NEA Parents' Resources

Turning a Lens on Focus

If you’ve ever struggled to keep your child focused and on-task at home, it’s not hard to imagine what your child’s educator goes through day in and day out.

However, when parents develop effective strategies at home to improve focus and comprehension, they set their children up for long-term success.

Here is some guidance to help your child better focus and concentrate in the classroom:

Make Expectations Clear

When expectations are set early on for homework, studying and learning, they will be easier to maintain. Explain to your child that everyone has responsibilities and work to do, and that this is their “job” right now.

Learn What Style Works for Them

Everyone learns differently, so finding the style that works best for your child is key to keeping them focused and well behaved. Are they a visual or auditory learner? Do they learn just by reading something or do they also need to write notes down? Are they a kinesthetic learner, requiring “touch” or physical material? Once you’ve figured out their learning style, you can help them by reinforcing content from the classroom in the way that best fits that style. You can also share this with their educator to set them up for success in the classroom.

Make a “Game Plan” With Their Educator

Establishing a strong partnership with your child’s educator is extremely important, especially when your child is having difficulties focusing in the classroom. Educators can serve as great resources for advice and suggestions. Begin by sharing some background on your child’s learning style, and develop a “game plan” together to ensure your child has the greatest chance of success in the classroom.

Establish a Routine

With all of the distractions available today, establishing a routine for things like homework, extracurriculars and studying will keep your child focused on the task at hand. Some children will need to take a few short breaks between assignments or one long break after school before starting their homework. Figure out what works best for your child and establish a routine that will keep them accountable and less likely to procrastinate.

Let Them Learn From Their Mistakes

School is about learning. Pick the right times to have “teaching moments,” but also know it is okay to stand back and give your child the freedom and space to figure things out for themselves. Giving your children the chance to fail and pick themselves up is important for their personal development.

Find a Non-Academic Outlet

Encourage your child to pursue something they enjoy outside of academics. This is not only important for their self-esteem, but it also has the potential to help them focus in school. Children that struggle with misbehaving in class benefit immensely from having an outlet for their energy instead of taking it out at school. Providing children the opportunity to explore extracurriculars will help them develop their own self-confidence and personal goals. Extracurriculars also make for a more well-rounded individual.

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