Finding Focus: Helping Your Child Pay Attention

It can be difficult for a child to stay focused. As a parent, the last thing you want is a phone call from your child’s teacher saying they are having trouble staying focused in class. It can be hard to think that you can help your child concentrate at school when you are not sitting with him. Lack of concentration can occur at any age. Adults even have trouble concentrating on certain things.

What causes a lack of concentration in our children?

Lack of focus can be a lack of interest or even a lack of understanding. It can boil down to the inability to sit still or your child being easily distracted. Your child may be a dreamer who tends to be more in his head than in the present. Difficulty following instructions or an inability to keep things organized can also play a role in a lack of concentration. Another carelessness may be that your child is overly sociable, and being sociable is more important than paying attention. Finding the cause of the lack of focus can help you know how to fight it.

Lack of concentration at school

If the lack of concentration occurs in school, you can help your child learn to put himself in a better position to help him concentrate. This may mean telling them to sit in front of the class. This eliminates less to look at between them and the teacher. Sit away from distractions. This could mean sitting away from the classroom door or window. Keep an organized workspace at school. Help them organize their notebooks, homework and files.

Another thing you can help with is homework. Help your child make a list of what to do. Sometimes it’s not that they aren’t focused, they might not know exactly where to start and finish something. Divide large tasks into smaller ones. If they have a school project to complete, help them break the project down into smaller, achievable goals. Don’t let them get overwhelmed if they have more than one task to complete. Tell them one task at a time. If your child has a lot of homework, schedule breaks. Create a dedicated space for your child to do their homework and have a time when they know they are supposed to be working on it. Maintaining a schedule will help their body go into focus mode at the same time every day.

Communication and learning style

Finding out what helps your child focus and learn can be essential in helping them focus. Talk to them, ask them what they think helps them focus. Does sitting or standing work better for them? Does he like extreme calm or a little background music? Do they learn best visually, by creating flashcards, drawing or reading aloud. Fussing doesn’t necessarily mean your child is not listening. Fussing could mean their body needs to stand up and move for a minute. Some children like to fidget to help them concentrate.

Games that improve concentration

You can help your child outside of school to practice concentration by playing concentration games. It can be a puzzle or a crossword puzzle. Ice dancing can also be a game of concentration. It keeps your child’s mind tuned to music when they stop to know how to stop dancing. Simon says head, shoulders, knees and toes are all games that can get your child moving, but also practice their concentration skills.


Another thing that you can work on with your child is practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is living in the moment. Practicing this can help your child learn to be more in the present. So if they notice that their mind is starting to wander, they can bring their mind back to what is going on around them right now. This can consist of working on breathing exercises, where they sit quietly and focus on each inhale and exhale. Or you can make them stand up straight and focus on how their feet touch the ground. There are many mindfulness practices that can benefit your child.

Repeat Repeat Repeat

You can check if your child is actively listening to you by asking them to repeat what you just said.

Unstructured play

It is important to also give our children time to play without structure. Preferably outdoors.

Vitamin D

The importance of vitamin D in our body is incredible. The sun is the best way to get natural vitamin D. So if your child comes home with a load of energy, allowing them to go for a run outside uneducated can do wonders when they need to come back to busy with homework.


Making sure your child gets enough sleep at night can also help them stay focused in class.

Diet and food

Lack of focus can also come from eating. Eating too much sugar, dairy, and gluten can actually affect the ability to concentrate. Make sure your child’s blood sugar stays balanced throughout the day. Adding healthy fats to their diet can boost brain function, causing them to be more focused as well. Foods high in magnesium can also help your child focus.

Raising dopamine can also be of great help. Dopamine is the brain chemical responsible for focus, motivation, and joy in activities. Dopamine is released when we do things we think are enjoyable. Not having enough can lead to lack of interest and lack of focus. You can increase dopamine levels with certain foods such as seaweed, egg whites, beef, chicken, turkey, fish, cheese, pumpkin, nuts and seeds, beans, lentils , spinach, avocados, oats, bananas, watermelons, chocolate, spirulina, broccoli, cauliflower, berries and apples.

To take with

Helping our children learn to focus can benefit them for the rest of their lives. Learning the techniques that help our children learn and concentrate better can help everyone. Adults sometimes need help concentrating too, so remember that the average adult can only fully concentrate on something for about 42 minutes without a break. So a child’s concentration can be much less than that. Finding fun ways to practice concentration and learn a little mindfulness can help your child stay focused in school.

READ MORE: Vitamin D deficiency

Sticking to a daily schedule helps your body go into focus mode at the same time every day.

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