Helping a Child Stay Focused in School: Tips for Parents

Children can lose focus for a variety of reasons, including lack of interest, understanding and motivation. Practice the following techniques at home to help your child increase his or her concentration at school.

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How to Increase Your Child's Concentration

Divide and Conquer

Some students struggle to process a large amount of work. It can be helpful if the assignment is divided into smaller, more manageable chunks. Practice this technique at home so that it becomes natural and your child can use it independently at school. For particularly long worksheets, cover up the bottom part with a blank piece of paper so your child will only focus on the top half of the assignment.

Making lists can also be an effective way to maintain focus throughout the day. Help your child make lists for homework or even for chores around the house. Organization may help him focus better because he only has to think about one activity at a time. At school, encourage your child to make lists for in-class activities. When the teacher is giving instructions, your child can write the steps on a piece of paper.

Appeal to Your Child's Interests

Children tend to become more focused on schoolwork if they find it interesting. If your child really likes animals, encourage her to write a story about getting a pet elephant. To connect it to science, you might help your child identify the anatomy of her pet or calculate the pet's speed.

Then, challenge your child to look for real-world connections throughout the day at school. Not only will this exercise help her focus on the lesson, but it will also encourage her to think broadly about what she's learning in school.

Take Notes

Students are forced to pay attention when they take notes because they need to figure out what to write down. If necessary, check each day to make sure notes were taken. You may also encourage your child to write down any questions or comments he has about the day's lesson. If, for instance, your child disagrees with something he heard or read that day, he should write it down on the margin of his notebook. This technique encourages both comprehension and critical thinking.


Be sure to communicate with your child's teacher so that you're aware of your child's performance at school. Keep the teacher updated about new techniques you're using at home. The teacher may even suggest new strategies to try out. Additionally, if you suspect that your child's inattention in school is caused by the students around her, then you could ask the teacher to rearrange the seating chart.

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