Concentration is hard. Even those of us who have already made it through all the requisite schooling and well into the throes of adulthood find concentration to be one of the bigger struggles in our daily lives. So, while I may be a little late for some of us, why not foster some good habits into the minds of our future leaders? Here’s some tips to boost your child’s concentration without them even knowing.
While the classic jigsaw puzzle is good for concentration, try looking toward more challenging puzzles like crosswords or picture puzzles that require the child to find a list of items hidden within an image. Crossword puzzles help build up our sequencing ability, as well as stimulate memory when recalling facts or spellings of a word. Or, try things like a word search that requires a certain attention to detail to get things right.
Like puzzles, memory games like Simon, Memory or others are a fun way to get brain waves moving, and boost concentration skills in the process, requiring kids to pay attention and repeatedly challenging the brain’s capacity to recall what they just saw or heard. According to child psychologist, Dr. Robert Myers, parents should encourage kids and track their learning during these games. Offer praise when you see improvement and focus on fun first.
It’s well known that physical activity can boost brain function. Not only does playing a sport like soccer or baseball help kids let out some energy, it also forces kids to memorize rules, wait their turn and follow instructions. Success is dependent on concentration in just about any sport, and trust us, for many kids, it definitely won’t feel like learning.
Preparing a meal or whipping up a batch of your child’s favorite cookies is a great activity that promotes an understanding of nutrition as well as following directions and being patient. If your child is old enough, let them take the reins and play sous chef while you supervise.
Coloring is a soothing, meditative activity that also sparks the creativity of a child and improves focus. Encourage your child to try new art supplies, practice drawing themselves or people and objects around them, or get them hooked on a coloring app, like Mandala coloring pages.
Race Against Time
Challenge kids to complete less fun tasks in under a certain amount of time. This can include solving math problems or puzzles, or be applied to tasks like picking up their toys or making their bed. We’d advise against using this for homework, so the quality of work does not suffer, but the quick thinking skills can be applied to anything.
We’re not advocating one way or another about media and its role in a child’s life. While there are tons of great games and apps designed to help children solve problems or get better at math or language arts, it’s a good idea to keep the TV turned off and devices out of sight when it’s time for homework.
As you employ these different methods in getting your children engaged, take a look at this checklist to get a sense of how they’re doing. Ultimately, focus is key in getting children to grow up into healthy, well-adjusted adults.