8 ways to help your child focus and pay attention during homework time

By Dr Richard C. Woolfson   — January 28, 2019
  • Reduce noisy distractions
    1 / 8 Reduce noisy distractions

    When your child is at home, help him focus by eliminating unnecessary stimulation that could distract him, such as loud background music or the TV.

    Find ways to keep these to a minimum if you can’t block them completely.

    Related: 9 ways to turn breakfast into brain food for the kids

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  • Sit with your child
    2 / 8 Sit with your child

    Research shows that a child plays longer with a toy when one of his parents sits beside her. This principle may apply to a school-aged child, too.

    Try this: Sit with your child when he starts an activity (you may read a book or newspaper). Smile at him, but avoid chatting. You may find that this helps him focus better on the task.

    Related: 7 tips to help your child ace the weekly spelling test in Primary 1

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  • Organise her environment
    3 / 8 Organise her environment

    Children focus better when they have a well-organised learning environment, where everything is in its place.

    For instance, if your kid is in the habit of working at a table that is cluttered with books, newspapers, toys, and scattered pens and pencils, teach him to keep his things tidy.

    Keep stationery in a container and discard old newspapers.

    Related: 10 tips to help your disorganised child

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  • Set attainable targets
    4 / 8 Set attainable targets

    Don’t set him up for failure by setting a concentration target he cannot possibly reach. That would lower his self-esteem.

    Instead, suggest that he concentrate on an activity for just five minutes and he can then stop. Pick a time limit he can cope with.

    Related: How to strengthen your child’s attention span

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  • Gradually extend his attention span
    5 / 8 Gradually extend his attention span

    It’s easier to build concentration skills at a steady pace than in large jumps.

    Once your child has achieved the target time (for instance, he read the book for five minutes before putting it down for something else), add 30 seconds to this base time the following day/night.

    Tell him the strategy so that he is fully aware of the new target. And when he succeeds, this becomes the new baseline.

    Related: Child doesn’t want to do homework: How to help

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  • Intersperse work with play
    6 / 8 Intersperse work with play

    Let him choose his own activities in between periods of focus. He could play or to listen to music after he has concentrated for the agreed period.

    This helps recharge his concentration skills.

    Once he has played for a reasonable amount of time, bring him back to the learning activity for a further specified time.

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  • Watch when he does concentrate
    7 / 8 Watch when he does concentrate

    There will be times when he focuses for longer than you’d expect, perhaps when playing a popular computer game or when his favourite music group appears on TV.

    When you see that happening, step back and try to identify what it is about that situation that helps him.

    For instance, it can be her motivation, the activity itself or her surroundings.

    Related: Sitting properly help grades

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  • Give him ownership
    8 / 8 Give him ownership

    Although you want to help your child improve, make sure you don’t take full responsibility for this.

    There is a fine line between supporting your child and taking charge. If you do the latter, the drive to improve his concentration rests with you, not him.

    Encourage him to be actively involved by participating in the selection of techniques.

    (Photos: 123RF.com) 

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