As the media is so fond of saying these days, we’re living in uncertain and unprecedented times. What is certain is that our children still have to go to school and gain an education to prepare for the world that is yet to come. That being said, a lot of kids are finding it harder than ever to remain focused on school-work, even during class time, due to the nature of remote schooling and being physically separated from their classmates.
So how can you help your children remain focused on the task at hand, even with so many barriers to concentration? Keep reading to find out!
Exercise before class begins
Sometimes just getting up and moving around can be tremendously helpful in remaining focused in the long term. Exercise is known to decrease anxiety and increase attentiveness, so even if it’s just a walk around the block or a few jumping jacks, a bit of exercise will go a long way in helping your child stay focused during remote school.
Designate a "school space"
A big part of what keeps people unable to stay focused on a single task is the space they inhabit. If you’re sitting at a desk that is sometimes used for school, sometimes used for video games, sometimes used for homework, and sometimes used for drawing, it’s hard for your brain to stay focused on any one of those tasks for very long before reminding you of all the other things you could be doing in that same space. Set up a location, whether it’s a chair, a desk, or a seat at a specific table, that will only be used for remote school. This way, your child’s mind will begin to associate that location with school, and when they are seated there, will be better able to focus on school-work without distractions.
Take away their cellphone
This might be harder to do at home. Kids have a lot of excuses as to why they absolutely need to have their phone in order to get things done, but if their job is to stay focused on the lesson in front of them, the last thing they need is a device filled to the brim with distractions to take their mind away from their learning, even for a moment. One moment turns into 10, and before long, they’ve missed the entire lesson. Don’t give in to the pleading! Take the phone away until school is over.
Control Internet settings during school hours
So you’ve taken the cell phone away, but your child is still sitting in front of a computer for hours on end. A computer with access to all the same sites and social media apps that the cell phone had. How can you limit the time your child spends on other sites during learning time? If you know-how, go into your child’s internet settings and prevent access to any websites apart from the ones they use for school. Most computers also have parental control settings that will allow you to include a password so that your child can’t go in and change the settings back to what they were before. And trust me, you’re going to want to do that. Kids are incredibly technologically inclined and can figure out how to override your protocols unless you have a password in place.
Play concentration-building games / Read aloud
There are ways to improve concentration skills that have nothing to do with the task you’re attempting to focus on. Concentration, like most things, is a skill that can be practiced and improved upon. One way to help children build their concentration skills is to read aloud to them. The longer they are able to remain focused on a single task, like reading, the longer they will have the ability to focus on other individual tasks, like school. There are also a number of concentration building games, like jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, and chess, which help to build concentration over time. Spend time incorporating these games into your time with your child, and you’ll be having fun, building your relationship, and helping them to stay focused in school. It’s a win-win!
Once you’ve done these things, your child should have a much easier time staying focused in school—and on top of that, they’ll probably enjoy it more, too! Best of luck to you in improving your child’s ability to learn, and don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t go perfectly. Things are hard right now, and all you can do is your best.
To find out more about where your child is at with their math learning, schedule a free math skills assessment with Mathnasium. Assessments are currently all online via live-stream with an instructor, and instructional sessions are currently online.