How Do I Help My Child Focus in School?

An increasing number of children have been reported to experience challenges in focusing or maintaining concentration. But why is that and is it really a matter of focus or just the byproduct being a kid?

As a parent, it can be discouraging to see your child having a hard time keeping up with school. Oftentimes we tend to feel disappointed, sad or even mad at them, because we believe that they don’t make enough efforts to concentrate. Yet, there are so many reasons that can explain why a child doesn’t like going to school, has difficulties to concentrate and to get good grades. So, if you ask yourself “how to help my child focus in school?”, read what follows carefully, you might find very helpful advice to help your kid.

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Why can’t my child concentrate in school ?

To start with, let’s see what might be the reasons for your child not to be able to concentrate in school.

  • First of all, it is important to understand that the traditional school system is not easy to follow for every kid. While some have no problems following the rules, keeping quiet and studying when they have to, others feel completely lost and disoriented. The traditional school system does not take into account the fact that we are all different and that there are many different ways to learn. As a result, many kids have to deal with a lot of confusion and frustration. It might be the case for your child and this could explain why they have difficulties in school.
  • Even though we are lucky to receive an education while it’s not the case for kids of some countries, it is difficult not to feel obligated to go to school. Just take a second to remember: was going to school your favorite thing to do in the world? If you’re lucky, it might have been. But for most of us, it was not at all! If your child thinks of going to school like a constraint, chances are they do not put themselves in the best condition to learn properly.
  • Is your child shy? Do you know if they have friends in school? Do they have a hard time when it comes to talking in front of the other pupils to answer the teacher’s question? Shyness can have a great impact on your child’s academic performances. If your child has a low self-esteem or doesn’t know how to act with others, they probably don’t feel at ease in school, which impacts their abilities to concentrate.
  • The competitive spirit we have to deal with in school can be motivational for some students but very unsettling for the others. Students that have difficulties getting out with their studies can be very stressed out, especially when they are compared to other students by the teachers. 

How can I help my child with their self confidence, and how to help my child focus in school ?

First of all, it is crucial to empathize with your child. For your relationship to grow in a positive way, it is crucial to put yourself in their shoes. Try to set yourself aside when thinking of what could be the best for them, because what applied to you as a child does not necessarily apply to them today. Listen to them carefully, with full attention and love. Oftentimes, we do feel like we do not understand our children, but do we really listen to them? By not assuming that we already know what our children think, we might be able to uncover details of their personalities we had no idea of. That way, we have the right attitude to understand them and to help them better understand themselves.

Along these same lines, avoid humiliating your child because of poor academic performance. This would only result in damaging their self-esteem even more, and the communication you have with them. Instead, try having open conversations about their performance by showing your understanding and acceptance. To bond with your child, you could talk about the difficulties you encountered when you were in school and the way you overcame them. To be able to learn, we need to believe that we have the capacities to do so. Keep this notion in mind and put emphasis on your kid’s strengths, even if they are not related to school. Make them realize they have been able to learn something they master today, and make them become aware of the fact that they are smart enough to understand and learn whatever they want or need to.

What could really help a child focus in school would be understanding the way their own memory works. Most of the children have no clue of the way their memory works. As parents, we can help our children understand their memory type. To understand your child’s memory type, ask them questions to determine it, like the following :

  • What helps you memorize a lesson ?
    • The teacher has told personal stories related to the lesson (kinesthetic memory, linked with emotions)
    • I took notes and we had visual supports (visual memory)
    • The short explanations are the easiest to memorize for me (auditory memory)

How can meditation help my child with their studies?

Have you ever thought of using meditation for your kids and teens? As you might know, a growing number of schools have started introducing meditation into the kids’ daily school routines. There are very good reasons for that: meditation helps kids and teens to concentrate better, to develop their self-esteem, to feel calm and to feel good throughout the day. 

We strongly encourage you to do the same at home! If you don’t practice meditation yourself, this could be a very good occasion to start and to experience peaceful moments with your child, every day. We would suggest starting with very short meditation sessions. This way, it will feel doable and not too binding for both yourself and your child. Here is a list of improvements you can notice in a person’s attitude, thanks to meditation:

  • Better self-awareness,
  • Improved focus,
  • Improved memory,
  • Sense of calm,
  • Sense of self-control,
  • Improvements in relationships,
  • Improvements in communication,
  • And much more.

If you think this list of improvements is not directly related to improving school performances, look at it another way. Can you imagine having to learn new information with a sharp attention every day when feeling stressed out? Is it even possible to concentrate properly when you think you might fail and be judged by adults? By helping your child build their own personality with calmness and self control, you will give them the tools to understand their weaknesses and embrace their own strengths. That way, they will find their own balance by accepting who they are and, by extension, improve their relation to school.

So now, as usual, we would love hearing about your personal stories. Has your child had problems concentrating in school and how did you manage to help them? 

Translated by: Leslie Merle
Edited by: Angela Boltz

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