We look at the boy and girl on the iPad for an hour and start wondering… why is is so hard to get them to sit down for enrichment classes and especially tuition lessons when the tutor is just right in front of them!
On the other hand, we know that it is important to have a good attention span to understand and internalise concepts so as to complete homework, assignments and lock this into the memory.
On average, a child’s attention span increases by 2-5 minutes each year. Starting from a 2 year-old of 4-10 minutes to a 10 year-old of between 20-50 minutes.
Each child is unique in his ability to concentrate and here are some things that you can do to help your child concentrate and focus better:
1. Maintain same eye level when communicating
Be mindful of your body language when communicating with your child. Ensure that you are in very close proximity to him/her and both of you are of the same eye level. Adopt a gentle tone and avoid raising your voice.
2. Keep your message short and concise
Tell them exactly what you want them to do and ask them to repeat what you just asked. Use a friendly tone in your voice, but let them know that you mean business by staying firm. Be sure to keep your requests short and simple.
3. Avoid repeating the same message
Constant nagging at your child will only cause things to be worse as your child will learn to tune you out over time. Keep your requests to a minimum and choose those that are more important.
4. Teach them to focus through games
Playing games or doing fun activities such as constructing something out of building blocks or doing art and craft will help them to learn how to concentrate. The skill to concentrate can then be applied to tasks such as reading and writing. Find out more on 4 Themes of Games and Toys for Kids.
5. Read books with your child
Keeping in mind the estimated attention span of your child according to his age and allow appropriate breaks in between. Play on their curious minds and get them excited about what is going to happen. Find out more about How to Get Your Child to Love Reading.
6. Use words with positive encouragement
Acknowledge your child for every effort that they have put in and the process that they have gone through. Being overly focused on results might put them down and veer them away from trying in future.
7. Give them time to play
Let your child have 15-20 minutes to release their energy so that they can focus better when it is time to study. Children who exercise will have added health benefits in addition to academic improvement.
8. Have a clear work space
Especially for older children with school homework, make sure they have a clear and quiet space to work and study in. This should be away from technology gadgets such as the iPad and handphones. In addition, get them to ensure it is clean to create a sense of ownership.
9. Have a consistent timetable
Have a set timetable and keep to it so that your child is prepared mentally for the task that he/she is expected to do. Start off with short time intervals and lengthening the study time gradually.
10. Make sure your child gets sufficient sleep
This will allow your child to be alert and receptive to the environment. Only when a child is fully rested, can he be in his best form to learn and absorb the most. Find out more on How to Get Your Child to Bed.
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