Attention and concentration difficulties are very common in primary school-aged children. There are a number of behaviours which are easy to spot in your child, including: the inability to sit still, difficulty following instruction or completing work, problems behaving, or the inability to resist distraction. These attention and concentration difficulties can have a significant impact on a child’s learning progress, so the challenge is to find a solution which works best for you and your little one.

Cause

The first step is to look for the cause of your child’s distractions, of which could be any of the following:

• A lack of sleep or poor routine
• A diet high in sugar and fat with no sustaining nutrition to assist concentration in the classroom
• Excessive screen-time, especially prior to going to bed
• Difficulties at home, such as a recent separation of parents or family trauma
• A more serious underlying problem – such as ADHD or autism

Solutions

There are a number of different day-to-day solutions that can aid concentration in the classroom. Consider trying these before seeking professional help. We have listed a few of them below –

  • Speak to your child’s teacher about sitting them at the front of the class. It’s possible that this will aid their concentration and prevent them being distracted by their chatty classmates.
  • Practice good concentration in the home. Make good eye contact with your child before an instruction is given and keep these instructions short. Ask your child to write down key words to prompt their memory, if helpful.
  • If disciplinary consequences are needed, make sure there is ample warning and that consequences are immediate, clear and graded. E.g. start with a short time-out and don’t be too punitive.
  • Ensure your child is getting enough sleep. Most primary school-aged children still need 10-11 hours of sleep.
  • Check that your child is eating a good, nutritious diet with minimal junk food and sugar.
  • Talk to your child about how much time they are spending on the computer or tablet. Consider setting some limits or making a deal where screen-time is set to Friday nights or the weekend.

If your child’s lack of concentration persists and is causing academic difficulties, it may be worthwhile to seek a professional’s opinion. In some cases, children may have learning difficulties such as ADHD, ADD or dyslexia. Alternatively, he or she could possibly have auditory issues such as CAPD (Central Auditory Discrimination Disorder). With the help of a professional’s advice, each of these issues can be addressed with a tailored tutoring and learning plan, allowing your child to approve his or her focus and succeed in the classroom

To find out more about any of these issues, visit the following sites –

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