Part 1 of this series identified frustration parents of tweens experience in discerning the developmental and academic changes kids experience in upper-elementary and middle school. In addition to the five strategies mentioned in the first article, here are five more tips to keep in mind when assessing the needs of a child who lacks concentration.
- Get rid of hand-held devices, TV, video-games, tablets or phones during the activity the child’s trying to complete. When doing homework, keep these distractions far from the workspace.
- Limit time on hand-held devices, TV and video games. Personal discipline and concentration isn’t being developed as a life skill when kids are bombarded by electronic media and stimuli. This article by Chris Rowan explains more.
- Work with your child’s teacher so you can both use similar strategies in the classroom and at home to help your child develop concentration and organizational skills for middle school and high school.
- Don’t say your child has ADHD if they haven’t been clinically diagnosed. ADHD is a real mental health condition, not a pop-culture term. Unless your child is clinically labeled ADHD, don’t use the term loosely. Instead, acknowledge the struggles they’re having with concentration and organization and work with them to develop new skills.
- Don’t rule out boredom for their inability to stay focused on their school work. If your child is bored, you may want to consider whether a high ability placement in your child’s school is appropriate. However, if they are easily disinterested and disengaged in tasks because they’re bored, ask yourself – Is your child use to sitting still through activities they don’t like? Do they complete work they’re not interested in? If the answers to those questions are “no,” consider adding these tasks to the “to do” list for their development of concentration and completion of tasks they’re uninterested in.
There are many things parents can do help a child develop concentration and organizational skills. If you’ve tried these or other suggested strategies and believe your child has more issues that aren’t defined by their developmental stage, talk to your school counselor or psychologist about rating scales for ADHD or see your family doctor to rule out a clinical ADHD diagnosis. Either way, don’t ignore their difficulties, but help them develop their confidenc by teaching them skills they may not naturally have at this age.
What has helped you identify attention deficits in yourself or your child? What has been helpful – what hasn’t been helpful? We’d love to hear your story.
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