Top 8 Tips to Help Kids Focus, Stat!

Children and short attention spans: 2 inseparable parts of a whole that make up the toddler pie. No power in the world can keep kids seated in the same place for too long. It’s just not possible! Or so we all thought.👀 Today, various studies reveal how there are a couple of key ingredients parents can add to every day’s study recipe/guide and enhance their child’s level of Hawkeye concentration… one day at a time.

Echoing the words of Audrey Hepburn, “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible!”

So, to further develop your child’s level of focus, and in turn, strengthen his or her study habits, here are 8 incredibly practical tips for doing so, in fun and totally non-bugaboo-ey ways!

1. One To-Do at a Time 

In a word, this means that multitasking is a “no”. 😅 (By the way, even adults should try to observe tip #1.) Studies show that assigning children one task at a time improves their overall performance with each. It also veers away from presenting them with tasks that may seem too overwhelming to absorb in 1 go. 

Giving them 1 assignment at a time opens up room for them to center all of their attention and efforts on each. This, then, indirectly trains them to block out distractions in their surroundings. Once the said assignment is done, that’s your cue to have them head over to the next. 

2. No “Over-Directing” 😇

Directions for activities and chores should be brief and straight to the point. For instance, you can encourage your child to review his or her homework for Science. The one from teacher _____’s class, which is due on blah blah date. Let them read the instructions first and after, and use open-ended questions to confirm that they’ve understood them. If said homework is a little tricky (or if its instructions are), break it down into simpler sentences. 

For good measure, try not to overuse the phrases “you have to focus” or “pay attention”.🤭 Vague instructions like these, not to mention, teetering on the “negative”, won’t really be understood by a child. They may understand what such phrases imply, but might not know exactly how to apply it to what they’re currently doing. 

As an alternative, use more concise and positive encouragements like, “N more questions to go and you’ll be able to complete your homework!” “Complete the drawing and we can go to our next homework for the day! Woohoo!” Or if they’re itching to continue their paused mobile game, tell them how, if they’re able to finish all of their school activities for the day, they’ll have the rest of the afternoon for games and hobbies.

3. Break Time’s a Yes, Yes, Yes!

Be sure to schedule breaks. Plot them on your child’s daily-to-weekly calendar. In a different blog, we pointed out the importance of having a fixed daily-to-weekly schedule for classes and/or school work at home. And should include scheduled or “planned breaks”. 

These short breathers are a means for kids to literally “breathe” and relax from homework and/or remote classes. They’re like mini refreshers that clear the mind. On top of that, children can take utilize planned breaks to stretch and move around to their blood flowing to each bodily organ and avoid cramps or muscle strain.

4. Divide Ginormous Tasks Into Tinier Chunks

In relation to #1, break down too-large tasks into smaller ones. Large tasks have a tendency to intimidate. And when intimidation sinks in, productivity may plummet, along with self-esteem and self-motivation. 

Kids will be able to map out their schedules to accommodate each one (with your help, mom and dad) more easily when faced with tinier task portions. Shorter timeframes = the possibility of getting things done quicker. More completed tasks within short timeframes = efficiency + confidence earned. These all add up to gaining motivation to continue with the next set of activities, and really be on a roll!

5. Stretchy-Stretch Every Few Minutes

This will work in tandem with those “planned breaks” mentioned in #2. Aside from randomly stretching, standing, and walking about, set aside 30 seconds to a minute (within breaks) for your child to do a series of simple stretching exercises. 

  • Shoulder rolls

*Roll both shoulders backward for 16 counts

*Do the same forward

  • Neck stretch

*Slowly and gently let the chin touch the chest area and hold for 16 counts

*Do the same backward, and on each side

  • Overhead arm stretch

*Stand with legs apart

*Raise arms over your head, palms out, and clasp fingers together. Then, stretch arms upward and hold for 16 seconds

  • Overhead side stretch

*Follow letter c, but this time, slowly bending to the right and then to the left

  • Calf Stretch (with your SingBee kid’s office chair)

*Stand behind your SingBee chair, with its backrest facing you

*Move your right leg back with your knee slightly locked, then stretch

*Do the same for the left leg

If you and your fam have your own favorite set of stretching exercises, by all means, stretch away! Stretching after bouts of prolonged sitting can reduce muscle and joint tension. 

6. Time Certain Tasks (Not All of Them)

Set timers for “lull” moments (usually right after lunch, or mid-afternoon), when children often feel lacking in energy. If your little ones are little enough to still have nap times, then timed tasks are best set upon their waking up. 

It’s not recommended that a timer be a constant in every activity they do (the pressure is real, y’all 😶). However, setting it for activities that are a bit on the boring, slower side of things can boost your child’s performance overall. It’ll serve as an extra push so he or she can sprint to the finish line (figuratively speaking) like the champ that he or she already is. 🏁🥇

7. Frequent Check-Ins

This may sound counterintuitive to teaching your child about working independently. Regardless, and in the context of inspiring and retaining focus, checking up on them especially when they’re in the middle of tougher-than-usual tasks will be of great help. 

How? First, you’ll be able to gauge firsthand how they’re doing. Are they coping well with tasks? Are they more productive with this schedule? Which periods do they’re more energetic versus periods when they appear quite listless. 

Second, it keeps them on their toes. It won’t be easy to slack off when mommy and daddy are within the vicinity.😁 A sort of deterrent from reaching for their gadgets and playing study time away.

But really, the main point is the first.😜

8. Do Belly Breaths (In Place of Full-On Mindfulness)

We’d like to veer away from mindfulness and meditation as recent studies have shown that it sustains anxiety in many, even in children. We’re not debunking their effectiveness. But we’d like to be cautious not to recommend something that isn’t 100% foolproof if you know what we mean. 

Instead, have your kids set about a minute per hour or 2 for some breathing exercises. Simple deep and slow inhales (through the nose) and exhales (through the mouth), while filling and emptying, then refilling the belly with air, will do.  

There’s so much more to tackle on the broad subject of children’s focus and attention spans, and how we can support the proper development of each. Stay tuned for more tips on said topics, and so much more, with SingBee! 

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Thank you for choosing SingBee.💖

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