Advertisement

Too Many Distractions To Concentrate?


By Carolyn Jabs

 

Concentration is crucial to success at school and work. Now, educators are worried that the ability to concentrate is eroding under the relentless barrage of random messages from cell phones and social media. Brain research from UCLA’s Karin Foerde and Barbara Knowlton shows the hippocampus, the part of the brain devoted to storing and recalling information, isn’t engaged when a person is distracted.  

The beginning of the school year is a great time to establish routines promoting concentration—even for children who love the distraction of media. 

One of the best ways to help children grasp the value of attention is to give them yours. When you’re doing something with your child, don’t let your cell phone or work distract you. Focus on what your child is saying or what you are doing together. Allocate time for phone calls, television and how long you’ll spend on social media websites. 

Children who grow up with the benefits of parental attention and limits on attention-draining activities will begin to understand that attention, like money, is a finite resource. Try some of these ideas to get the message across. 

Budget tech time.

Obviously, video games, social networking and other interactive pastimes have an important place in the lives of children. However, they shouldn’t be available 24/7. Establish tech-free times for homework or to engage in other activities requiring concentration. Encourage older children to post an away message or status to avoid the temptation of missing something. Get creative and design a humorous sign stating “Tech-free Time” to minimize interruptions from other family members. Moreover, turn off those cell phones so you can actually write a thank you note, balance the checkbook or read a report. 

Create a tech-free workspace.

Ensure your child has access to a workspace where the tools needed for schoolwork. Supplies such as paper, dictionaries, pens and highlighters should be nearby. Make sure this space is not near possible distractions such as video games, snacks or a television. Good lighting and the proper chair are always essential, but the internet is not. Children will protest that they need it or they can’t possibly do their homework, but that usually isn’t the full story. Work such as math problems and reading will actually go faster if the child is away from the screen. Keep in mind though that many school systems do post assignments and test scores online so allow time to obtain this information if it is the practice of their school. 

Find “primetime.”

Most adults know when they are sharpest during the day. Encourage your child to experiment with different study times. Some children will be most able to focus right after school when the lessons of the day are still fresh. Others will do better after a snack, a sports practice or even a session of social networking. Others may be able to wiz through homework in half the time if they get up early and do it first thing in the morning. Help your child identify and protect the time when he or she is most able to concentrate.

Creates chunks of work.

Although it may be obvious to parents, students often don’t know how to divide homework into manageable portions. The idea of writing an entire report may be paralyzing. Older students may do better with a timetable that includes incentives such as 30 minutes of homework earns 10 minutes of social networking. Just be sure to set a timer so homework resumes after ten minutes.   

Teach attention.

Even under optimal conditions, your child’s mind may wander. This is normal, especially for middle school students who are studying independently for the first time. You can use a simple technique to help your child stretch out periods of attention. While reading or doing other work, keep a 3x5 card close and make a mark each time attention wanders. If the random thought is important, make a note. Then, remind your child of the task at hand. Concentration requires practice and over time, his or her ability to focus will improve. 

Be the first to review this item!


Bookmark this

09 Aug 2016


Recent Articles more articles

The Moment I Became a Mom

in Family Life, Amy Delaney

There are many milestones in the international adoption process–home study completion, being matched with your child, receiving updates, getting the travel call. However, the single biggest milestone for me was never logged on a calendar, even though

Make Time For Yourself

in Amelia Laprairie

Being a mom is a roller coaster of emotions. There’s happiness while watching the little ones grow, followed by my sadness because of the realization of how fast it happens. There’s anticipation of wanting them to reach milestones, followed by the ne

Sleepaway for Mama: Leaving My Daughters Overnight for the First Time

in Things To Do, Family Life, Mari Walker

In more than seven and a half years of parenting, I had never left my children overnight until recently. Other than her recent trip to pony camp, the only time I was away from my older daughter was when my younger daughter was born. I stayed in the h

Sure Signs You’re a Mom to School-Aged Children

in Family Life, Amy Delaney, School

It’s August–do you know where your school supply list is?! This school year snuck up on us like no other. We moved in May and our summer was literally turned upside down, and now it’s August and school is upon us. As I entered the scramble to prepare

Featured Listings more listings

St. Alphonsus Catholic School

in Private Schools

The Mission of St. Alphonsus Catholic School is to provide a faith-filled education which promotes academic excellence for each student.

Jump N Jive

Jump N Jive

in Party Venues

Jump N Jive is home of the stress-free birthday party. When you plan your child's birthday party with Jump N Jive, they will provide a venue with two separate rooms featuring wall-to-wall inflatables for all of the kiddos to bounce around on. With Ju

UpTown Climbing

UpTown Climbing

in Party Venues

UpTown Climbing parties include two hours of staff-belayed indoor rock climbing for all guests to enjoy, plus one (or both) of UpTown's party rooms are available for mid-climb party/cake break for the celebration. When you book a party with UpTown, y

St. James Episcopal Day School

in Private Schools

St. James Episcopal Day School offers an exceptional education for three-year-olds through fifth graders. Named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2009 and 2015, St. James provides a foundation of academic excellence and a spiritual foundation.

Advertisement
Newsletter