Ideas for Staying Focused at School or at Home
Students at every grade level may have trouble staying focused at one time or another. Issues may arise trying to pay attention in class or having a tough time completing homework assignments. No matter what or where focus struggles happen, they can have a big impact on student’s performance.
There can be a host of reasons why children struggle to focus in school. These reasons range from lack of comprehension to organization problems. The good news: with the proper goals and structure, it’s possible to help your child improve his or her focus and concentration. You can start with a few simple tips.
TIP 1 – DO ONE THING AT A TIME
For many students, multitasking is not their friend. Jumping between tasks causes any momentum to be lost. Train your child to tackle one thing at a time, rather than working on multiple things at once. This will help focus your child’s mind on what’s in front of him or her, rather than trying to think about too many different things at once.
TIP 2 – BREAK THINGS DOWN
Breaking down large assignments into smaller tasks can help improve focus by making things more manageable to tackle. Trying to take on too much at once is a recipe for boredom and distraction. By breaking things down, your child has a clear idea of what needs to be done and a sense of accomplishment once it’s completed. That accomplishment can be a big motivation-booster!
TIP 3 – MAKE A LIST OF GOALS
Sometimes, it’s not that students can’t focus—it’s that they don’t know what to focus on. Before your child tackles any assignment or starts a study session, create a list of goals to give your child direction. For example, if your child is sitting down to a study session, his or her goals may be to review and create study notes for 1 chapter or topic.
Once your child has achieved these goals, take a break to allow your child to refresh his or her brain before tackling a new task.
TIP 4 – MAKE A DEDICATED WORKSPACE
A disorganized space can be a major cause of distraction for your child. Make sure your child has a dedicated study space such as a desk or table to work on. This space should be clear of clutter and only include items that he or she needs for that study session (like his/her textbook, notebook, study tools, and note-taking supplies).
TIP 5 – ORGANIZE NOTEBOOKS AND NOTES
Organized notes are just as important as an organized study space. Help your child organize his or her notes so they are easy to find—color-coded tabs or folders for each subject are a great option.
Make sure your child’s class notes are neat as well. Disorganized and incomplete notes can be a big concentration-killer for students. Learning how to take helpful notes ensures that your child can spend his or her time reviewing a topic, rather than searching for missing information.
TIP 6 – LEARN HOW TO DEAL WITH DISTRACTIONS You won’t always be able to completely remove distractions—so teach your child how to deal with them, instead. Help your child brainstorm ways to refocus on the task at hand when he or she becomes distracted.
TIP 7 – SET ASIDE TIME FOR STUDYING AND HOMEWORK
Many children do best when they have a set routine they can stick to. Help your child create a daily schedule that includes time for homework, study breaks, and any other activities. Sticking to this schedule will help get your child into a routine where he or she is ready to sit down and focus on schoolwork. Don’t forget to leave room for free time to allow your child’s brain to relax and recharge!
TIP 9 – STICK TO A SET BEDTIME & WAKE UP ROUTINE
A well-rested mind is a focused mind. Help your child create and stick to a nightly routine so he or she gets to bed at a decent hour. A good sleep will help give your child’s mind a chance to absorb everything from the day and recharge for tomorrow.