just concentrate you will do better in school”
Has your child’s teacher told you during a parent/teacher conference that your “child has concentration/focus issues?”
Concentration or attention span is the amount of time a child can focus on something before losing interest. Every child is unique. Some children are absorbed in an activity for a long time, while others are unable to focus for a length of time. There is no right or wrong, as each child will develop at their own rate. You should not force a child to concentrate BUT INSTEAD provide ways that can help kids develop their ability to tune in.
Reading is the foundation for learning in school, and throughout our life journeys. Reading success relies upon the ability to concentrate for periods of time. Reading success requires a lot of ‘direct systematic instruction’ in learning to read. First is the laying of the foundation to reading or ‘phoneme awareness’, to ‘decoding/phonics’, to ‘language processing’, to the ultimate “prize to reading” which is comprehension! All of this relies upon concentration.
Developing concentration and attention span begins well before a child enters school, however.
PARENT TIPS for DEVELOPING YOUR CHILD’S CONCENTRATION AND ATTENTION SPAN
- While young, let their attention carry them to explore many things
- Provide ways to grow your child’s capability to concentrate with the following activities and be aware of your child’s age/developmental abilities when choosing an activity:
- Jigsaw puzzles
- Matching games
- Stringing beads
- Board games
- Water play: as an example-have your child find 5 items or more that sink/float
- Use a child’s favorite play item: by example-have your child order their toy cars and/or other toys from smallest to largest or shortest to tallest or slowest to fastest…sort by color
- Ask your child to take a verbal message to someone, like telling family that dinner is ready
- Read a page of a story and ask questions about it like ‘what colors they see, how many characters there are, who are the characters, where does the story take place…
- Take a picture in a book or magazine and you and your child look at it for 30 seconds. Turn the picture over. Ask each other questions like, ‘what color was the flower or girl’s dress? How many people or animals were in the picture? Was there anything moving in the picture…’
- When it’s time to go shopping, ask your child to remember two or three things from the list to remind you of at the store
- Provide ‘organized’ activities for your child to participate in. Make sure they are developmentally appropriate for your child
- Assign your child ‘responsibilities’ such as picking up their toys, feeding a pet, making their bed, washing their face
- Follow a less desirable task with a more desirable task, making completion of the first necessary to perform the second
- If your child struggles to follow verbal instructions then put them in writing either with words or use pictures and number them if there is a series of instructions
- Reward your child for beginning, staying on task to completion with such things as TV time, computer time, play time, snacks…you decide
- When giving instructions make sure your child makes eye contact with you
- Now You See It…Now You Don’t: I saved this activity for last as it is a great skill building activity for reading and writing success as it addresses ‘digit span.’ Email Mrs. C at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more explanation about ‘digit span’ and ‘reading/writing success’. Now onto the game. Place 5-10 objects from around the house on a baking tray or table top. Have your child look at and name each object. Now, have your child cover their eyes while you remove objects starting one at a time and work up to three or more at a time. After you have removed the objects, have your child uncover their eyes and tell you which objects are missing. (some children might respond better if a reward such as a sticker is offered for correct responses) Put the objects back and repeat the process only this time is a CHALLENGE. Place the objects in a row. Have your child look at the ‘order’ or ‘sequence’ the items are in from left to right. Have them close their eyes. Move a couple or more of the items around into a different order. When your child looks again, ask them to tell you which items are not in the original order or have them merely put the items back into the original order.
Buckaroo’s Tip to Take Away
It’s never too young to lay the foundation so start young and make it fun! Concentration guides us through childhood into adulthood.