Concentration is like a muscle that requires regular exercise to strengthen.
All children can learn strategies and engage in practices that help improve their ability to focus and sustain their attention.
This is a very important skill for kids to acquire. Most children are able to concentrate on activities that are fun and enjoyable. However, the tasks that are more difficult or less enjoyable challenge their focus. The ability to concentrate and sustain attention on all kinds of tasks is a vitally important stage of their development, because it helps kids learn and improve, gaining self-satisfaction of completing tasks, which leads to self-confidence and positive self-esteem.
Concentration is a lot like mindfulness, which is the ability to pay attention to one thing in the moment, and it has been shown to have many benefits to mental health, including stress management and increased happiness for improved academic performance. For mindfulness to work, you have to be able to focus.
Here are some tips to help your kids build their concentration muscles:
- Begin the habit of eye contact by your child when instructions are given, & them repeating it back to you.
- Set one task at a time.
- Break big tasks down into smaller more manageable steps.
- Provide a clear space without distraction for each task such as homework.
- Deep belly breathing before beginning concentration task.
Slow diaphragmatic breathing slows our heart rate and refreshes our mind so we can concentrate. This is an important skill for kids to have when they’re confronted with challenging tasks, which can make them anxious and increase their heart rate. Anxiety leads to avoidance, which is the opposite of concentration. So finding ways to make tasks more encouraging is important, and calming the body is one of those strategies.
Kids can be easily distracted by internal stimuli such as physical sensations or flashbacks of memories. A child’s imagination is a wonderful thing, yet we also want them to be able to clear away distractions and build the ability to concentrate. You can play games such as “I spy with my little eye,” do some yoga poses and help them pay attention to how it feels in the body, or listen closely to a song together to reset their focus & help increase concentration.
Dr Rachel Murphy
In clinical practice, I continue to pursue passion for treating infants and children as well as pregnancy care, including pre and postnatal support. I have a strong belief that environment plays a crucial role in health and well being, and therefore treatment management must also include advice on exercise and nutrition, ergonomics, stretching, rehabilitation and lifestyle modification.
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