You may have encountered your child struggling with retaining some information while engaged with in something else. Due to the monotony of the task at hand, the child may not be able to focus or the attention span is too short lived to be used in a gainful manner.
Working memory thus refers to the manipulation of information that short-term memory stores. It’s needed for tasks like following multi-step directions and there are many ways through which you can increase your child’s memory
1. Play focus games & exercises to build attention
It a accepted norm that children learn more by playing so it should be our conscious effort to try and make their activities more fun. Keep away gadgets, tablets and computers from children and allow them to play with toys, develop activities that improve attention and concentration. Train and strengthen a child’s ability to concentrate and focus by playing concentration games that require thinking, planning and the use of memory as Crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles and card games. These games actually improve attention for words, numbers and pictures. In fact in younger children picture puzzles work the best. The child has to look for things that are ‘wrong’ in the picture or look for hard-to-find objects—also improve attention and increase concentration. Sequencing is another such activity that provides a strong link between sequencing and concentration e.g. following recipes, setting the table and putting things in alphabetical order are great activities for kids who have concentration difficulties.
2. Prepare a distraction-free environment
Some children respond well in an environment that is soothing and calming but other children may thrive in an environment that has a lot of hustle and bustle. Understanding what kind of environment your child prefers to study is, the first step to increase concentration level in him/her.
The factors that can contribute in making a perfect environment for enhancing focus are
- Ambience –It is just providing a place for the kid to be work with focus with the task at hand
- Gadgets –Switch off all gadgets including televisions, iPods, cell phones etc. or keep them in a different room to avoid distractions.
- Reachable material – Keeping everything handy homework books, crayons, textbooks, pencils and even water can be kept on the table or nearby would give minimal scope for your child to get up and get distracted . All these help kids improve focus and increase attention!
3. Feed them greens & healthy food
It is a known fact that food has direct impact on a person and that applies to the kids as well .Thus Eating healthy food has a direct link to how well a child concentrates and there are different foods that help increase a child’s concentration. Eating junk food or food rich in sugar makes a child sluggish while food rich in proteins such as almonds, eggs and lean meat have the ability to raise awareness and increase concentration levels!
Children have increased their intake of junk food and aerated drinks. The intake of such foods gives them an unhealthy dose of sugar which can lead to a “crash” of energy later on the contrary eating Green food as eating toast and baked beans for breakfast increases cognition. Experts say that eating greens and fruits inject the body with antioxidants which in turn boost the brain power.
4. Fix a routine to follow
It is important to maintain a schedule for your child, even if it is a more flexible one. This not only helps with time management but also helps program your child’s brain to know when he has to study and this in turn helps to increase the child’s concentration in studies
5. Naps and breaks boost concentration
Most children are able to concentrate best after a good nights’ rest but a power nap for twenty minutes after school or in the afternoon may also assist increase concentration. Wash room breaks, hunger pangs, getting up again and again on pretext of getting things for work etc. should be taken care of before the study time begins as they have the tendency to hinder concentration.
6. Divide bigger tasks into smaller tasks
Studying an entire chapter in one go may prove quite difficult for a child. It is suggested to break it down into pages or even paragraphs so that the child feels a sense of accomplishment for finishing a small task and this will motivate him to continue on.
- Understand your child’s method of learning (visual, auditory, kinaesthetic)
All children have a different way of learning. Some children process information easily when they see it, some when they hear it and some when they have practical knowledge of it and can touch it. Therefore it is important to understand which category your child falls under, because this will help them understand information better and the learning will be more long term than short term.
- Set short time goals for better concentration
Set a time limit for the completion of a goal. If it is studying, then you can say that a certain number of pages need to be done within twenty minutes. Another thing to keep in mind is that while some children thrive under time goals, other children might feel pressurized and may start feeling anxious and lose focus.
The other ways that may help in increasing the concentration of the children are
· Set up a reward system
· Allow time for distractions
· Use their energy effectively
· Try deep breathing and imagery
Like any skill, concentration can be improved and made automatic. The trick is to be consistent. Memory-boosting tricks and games are a few ways to help you child improve but if the child continues to have significant difficulties with working memory then it is suggested to undergo an attention evaluation to resolve the issue or seek an expert advise on the matter.