9 Tips to Help an Easily Distracted Child Stay Focused

An easily distracted child has focus and concentration issues that can impair his ability to learn and develop cognitive skills.

[If your child is constantly inattentive or can’t sit still for long periods of time, consult a doctor to check for ADHD symptoms, and other possible medical issues]

child concentration problems

The frequent use of electronic media is causing an alarming decline in our kids’ attention span.

According to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), kids who spend more than 7 hours of screen time sustain adverse physical changes to the brain, such as premature thinning of the cortex.

Moreover, children who spend more than two hours of screen time daily are likely to score lower on both thinking and language skills.

Knowing how critical it is to keep our kids’ brains in top shape, there are things we can do today to protect our children from the negative impact of electronic media on their young brains.

The sooner, the better.

How to Improve Children’s Concentration and Focus?

9 Quick Tips to Help Your Child Stay Focused

1. Kids need to have screen-free activities and hobbies

We can start plotting a schedule for non-screen activities to keep our children away from the screen for a good amount of time. 

Not only will we help wean our tech-addicted children off their computers and mobile phone, but we can also help them improve their I Q, as non-screen activities like those that require physical exertion are proven to raise IQ levels.

2. A good bedtime routine can alleviate concentration problems

Lack of adequate sleep can adversely affect your child’s ability to focus on things that require concentration, such as completing assignments, drawing, and painting, among other activities. Hence, ensuring that children have adequate sleep is essential.

One key to accomplishing this goal is to set a good bedtime routine.

3. Healthy breakfast

According to a study, there is a correlation between mental alertness and the consumption of a healthy breakfast, as unhealthy food can cause brain fog and impaired concentration.

Some examples of healthy breakfasts your child can eat to boost brainpower are as follows:

  • Vegetable and egg salad
  • Blueberry smoothie
  • Oatmeal topped with berries/avocados or banana
  • Greek yogurt will walnuts [check for walnut allergy]
  • Peanut butter on whole-grain toast { Don’t give this to your child if he’s allergic to nuts}

4. Dehydration can cause attention problems

Dehydration can impair brain function, so keeping our children well-hydrated is key; however, we should not overdo it. Drinking excessive amounts of water is also detrimental to our kids’ health. Please check the guideline concerning water intake released by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)

  • Boys and girls aged 4-8 years  require 1.1 to 1.3 liters per day
  • Girls aged 9-13 years require 1.3 to 1.5 liters per day.
  • Boys aged 9-13 years require 1.5 to 1.7 liters per day.

5. Physical exercise and breathing exercise

Help your child develop the habit of engaging in physical exercise every day to enhance their memory and thinking skills. Determine which form of physical exercise he enjoys the most, so he will be more inclined to do it daily.

There are a myriad of physical activities to choose from, such as swimming, dancing, or jumping, among many others.

Also, ask your child to do belly breathing which is proven to boost mental energy levels so your kids can focus on the task at hand.

  • Lie or sit in a relaxed position
  • Have your child breathe through the nose, with one hand on the chest and the other one on the belly
  • Breathe for 3 seconds or until the child fills the chest with air down to the belly.
  • Have your kids hold their breath for four seconds
  • Ask them to exhale the air out slowly
  • Continue doing the exercise until your child feels more relaxed. 

This breathing exercise will enable you to activate the diaphragm, a large muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. Activating it helps to trigger a relaxation response in the body.

And when the body is in a relaxed state, the brain will function much better.

6. Playing memory games

Playing memory games can improve brain functions such as focus, attention, and concentration by stimulating the brain to think faster and more accurately. 

reading with kids

Your child can start playing memory games around the age of four. However, the game’s difficulty level should be suitable for your child’s age and mental abilities, ensuring that they do not become frustrated and lose interest.

Here are some examples of memory games

  1. Matching game
  2. The rhyming word game
  3. What’s missing game
  4. Storytelling games
  5. Card recall game

7. Break large tasks down into manageable pieces

Too many tasks to work on can drain your child’s brain, affecting his ability to focus on his assigned activities. 

Divide the tasks instead into smaller parts so the activities will not overwhelm him.

8. Determine the difficulty level of an activity

A task that is mentally taxing for kids to handle can hamper their ability to focus, as working on a difficult task can subject them to undue stress and anxiety. A reminder that anxiety has the potential to disrupt and influence mental clarity.

To determine whether a task is excessively challenging for a child, you can ask your little one to rate the level of difficulty of the task from 1-10. If he finds the task difficult, introduce a much easier activity and work from there before he takes on the more challenging tasks.

9. Nurture positive, happy emotions

Emotional distress impedes a child’s ability to concentrate.

Do your best not to reprimand or physically hit your child for failing to focus on his tasks. Otherwise, your child will associate learning with a negative experience as it triggers fear and anxiety.

Thus, he will try to avoid doing his assigned tasks by making many excuses.

Nonetheless, we can make learning an enjoyable activity by setting a good example. If we show enthusiasm in guiding our children with their schoolwork, they will be more likely to get excited about completing their tasks sooner than later.

Conclusion: There are ways to help our easily distracted child achieve optimal brain function

Figure out what makes our children feel anxious when trying to work on their assigned tasks. We must ask ourselves the following questions:

  • What did my child eat for breakfast?
  • Did he sleep well the night before?
  • Is he dehydrated?
  • Does my child have too much screen time?
  • Is your child distracted by his surroundings?
  • Do you yell at him or hit him physically whenever he fails to focus on his schoolwork?

Lack of concentration in children is due to many factors that are often beyond our kids’ control. Let us be more compassionate and supportive as they grow and take on new, more challenging tasks.

By setting a positive mood for learning, providing the right diet, and establishing a good bedtime routine, we can dramatically improve our children’s ability to focus, enabling them to accomplish their tasks correctly and on time.