After the last year, when many students spent the majority of their educational hours in front of a screen, this upcoming school year presents many new and often unfamiliar distractions. Not long ago, reigning in a child’s focus was an exercise only for the ADD or ADHD child. Today, the struggle for students to become well-focused learners is universal.
Acknowledge the Emotional Component of Focus
The feeling of being in an unsafe or unfamiliar environment is one of the most common triggers for distraction. As our kids begin their journey back to on-campus learning, many for the first time in over a year, a feeling of uncertainty is unavoidable. However, during the transition, we as moms have the opportunity to support our children. Regardless of your child’s personality or previous school environment, spending time intentionally talking to your child, role playing with your child, and answering questions about what to expect has a powerful impact on your child’s ability to focus. When a child feels safe and comfortable with their surroundings, they will be able to better focus.
Create a Distraction-Limited Learning Environment
The afterschool tears, frustration, and refusal to engage are often signs your child is struggling to fully focus. However, removing all distractions is impossible and, in reality, can lead to a very boring space. With that, not all children are distracted by the same things, but all children have some school work they will be completing at home. By creating an inviting space that has limited distractions, it is much more likely your child will have better focus. In the classroom setting, pay attention to the distractors for your child. Do not assume your child’s teacher knows what is hindering your child’s focus. As a mom and a teacher myself, I am so grateful when a parent partners with me to help me better understand the physical and emotional obstacles that are distracting their child. You are not being a helicopter parent, you are helping your child focus so they can succeed.
Get the Most Important Item on the School Supply List
At Advantage Tutoring, we work endlessly to create a welcoming and focused learning environment. A visible, tabletop timer is our go-to tool for improving student focus. The time can be adjusted to reflect each student’s capabilities and goals. It gives the child a visual cue to be able to manage their own focus. As simple as it seems, a timer has some magical powers for motivating and even rewarding student focus. Amazon is filled with different character and colored timers that I think are a must-have-item on your school-supply list. For even better results, include your child in the process of purchasing and setting-up the timer. Their sense of ownership will naturally create more motivation and better focus.
In no way am I trying to diminish the focus challenges that ADD or ADHD students face, but this past year has created a focus struggle for all kids. As moms navigated the uncharted impacts of a global pandemic, we are learning right alongside our children. In preparation for a great school year, please give these three steps a try. If your child continues to struggle, our Advantage Tutoring tutors would love to provide one-on-one academic support for your child, where we will teach them focus-building skills, while helping them complete their homework.
I really appreciate your advice about “Acknowledge the Emotional Component of Focus”. It’s so true – our kiddos have been through so much uncertainty this past year. It is good to remember to go easy on our expectations for focus right off the bat.
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