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4 Tips to Improve Concentration in Elementary Kids

by Lori Sciame | July 2nd, 2014 | Behavior, Elementary

read-316507_640Parents of elementary age children understand the concept of perpetual motion.  The reason: their children never stop moving.  Children this age literally jump, wiggle, twist, run, skip and twirl through each day.  They can be exhausting to watch, let alone keep up with.  In addition, being unable to settle down and concentrate can have a negative effect on their behavior and learning ability.

While helping an elementary age child to learn how to concentrate on a task may seem impossible, it’s actually not that hard to do.  Try the following tips to help your child develop all-important concentration skills.

1.  Exercise, Exercise, and More Exercise.

Children NEED plenty of physical activity each day to help them burn off the excess energy they possess.  Remember the 60-minute rule — one hour of vigorous exercise EVERY day.

If your child’s school has cut its physical education program to the bare minimum, then it’s imperative you supplement the program with other options.  Even timing your child as she runs laps around the house works!  She will enjoy trying to beat her own best time, plus she will be readying herself for being able to concentrate on homework later on that evening.

Another bonus is that exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which increases its working ability.

2.  Model Controlled Behavior

If you find yourself jumping from task to task, never fully engaging in any one moment, then you are sending the wrong message to your child.

Make a conscious effort to slow down.  Use eye contact.  Really listen.  Don’t interrupt. By doing these things, you show a child what it takes to concentrate completely on another person.  (Also, resist showing too much impatience while waiting in lines or while stuck in traffic).

3.  Teach Concentration Through Sports and Games

The beauty of sports and games is that they provide a child with plenty of fun while also teaching them concentration skills.  For instance, sports such as archery, golf, and martial arts require plenty of mental focus to be successful, while games, including chess and billiards, can do the same.

In fact, the Kasparov Chess Foundation Europe asserts that when playing chess, “children are taught the benefits of observing carefully and concentrating. If they don’t watch what is happening, they can’t respond to it, no matter how smart they are.”

4.  Give Plenty of Praise for Correct Behavior

Why is it that parents tend to focus on what a child is doing wrong?  Instead, compliment a child on what he does right.  This works well when helping a young person develop concentration and self control.

Here’s how it works: Imagine your son – who can currently only sit still for a few minutes at a time – develops an interest in building a model airplane he received as a gift.  Before you know it, he’s spent 10 minutes gluing on a wing, and  he has barely moved a muscle.

This is concentration at its finest, so let him know how proud you are that he’s giving the task his all.

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