Picture credit Freepick
Focus is the foundation for learning. People believe that focus is a way of working on a task, without thoughts anything else, but focus includes coming in and out from the task whenever it is required and filtering distractions.
Focus in young children:
Babies use their hands and eyes to focus on an object; we can assess their focus depending on how much time they choose to look at.
Toddlers begin using five senses to explore their environment; gradually the amount of time spent on a particular task increases.
By the time they reach pre-school children develop interests and skills that lead to more focused (engaged) play. Sometimes they spend more time on a single game\task like building a house or their favourite game.
What if kids never seem to settle?
As children brains are developing they explore much and gain as much knowledge as they can to know more about their interests. But at the same time they need to learn how to control their focus.
How can we support focus?
Be a role model:
Kids learn a lot by imitating. If you model focus whatever you are doing they will learn the same. Teach them how you are regulating your focus on tasks.
The more you observe the better you can understand your children play patterns, like how often they are playing with same toys or same games in a day or in a week etc. It helps you to understand their interest and what it is about that situation hooks him.
Set attainable targets:
If your child is above 5 years, set targets that your child can achieve with little efforts and gradually extend the targets. Give them breaks in between and reward when they concentrate on task for certain period of time and come back to work on their own after break. Give him\her options to choose from, for home work (or any work).
Make Responsibility as a Routine:
Setting a routine is the key to finish their work without hassles.
Fix their homework, play and other activities timings in a day and try to be consistent with it. Share your expectations (reasonable according to age) with children.
It will help them to get used to the tasks they do in a day and control distractions if any.
Helping your child in homework is good but taking charge of their homework is not so good.
Early years are very important to teach them how to be responsible for their (home) work.
Let them do their homework little by little and review it later and suggest corrections if any,
This helps them to regulate their thoughts and focus on the task. If you are sitting along with them until they finish their homework they will expect it forever. Actually it applies to every task they do like getting ready for school, packing their school bag, snacks, cleaning their shoes, putting back toys after play etc.
Let them know about distractions:
While doing homework sometimes (many) they get distracted from the work and think about a lot many things, take this is an opportunity to help your child become aware of distractions by explaining what has happed and what will be the result, with time and practice they will understand and also recognize when their thoughts are drifting from their work and what to do.
Positive affirmations help kids to motivate themselves.
Possible affirmations are …….
“Work first, play later”
“I can do if I focus”
“I do my best in tasks”