How to Concentrate on Studies and How Improve Concentration in Kids
Do you feel that your child is not able to concentrate on tasks and activities? As a parent, are you looking for an answer to the question: how to concentrate on studies? How do you get your child to concentrate, when he or she get distracted easily? Have you been reading confusing articles about hyperactivity and ADHD and getting further discouraged? Well, do not worry! In this blog, we share with you research-backed and expert-recommended tips on how to improve concentration in kids. One thing we would like parents to understand is that memory power and concentration are not the same things. While some of the tips mentioned below might also help in increasing the memory power of your child, it should be understood that they are fundamentally different things. This blog is not about how to increase memory power.
How to Concentrate in this era of Information Age & Low Attention Spans?
Kids today are growing up in an environment which is very different from what we grew up in. It would be only fair to say that they have a lot more sources of stimuli than we had. Just look around your house. TV, Laptop, Tablets, Mobile Phones and various other electronic gadgets play an important role in our lives and there are constant sources of information through various media. It is no wonder that in general, adult attention span is getting smaller in this era of the information age and now it stands at just 8 seconds. If 8 seconds is the attention span of adults, should we be blaming the kids for not being able to concentrate?
It is a fact that children find it difficult to concentrate over long periods of time. Next thing we as parents should understand is that paying attention or focusing on the task at hand, is a skill that is acquired over time. And no, it is not an inborn skill that is present in children from birth! Recent research has indicated that even teenagers find it hard to concentrate because they ‘have a lot going in their brains’ and consequently work ‘less efficiently’ than adult brains. In fact, brains of teenagers bear a closer resemblance to brains of children than adults. Therefore there are no easy answers to questions like: how to concentrate on studies for long hours. We would encourage parents to view the process of increasing concentration in children as a long journey that extends well into teenage years.
Improving Concentration in Kids has enormous Benefits!
Improving concentration skills in your child has lifelong benefits. Ability to pay attention to the task at hand, even for young children such as toddlers, has been shown to have a positive correlation with Learning and Cognitive Development, Problem Solving Capabilities, IQ and Language Skills. It is therefore important for all parents to teach their children how to concentrate. We understand that many parents explore techniques such as ‘Yoga for concentration’ and ‘Meditation for concentration’. As Indians, we believe, understand and practice Yoga and Meditation on regular basis. But we encourage you to read our 9 research-backed tips on how to improve concentration power of your child. Some of these tips might also help in improving the memory power of your child.
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How to Improve Concentration in Kids: 9 Tips
- Exercise & Sports
- Healthy Breakfast
- Postive Parenting
- Learning Music
- Avoiding Electronic Gadgets
- Setting Routines
- Encourage a Passion
- Good Mood
- Joint Attention
Tip 1: Exercise
We have all heard the saying, “Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body”. It turns out to be quite true, literally! We have earlier observed how sports and games can positively impact child development. Research has shown that even children who are having problems like ADHD can benefit from a daily dose of exercise. Exercise has been shown to impact both attention and performance in school. Some children, however, might find exercise boring. Remember those exercises that they made us do in PT classes? ? In such a scenario, a good alternative would be to encourage them to play physical sports. Sport is both fun and has all the benefits of exercise. to sum it up, Exercise and Sports are excellent options to help your child concentrate.
Tip 2: Healthy Breakfast
Do you as an adult, find it easy to concentrate when you are hungry? Most adults would answer that question with a No. If this is the case with adults, why would it be any different for children? Research has shown that eating nutritious and filling breakfast can help in improving the concentration of the child. A good breakfast has been shown to have numerous other benefits including achieving balanced weight, better cognitive development, good behaviour and even enhanced performance in school including mathematics. Children who eat breakfast find it easier to concentrate on studies for long hours. We have heard the experts say that Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If your child is not having breakfast, you should consider changing that today. Even for working or busy parents, preparation of breakfast is no longer an issue. There are numerous nutritious and yet easy-to-cook breakfast options available in the market today. Frankly, there is now no excuse for your child not having breakfast every morning.
Tip 3: Positive Parenting
If the child is growing up in a stressful environment in the home, the child is bound to have developmental issues. Research has shown that positive, fun, lively atmosphere in the house has numerous lifelong benefits for the child. The atmosphere and environment in the home directly impact various aspects of cognitive development including executive functioning skills. Executive functioning skills are also associated with memory power. It has been established that Encouraging and Motivating (Positive Reinforcement) the child gently can directly benefit the child when it comes to paying attention to the task at hand. Conversely relying on excessive Negative Reinforcement will impact the child’s ability to concentrate negatively.
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Tip 4: Music
Music is one of the most beautiful things of life. Very few pursuits of life have such a profound and sublime effect on such a large portion of the population. It should not surprise parents that music has been found to be extremely beneficial to children and aids in child development. As a parent, you must have noticed that children who pursue and practice music seem to love it and concentrate on it for long hours quite easily. Music has also been shown to aid in literacy and improve academic results and fundamentally alters the brain. Now research is also showing that Music helps children concentrate. Ability to concentrate has two parts: Conscious part where the individual directs his mind to the task-at-hand and Unconscious part, upon which the individual has very little control. Music might play an important role in controlling the unconscious part. This is an area of ongoing research. Studies are currently underway on whether different types of music and rhythms impact concentration in different ways. So, the key takeaway for any parent is that they should consider enrolling their children for music lessons at the earliest. Most Indian music teachers start accepting children as young as 3-4 years.
Tip 5: Avoid Electronic gadgets
Excessive Screen Time on electronic gadgets has negative consequences on child development and their ability to concentrate. This includes even educational or learning apps on electronic gadgets. Eliminating these distractions or at the very least minimizing them in a controlled manner, will go a long way in changing your child’s life. Excessive screentime also directly harms the child’s ability to concentrate for long hours on studies or any other task. As parents ourselves, we understand the practical challenges in doing this. But even though it might be a bit challenging for a couple of weeks, the child will quickly adjust. If you are attempting to wean your child off electronic gadgets we would advise you to remember two things: 1. channelize the child’s energy towards other healthy pursuits and 2. be firm on the decision to not give electronic gadgets to your child.
Tip 6: Set Routines
As adults, sometimes it becomes difficult for us to imagine what it is to be a child. This world that surrounds us is quite familiar to us and holds little surprises for adults. But that is not the case for child. For them everything is new and exciting. This is precisely why setting a routine helps give a sense of structure to the child and provides an anchor in a dynamic and sometimes overwhelming world. Setting a daily routine will help your child immensely and will positively impact its ability to concentrate on the task-at-hand, improve general behaviour and discipline. It has been shown that setting routines helps the child to be more independent, confident and reduce tantrums. We encourage every parent to read more on how to set routines for their children. For example, if as per your routine, 7-8 PM is time for Reading Books, you will see that over a period, the child begins to focus on the task for the full one hour. As always, for any habit forming, it is important to be patient and consistent.
Tip 7: Encourage a Passion that your Child Loves
Research indicates that encouraging your child to pursue what he or she loves to do, can help in increasing the concentration skills. So what exactly does your child love doing? Well, that is for you to discover. And it will vary from child to child. Some children might love painting with colours while others might love building sand castles. If the task at hand is too challenging, research again indicates that concentration levels of the child would diminish. The key challenge that we as parents have, is to find that right balance between encouraging the child to do what she loves and simultaneously not getting her avoid activities that she views as challenging or uninteresting. When trying to teach your child to concentrate on a challenging or uninteresting activity, tactics such as breaking down the task into simpler chunks, planned breaks and focusing on one activity at a time will help.
Tip 8: Moods play an Important Role
As an adult, I find it difficult to concentrate in office if I am not in a particularly great mood. Turns out that mood is an important element of concentration even for children. A child finds it difficult to concentrate if he or she is upset, sad, overwhelmed, tired or very excited. A calm child will find it easier to focus on the task-at-hand. So as a parent, you need to watch out for the mood of the child. If you have identified that the child is distracted because of the mood, talking to the child will help the child deal with it. One of the common reasons for tiredness in children is inadequate sleep. Inculcate regular and adequate sleeping habits in your child to avoid this problem.
Tip 9: Joint Attention
Joint attention is defined as the shared focus of two individuals on an object. There has been a fair amount of research on this topic over the last few decades. For example, it has been observed that even an 11-month-old infant can follow the direction of the parent’s gaze and look at the object that the parent wants it to look at. Research findings of this nature indicate that Parents and Caregivers have a crucial role to play in getting your child to focus. Doing activities together with the child will not only help the child concentrate better but will also enhance the entire experience. As we noted earlier human interaction enhances learning in children especially since their symbolic understanding is under-developed. So, our advice to parents would be to lead by example and help the child concentrate on the activity by doing it alongside with him or her. You can look to gradually wean the child off the need for joint attention.
We hope you have enjoyed our tips on how to improve concentration in kids. It should be noted that ability to concentrate for long hours on studies or any other activity, take a long time to master. Even teenagers cannot concentrate like adults. So as a parent you need to have realistic expectations. Please read these author’s notes as well before your sign off.
Author’s Notes to Parents
- Each Child is different. You as a parent should work on finding individualized strategies and tactics that work for your child.
- Have realistic expectations. For example, children in the 4-5 Year age group typically can concentrate for about 5-20 mins on a task. Having unrealistic expectations will be counterproductive.
- There have been suggestions that Yoga, Meditation and Belly Breathing have proven benefits. While there is no doubt that Yoga and Meditation do work, we had practical challenges in using them in young children. But we leave it to parents to decide if they wish to use Yoga and Meditation for their children or not.
- Finally, If the problem is severe and persistent, despite your best efforts, do seek professional help.
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How to concentrate on studies and how to Improve concentration in Kids are important issues for many parents. And rightly so! A child that can concentrate on its tasks and activities has numerous lifelong advantages.
- In this article, we look into some of the research-based tips on how to improve a child’s concentration.
- Engaging your child in exercise, sports, music, creating a healthy and positive environment for the child and avoiding distractions like electronic gadgets from an early age will be helpful in improving your child’s concentration. Yoga and Meditation also have proven beneficial effects in improving concentration.
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Did you find the above tips useful? Do you use any other techniques to improve your child’s concentration? Do you have any more ideas on how to concentrate on studies?
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