Three tips to keep kids focused and engaged in their learning
With summer in full swing, parents have time to reflect upon the school year. As any parent of a young and exuberant child or teen will attest, keeping kids focused and engaged can be difficult, but you can use your student's time out of the classroom to develop new activities and practices that will keep them better focused and alert with learning when the school year returns. Parents can play a large role in improving their child's attention span at school by preparing the right kind of meals, instilling the appropriate values, and partaking in the proper activities to foster better concentration and, therefore, learning. Using these three tips can help your children stay focused, alert, and excited about school both in the classroom and at home.
Create a Study Area
Remaining engaged and focused with any activity relies on the environment in which you are working. While most classrooms are constructed for an optimal working experience, building an at-home learning environment is just as important for a young (or old) learner. Create an area in your home that is conducive to productive studying and concentration. For most adolescents, this area should be comfortable, quiet, void of distractions, and fully stocked with necessary supplies. Find a place in your home that you can deem the learning area. In this area, students will perform only educational pursuits. Many people fail to realize the importance of creating physical boundaries for your mind and body between your work area and your leisure area. Many kids try to do their homework while sitting on their bed or sitting in front of a television. While this is obviously not the best environment for focused learning, doing homework in bed can also make sleeping more difficult. Training your mind and body to be ready for work when in one environment and ready for sleep when in another environment is important. Create a space for your kids where they can go to be focused and alert. Develop a schedule and routine for this space. Creating a regular routine helps young students stay focused and make a habit of a consistent working schedule.
Organize Goals and Accomplishments
Another great step towards developing concentration is setting realistic goals and tracking when they are accomplished. Help your children to plan what they need to do for schoolwork and exams. Set concrete goals together and decide how much time each task will take to accomplish. This can help students learn time management, become more organized, and stay on top of stressful assignments. Help your students create a plan that is reasonable. To avoid becoming overwhelmed, break larger assignments into smaller goals. Leave some room in the plan for breaks or events that might come up. Once you and your child have developed an organized and carefully thought-out plan, create a calendar and accomplishment chart. Hang up a wall calendar in your child's workspace and have your kids circle important dates and deadlines. Write in any scheduled activities, including social events, family trips, appointments, or upcoming obligations. With this chart your young learner is able to map out their game plan and visualize their goals. Cross off tasks and days as they are completed. Your kids can watch their progress throughout each day and find a sense of self-accomplishment. Furthermore, organization is one of the most important traits a parent can instill in their child. Students who organize their goals, aspirations, and accomplishments are better able to realize those goals and manage the stresses of their lives.
Eat the Right Stuff
One thing that children and parents alike often overlook when it comes to successful learning is the importance of a healthy, balanced appetite. While it is a tired phrase, it remains true that breakfast is the most important meal in the day. Make sure your young learner eats breakfast before they go to school. However, make sure that this breakfast is truly healthy. Avoid meals high in sugar (like most of the quick breakfast solutions out there, such as pastries, pancakes, waffles, and most cereals); these can give a burst of energy that wears off rapidly, leaving your child tired when he or she needs to be alert! Give your kids a clean source of protein in the morning, as well as a sustainable carbohydrate for energy.
This guest post is contributed by Leslie Johnson, who writes about health, green living, parenting related articles at MastersInHealthCare.com. For parents of middle-school kids, researchers have identified some strategies for parents who want to support their children's learning.
Note: Opinions expressed in this guest post may not represent the views of Family Anatomy or its authors. Posts on Family Anatomy are for education only, and are not intended to replace professional or medical advice. If you need to talk to someone about family or mental health issues, you can get a referral from your family doctor.