If you are a parent of an child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), then you should understand how difficult it can be for your child to stay focused on his task at hand. Focus and concentration is like a muscle which must be exercised regularly for improved performance.
Children with ADHD often find it difficult to focus when the activity does not interest / them or when there are several distractions around them. They are easily distracted by “internal stimuli” and shift their attention to other things which are more engaging or interesting to them.
Signs of Poor Focus in Children
- Inability to sit still
- Inability to follow instructions
- Unable to maintain a train of thought
- Often daydreams or stares into blank space
- Gets impatient easily
- Takes very long to finish a task
- Fidgets a lot when carrying out tasks
Here are 4 focus training tips which you can try out to help your child achieve better focus.
1. Associate Rhythms to Tasks
A study conducted in 2011 validates that children with ADHD had significant improvements in classroom performance when they listened to music while in class. For children with ADHD, therapeutic musical rhythms provide a soothing structure to help the brain regulate, anticipate and react to information. Furthermore, associating rhythms to task can ignite cognitive stimulations that help children improve their memory and concentration abilities.
Listening Therapy is also an effective sound-based focus training method to help your child improve concentration and attentiveness. Through organised sound patterns & vibrations, listening therapy stimulates and exercises the vestibular-cochlear system, improving a child’s focus, memory, speech, language and executive functions.
Note: Kids with ADHD are sensitive to auditory stimulation and are easily distracted. Hence, you should try to reduce surrounding noise and distractions such as the television or music when doing tasks.
2. Play Puzzles
Puzzles are excellent focus training games which can help to stretch your child’s attention span. It is suggested to use jigsaw puzzles, cross-word puzzles or even sudoku-puzzles to stimulate and engage your child’s brain. Through puzzles, children with ADHD get to exercise deep uninterrupted mental concentration and visual processing skills which can significantly improve focus after completion.
Furthermore, puzzles which require a the use of eyes and hands can help children develop and refine their fine motor skills. Many therapies for ADHD, such as Brain & Focus Training and Sensory Integration, incorporate puzzles into a child’s tasks in order to help develop a child’s cognitive abilities.
3. Make Homework Engaging
Children with Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation and Combined Presentation of ADHD are often high in energy. Hence, turning homework into a sport can help these children to improve their ability to focus.
For example, you can consider tossing a ball back and forth with your child while your child is attempting Math homework – you ask the question, then toss the ball to your child for him/her to answer the question as he/she tosses the ball back to you. In doing so, working on homework becomes more engaging and less of a chore for your child.
Try out these techniques and observe how your child’s focus will gradually improve. While these techniques are just some of the effective methods that can be used to help an ADHD child improve his/her concentration, we would recommend consulting a professional or scheduling a consultation with us to derive at the best possible therapy for your child.
4. Set Time-Based Goals
Setting a reasonable time limit for completing tasks can improve a child’s motivation and focus. This gives the child a perimeter to work in, where he knows he has to use his time efficiently to complete the task on hand, improving his focus, concentration and productivity.
However, do note that some kids do not work well under pressure and may lose self-esteem if they are unable to complete the task on time. Hence, it is advisable for parents to observe how your child reacts to these goals and set reasonable time limits accordingly.
You may also choose to incorporate a reward system into this form of focus training. Rewards do not necessarily need to be tangible items such as sweets or toys, it can come in the form of encouragement and positive encouragement.
Other Focus Training Tips for Kids
Here are some low-cost tools you can use to help your child improve focus:
- Break down tasks into smaller, more manageable sections.
- Encourage participation in household chores.
- Have regular breaks in between tasks (5 minutes break for every 15 minutes of work)
As you carry out these simple focus training exercises with your child, always remember to stay calm, patient and keep your cool. It is neurobiologically impossible for a child to stay more regulated than a parent. Kids view parents as their role model and will follow your footsteps if he views an impatient, frustrated adult who loses temper easily. Hence, stay calm and composed can help your child focus better and concentrate better.
There are many different types of listening therapies available to address auditory processing issues. The Singapore Brain Development Centre offers effective Brain & Focus Training programs designed specifically to improve a child’s cognitive development.
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