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Improving attention span

FRIDAY, JANUARY 23, 2015 11:35 AM

Your children won't learn as much information as they could if they don't stay focused in class. While zoning out every once in a while is OK (and unavoidable), lacking focus consistently can result in poor grades, and with Common Core State Standards assessments coming up in the spring, your kids need to absorb as much information as they can. With that in mind, here are some tips and tricks for helping your children improve their attention spans:

Decrease distractions
While you can't control your children's environments at school, you can at home. As your kids study for tests and do homework, they need a quiet space that's free of distractions. For example, pick a spot in your home where they can do their work. It should not have a TV and must be away from high-traffic areas. That way, as you move about your home or have guests over, your kids will still be able to focus. Additionally, if your children tend to distract each other, you may need to separate them during homework and study time. 

Pick one task
Multitasking is unavoidable sometimes, but when it comes to schoolwork, your kids may have an easier time paying attention if they pick one task to do. For instance, instead of jumping back and forth between researching and writing, have your kids only conduct research. Once they have all their sources, then they can type the essay. If they're able to do a single task for a long period of time, your children will likely be able to pay attention for a whole class period.

Eat and drink
For many people, feelings of hunger or thirst can be distracting. When your kids sit in class and their stomachs start to rumble, their minds might wander to lunch rather than stay present. Help your kids maintain attention in class by ensuring they have a filling breakfast. Protein takes longer to break down, so a breakfast of yogurt or eggs will go further than cereal. Additionally, encourage them to carry water in class - most teachers don't mind when their students have a drink of water during the lesson. 

Discover learning styles
Everyone learns a bit differently, and your children can identify what helps them absorb information. Perhaps they learn better when they have visual aids or when they can apply the information in daily life. Even if their teachers don't target their learning styles, knowing them can help. For instance, students who learn through visual means can highlight important passages in reading or take notes using different colored pens.