How to Improve Concentration Power and Memory?
Created by Carol Updated on Feb 14, 2020
“My child gets distracted very easily and is unable to pay attention to a single activity" is a common complaint from parents. But don’t stress as most child development experts also say that the average time a school-going child will be able to focus on one activity is approximately 4 times their age after which they need to change inactivity.
But then comes in the second question: “How children are able to focus for hours on video games and TV and not on studies.” We need to understand that when we have to listen to something we are familiar with or which interests us more, we are able to bring our focus on that subject and listen for longer, as one need not spend more energy. But when we have to focus on unfamiliar things, we need to spend more energy in understanding it, correlating it with other familiar things and retaining it in the memory. This can lead to an early onset of mental tiredness resulting in disinterest. It holds the same for children. Children are able to focus on storybooks or TV for a long time as these are more interesting and children only have less energy on these. Read on to find out how you can help improve your child’s concentration levels.
Why Do Children Lose Focus On Some Activities?
Before we begin with figuring out how to increase the concentration, let’s delve into the common reasons for a child to lose focus. Some are:
- Not Interested
- Academic struggle
- Anxiety and Stress
- Being overactive
How Can I Help My Child Concentrate?
The part of the brain that is responsible for concentration and memory is the frontal lobe of our brain. It is also responsible for thinking, reasoning, managing emotions, problem-solving and decision making. So the concentration skills can be improved by practicing some cognitive exercises regularly which can modify the existing brain cells. The exercises have more to do with the mechanism of how one learns, remembers things, solves the problem and pays attention. So, early intervention is always very effective. But it's never too late to help our children learn to focus.
Memory Games:Various types of memory games can be played with your children as part of cognitive exercises...
- Arrange about 10 of the toys or any household things in a line in a particular order
- Allow the child to observe for a couple of minutes
- The child may form mental imagery or use a mnemonics or any other way to remember the order
- Now shuffle the order and ask your child to arrange the toys in the same order
- For older children, use the order of books on a bookshelf. After they observe the order for a few minutes, without their knowledge either remove a book or change the order of the books. Let them find the right order
Name Chain Game:You can play with as many players as you want
- Let the first player say a name. The second player should say the name the first player said followed by a new name. The third player has to say the first 2 names in the same order followed by another new name
- So the game can go on for many rounds till one person makes a mistake in the order or the name
Follow the Leader:Play the game "Follow the leader" with a series of actions
- Let one of the players be the leader and the rest of the followers. The followers have to do the exact same thing the leader does and in the same order
- If the child has an ear for music, choose different utensils and things made of different materials such as iron, ceramic, glass, copper, plastic, leather
- Let the leader use a plastic mallet or a wooden stick to tap the materials (not necessarily on all the materials) in a certain order in a rhythm. Let the followers observe and tap them in the same order
- Another variation to making it more complex is to blindfold the follower and ask him to hear the sounds and identify the material and retain it in memory. Remove the blindfold and let him try to tap the correct material in the same order as the leader
Mix it up:Change the things around the house from the usual. For example, hang a photo upside down, put the cushion cover inside out, wear socks from 2 different pairs. Use your imagination to make the change and ask your child to identify the difference
- Place a few things on a tray. Let the child observe things. Now hide the tray. See how many things your child can recall. To make it a little more complex, remove a few items and replace them with some other items. See if your child can identify which items got replaced with the new items
I-Spy:Play I-spy with the clues that have minute details of the things in the house to make it really hard to find
Play with Yarn:Give a skein of yarn and a rubber ball or a small rectangular box. Let the child wrap the ball/box with the yarn so no part of the ball or the box is seen. A child will learn to pay attention to details
- Have 3 long strings of yarn of the same color. Put a knot at one of the ends of each string and mark them as A, B, and C.
- Tie any toy or a treat to the other end of one of the strings and leave the other 2 string ends free. Now entangle the strings through furniture such as dining table or chairs and hide the ends. Let the child trace the path of the strings to find which string has the ball/treat tied to it
- Another variation is to just entangle the strings and let the child untangle the strings. This activity helps the child to stay on task
- Finding the differences between 2 pictures, completing a maze, solving a picture puzzle, also help in improving the observation skills
Get artsy:Most of us don't give much importance to ART. Involving the child in different visual art forms helps the child focus better
- Craft, painting, drawing, sculpting help them focus as well as improve their creativity
- For example, let the child observe any bark of a tree in a closer view and draw a picture of the bark with every minute detail. For smaller children, describe any object with words for the child to draw the details
- Write a list of colors but use a different color pen for writing the color names. For example, write RED with BLUE ink, PURPLE with GREEN ink and so on. Let the child say the color of the ink for each word instead of reading the names of the color. Eyes see color but the brain instructs to read the word. Focusing on the ink instead of spelling is one of the good cognitive exercises to train the brain.
Number fun:Write a series of same numbers in multiple rows. In between the numbers write one or 2 different numbers. For example, write a series of 8 like 8888888888888 and include a similar looking number 3 in between. 8888888888888888883888888888888888. Let the child find out all the occurrences of 3. Similarly, you can make the child look for the number of occurrences of a particular alphabet in a sentence
Music:Children who enjoy music can try to focus on one particular instrument in a piece of music...
- This activity helps in learning to ignore the distraction from other instruments
- Singing harmony works the same way. Let one person start singing a song. The second person should start singing the same song when the first person is at the beginning of the second or the third line of the song. It is confusing in the beginning, but the child will learn to remove the other distractions and focus on his lines
- Enrolling your child in a school music band will help as they will be involved in playing ensembles where one has to focus on his instrumental rhythm and notes
- Other activities that help children to improve their concentration skills are yoga, meditation, music, and sports. These activities help in mind and body integration so a child who has lots of energy will learn self-control. Play a game of "Statue". By forcing oneself not to move helps in controlling the body and mind
Ways to Help Your Child Focus On Studies
Teaching Methodology:Identify the dominant learning style of a child so the teaching methods can be modified to create interest for the child. It's not the child who fails to understand the concepts. It's the methodology of teaching that fails to suit the child's need
Identify the Right Study Time:Some children can work better in the morning and some in the evening
- Ensure they are well fed and have a good sleep in the night. Figure out what time they are relaxed and refreshed
- Choose the appropriate time for homework. You may choose to break the homework into two slots--one in the morning and the other in the evening
- Once the suitable time is identified, follow a regular homework routine
A Study Corner:Identify a study spot that is suitable for the child. Some children like to do the home work in the dining table so they stay closer to an adult while working
- Control external Voices - If the child has a hard time to keep focused because of the external noise, use an ear muff or an earphone so they don't get distracted. Try some children can work better when soft melodious music is played at the background
- Avoid using excessive workbook exercises as they can become monotonous after a certain point. Replace the workbooks with different tools. For example, in math, manipulative tools such as Lego blocks, geometrical shaped wooden blocks, playing cards, coins can be used to teach Number sense, area, and perimeter, Arithmetic operations, or money respectively. Or use the self-made interactive notebook for learning science or social science
Be Involved:Stay close and get involved in a child's activities to keep them on task
- Some children may need reminders to focus on. So use a signal or a bell to remind them in order to make it less frustrating for you
- As they grow older and the situation improves, you can gradually move away from supervising to make them responsible for their learning
Small Work Chunks:
- Break the larger assignment into smaller parts and work on one part at a time
- Focusing on a smaller part at a time or moving back and forth between different subjects would also help in avoiding the boredom
- Allow them to take small breaks while moving from one task to another
- It is natural for children to get overwhelmed by seeing the large amount of wor
Expending Excess Energy:Some children are fidgety by nature that they find it too hard to sit and do a task for more than 5 minutes. Some part of the body is always moving. Even the softest noise can distract them. While doing a task, suddenly they come up with an irrelevant story, ask questions, ask for a break, the focus turns to something else and start doing something else. It can be very frustrating for the parents to constantly remind them to focus. But these children have a lot of energy and they want to expend it. If you find that it's too hard to break the habit, try using it in their study time. For example, if the child keeps asking questions, tell your child to pause for a while and think about all possible questions she can think of in that topic that she is going to learn. Or if a child likes to keep moving from place to place, make him run from one end to the other. Then ask him a question. Make it a game. He can move from the spot only after answering. After answering, make him run to another spot. He will be able to learn better as he gets to spend that extra energy
Avoid excessive screen time:Watching videos or playing video games makes the brain go into autopilot mode at a certain point. The brain in auto pilot mode becomes bored and the brain cells' abilities start to decline. Keep the brain active and curious by stretching the thinking skills. Avoid too much of screen time even if they are educational especially for children in primary school
- Avoid feeding too much information at a time, as it freezes the brain and decreases the capacity to make decisions, think clearly and creatively
Did you find this blog useful? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section!
1. understood.org › Focus and Concentration in Children - Understood.Org
2. nhsggc.org.uk › kids › Attention and Concentration - NHS GGC
| Feb 08, 2017
my son is five year of age going to kg 2 .one day I laugh on his comment he comes from his place and start beating me first I suppose that he is mischieving but when it heart me I protest when his mother also trying to make him understand that don't do such things with elders he slapped on her face. sir I also have 5 month son . suggest me what to do in such case
| Jul 07, 2018
My son is an adhd child who's in 4th grade.. It's always been a struggle for me to remind him to focus on his studies though he gets good grades but he is never interested in studies. But he can focus for hours while playing games, art n craft etc. I hope these tips gonna help me in making him focused.