Focusing on one task might seem like an easy for some, but for others, it can be a huge obstacle. No matter what your child’s diagnosis, learning to focus can be a useful tool that can help them in school and with accomplishing their goals whatever they might be. But how do we focus? Are their techniques, games, or activities that can help with focus? The good news is there are definitely things we can do to improve focus.
There are many games that require focus such as Memory. The game of Memory is a great way to improve focus because the game is all about focus, but sometimes the game can be overwhelming so instead of using all of the cards try using just 6 pairs, then increasing the amount as your child’s ability to remember and focus improves. The big goal here is to find a balance, giving them too much to focus on will just overwhelm them, while too little will make them bored and more apt to distraction.
Puzzles are another great way of developing attention skills. Similar to Memory you want to start off with a smaller puzzle. Start with a 12 or 24 piece and then increase as their abilities grow and they feel successful.
Music has been scientifically proven to help with focus. Dr. Masha Godkin a professor from Northcentral University says, “Music activates both the left and right brain at the same time, and the activation of both hemispheres can maximize learning and improve memory.” But not all music is created the same, some music is more beneficial than other music. Music without lyrics is more helpful because the lyrics can become distracting. Also, slower music that is between 60-70 BPM (beats per minute) will work better than fast music because it will not distract and will allow us to focus more on learning than on tapping our toes to a catchy tune. To read more about the benefits of music, you can read more here.
Exercise can be a great way to increase attention. Getting a child to move allows not only for excess energy to be burnt off, but also to get their blood pumping. Increased blood to the brain allows for increased brain function. There are many simple activities from jumping jacks to playing wheelbarrow (when the child walks on their hands and someone holds their feet). These activities are quick and can get you back to work even faster so if your child is struggling with paying attention then have them stop and get moving for a minute or two, allowing them the opportunity to focus on their tasks better.
Meditation has so many benefits. It allows one to clear their mind, relax, and be self-aware. Meditation is also great for self-regulating your emotions too. A study by Neurologist, Giuseppe Pagnoni, “found that meditation not only changes brain patterns, but it also confers advantages in mental focus that may improve cognitive performance.” Ideally, you would want to find a quiet place for your child to sit for 10-20 minutes every day, but some kids may need to work their way up to ten minutes. If that is the case then challenge them to 2 minutes and increase the time as they improve.
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