A concentrate. A tomato concentrate. Squeezed, tightly packed beautiful tomatoes. 300% tomatoes more than usual. To concentrate. To squeeze, tightly hold, the thoughts on a firm leash and walk them proudly out. 300% more effort than usual. Damn! Focus!
Nowadays, more and more kids are diagnosed with attention deficit, while surprisingly, those without an ADHD diagnosis face many similar problems. There is no need to panic if the problem affects a two-year-old because it is quite natural to gradually gain attention skills at that age. Moreover, it is much more difficult for younger kids to eliminate/ignore distractions in the form of different impulses. The colors, scents, sounds and even light can cause problems when giving attention to a particular activity. Parents are usually advised to support their distracted child and create a nondistracting environment in order to better prepare them for future school life. However, a six year old child should be able to focus on a single task for at least 20 minutes. If the span is significantly shorter, then a quick cause and solution analysis may hopefully be helpful.
1. SOUND, SCENT, LIGHT, COLOR – hypersensitive children may often have difficulties sustaining attention in tasks or play activities while surrounded by the overwhelming impulses. The easiest solution is to eliminate these bombarding distractions (move over to a room without noisy siblings, turn off the TV, stop using intense perfumes when working arm to arm, remove brightly colored things from the child’s eyesight, secure good light etc.). In order to win the battle with the unwanted impulses, parents should analyze the child’s working environment and create the most appealing environment for their small geniuses. Sometimes it’s about a wee change: sitting beside a child instead of walking to and from a kitchen, choosing the optimal place for a desk, pausing the washing machine.., plenty of details to consider and a bit of a Sherlock Holmes’s intuition job.
2. FATIGUE – we can hardly learn anything when our brains are overloaded. This is why a good rest should precede any intellectual effort that a child is about to undertake. Let them cool down after an exciting event, wild walk or long day at school. It also includes a computer and TV as such media quickly exhaust young brains due to the high frequency changes. Flashing pictures, mixed sounds and usually loud music are a huge challenge for the attention. No wonder kids are protesting when cut off and asked to shift the very same attention towards tasks that develop cognition and association. A jigsaw puzzle, counting or drawing are far less attractive than a previously watched cartoon. Effective learning, like any intellectual skills improvement, requires favorable conditions and a relaxed, sharp mind is essential here. Think about yourself and what helps you to focus. It might be a short nap, listening to relaxing music, a cup of coffee or some petty excuses like the urgent need to trim my nails that usually delays the moment while I know it’s high time to work. These all small moments are essential when recharging the brain.
3. ILLNESS, MALAISE – an unwell child must recover first before taking on anything else. The same applies to an upset or worried kid. Good physical health as much as mental well-being enable intellectual effort. Therefore a definite homework embargo should be prescribed in some cases by doctors. Can’t imagine how a coughing or feverish pupil does his schoolwork in order to achieve the best marks and thus satisfy an ambitious parent. It reminds me of an exceptionally good wine that mostly depends on the sun. We want only the best fruit to be transformed into a noble drink. Therefore, most desired are the grapes grown in the most favorable season. Healthy, relaxed and cheerful children can climb any educational mountain once supported by our parental cordage. Illness and malaise should be the base camps where the hikers take a rest.
4. INADEQUATE SUPPORT – if the act of supporting your child while learning at home makes you loosing your control or feeling irritated – leave and look for someone else to do it until you gain your calmness back. Tension obstructs effective memorizing and the only thing that a child is able to then remember is a sense of defeat. However, not every parent must be gifted with precious talents of creative and patient educator. There are many clever tips supporting this job. Take, for example, rewarding every task: you can try to motivate your child with points/tokens for each finished part. Let a kid count the tokens first, explain the rules and place these symbolic triggers in a visible place. Once collected, exchange them for a prize: a kiss, cookie, 30 minutes more with that addictive tablet or joint movie watching. We all like small accomplishments for our everyday efforts and we can reward ourselves too! A giant chocolate cookie for my child’s smooth support is what makes me happy.
5. FAILURE – well, it doesn’t always has to be perfect. Let our children make mistakes. Let them forget about a homework, an exercicse or any other duty. The world will not end and our parental authority will still be there. By allowing a child to fail we give them an incredibly important lesson about life, about being fair and why it is so good not to disappoint the others. Earlier the lesson gained, better for the future adult in our child.