Weak concentration in children: what parents can do?
This article is for parents who want to help their children focus better. Weakness of concentration is widespread today, not only among children. It is not uncommon for a child’s lack of concentration to become noticeable only at school.
They fidget, can not understand the learning material or remember little. They become aggressive or depressed – their lack of concentration becomes a problem.
If you really want to help your child to concentrate better, you should know what "concentration" is. The next step is to identify the cause of the lack of concentration. If the cause is known, methods and support can be found that are tailored to individual problems.
This article is about what concentration is, what possible causes and methods for weaknesses that you can use with your child. At the end of the article you will find a link to other guides, games and tests that will give you additional suggestions and help.
What is concentration?
Anyone concerned with the subject "lack of concentration" to deal with, should first understand what concentration is. Concentration means turning all of your attention to a person or thing. All other things or people are unimportant during this time. If I start to deal with other things / people (in thoughts or actually), I distract myself and I am not concentrating.
Be on the ball.
Get involved with something completely.
Put your thoughts on the leash.
The only important thing now is what I’m doing.
Causes of poor concentration
Weakness of concentration can have physical (organic) causes. B. a phosphate sensitivity. These causes are difficult for the layperson to recognize and solve. An example of a psychological cause would be ADHD (attention deficit – hyperkinetic disorder syndrome), which can manifest itself in the following manifestations:
- psychomotor agitation in the sense of "Clown and fax syndromes",
- speech disorders,
- Behavioral disorders: excessive anxiety, aggressiveness, depression,
- psychosomatic disorders such as sleep disorders, body colic.
In this article, I will not go into the causes that only a doctor or psychologist can identify and treat. If you are suspected, you should see a doctor or psychologist here.
But not every lack of concentration requires medical treatment. Much more often, the lack of concentration is a side effect of our behavior and habits. What I mean by that is described below .
Weakness of concentration due to overexcitation & Sensory overload
A common everyday situation (perhaps a little exaggerated) looks like this: music from the radio is playing in the background at dinner in front of the television. The father talks to the children and listens to his wife, who comments on an article in the daily newspaper.
What do you know after such a dinner?
- How did the dinner taste?
- Which program was on the television?
- What music was playing on the radio?
- What did the children tell??
- What did the spouse say about the newspaper article?
Such habits can lead to poor concentration. We do too much and only half of it. Advertising, television and radio encourage us to record as much as possible in a short time. Externally, it may look like one "normal" Look like everyday behavior – but we actually get used to it "a deaf ear". The sensory overload prevents us from being able to concentrate on anything.
We constantly learn to zap between many stimuli and learn to stay with ONE thing. Because people are creatures of habit that adapt to requirements, we develop a behavioral habit "to move from one thing to another". The stimuli rush past us without really touching us.
People who can no longer stay with one thing become restless, busy, nervous, tired quickly and thus lose their ability to concentrate. Weakness of concentration is therefore not only a problem for children who are overwhelmed by stimuli, who are wriggling in school and picking up the Gameboy after 10 minutes of homework.
Children learn from adults through imitation. When you grow up in a world that is characterized by overstimulation, we as parents train you to practice this lack of concentration.
The good news is: it is up to you to exchange bad habits for good habits – to create an environment that makes it easier for your children "difficulty concentrating" to unlearn and learn to concentrate again. What does that mean?
Concentration can be learned – start with yourself .
If the television is off, the radio is silent, there are no other people in the house and if we are not busy with anything, then we are alone – alone with ourselves.
But how long can you sit quietly in the armchair before you become restless? If you don’t do this and that quickly – do something useful quickly?
If you are driven by such an inner restlessness, you can be sure that this restlessness will spread to the children. It also creates the feeling of "restlessness" also physical tension, which can lead to tiredness, muscle tension, irritability or headache.
Here, techniques such as meditation can help you to harmonize mentally or stretching exercises that relieve tension. Because only when you feel comfortable in a calm and concentrated atmosphere can your child learn from you.
With "to be able to be alone" also means "to be at peace with yourself". Edith Piaf aptly expressed this in a chanson: "Not a regrette" – No, I have no regrets, neither the good that I have done nor the bad (freely translated). We can no longer change the past – it is as it is. Not a bad conscience changes that.
Concentration can not only be learned – it is also fun! If you forget the time in an exciting computer game or sink into a book, you will have fun again "to be full of one thing". Just do what you want to do – only do one thing at a time.
Everyone knows the changed sense of time when he is completely focused on something. Time either flies or has barely progressed. In contrast to absent-minded action, when we do concentrated work afterwards, we feel better, clearer, more successful and more alive. Anyone who experiences such a thing will no longer become a concentration "boring" or "exhausting" feel, but rather as "liberating" – a nice way to enjoy and feel good.
Children can enjoy concentration .
As they say: "The strenght is to be found in serenity". Concentrated people are calm – but not lame, but relaxed and powerful. In a quiet environment, a child learns to be calm and focused on its own. Even a one-year-old child can put Lego bricks together and take them apart for about an hour. If a child is often interrupted while playing, it gradually learns this skill. It gets used to dealing with shorter and shorter time units.
Get into a quiet lifestyle. Do something factually and consciously. Do not go in the ‘width’, i.e. H. many daily activities at the same time, but go deep. Refine your doing.
Listen more closely, taste better. Be more attentive – what you think, what you feel, how you move, or sit still.
Your child will thank you if you B. still know what it said five minutes ago. The world has a lot to give us if we take the time to notice it.
Concentration can be learned, but not enforceable – you cannot prescribe it. It doesn’t help to stand in front of the child and say: "Now finally concentrate!" We only create pressure to succeed, tension, impatience, mistakes. Concentration requires its own will and looseness. Children learn through imitation: radiate calm, create a calm atmosphere in which concentration can thrive.
Rediscover our world with your child, for your child: How many different shades of green can you differentiate in nature? What shapes do the petals of flowers have? Which objects do you recognize blindly by scanning? What sounds can you identify if you listen closely?
Train your perception skills with your child. Games like these are fun, and trained cognition is a prerequisite for learning to learn – the best poison for any lack of concentration. Those who only perceive superficially learn superficially. And superficially, many things are similar. Why should we learn something when there is nothing new to discover? We only learn with all our motivation, with all our commitment and enthusiasm if we know what we should learn something for.
Anyone who sees a meaning in an activity will merge with it. This also includes very general questions about your own values:
- How do I deal with people?
- I understand what someone else is saying?
- How do I treat animals or objects?
- Can I really care about someone or something?
"lack of concentration" often goes hand in hand with disinterest in the world or people. You lose touch with yourself, others and the world.
Because only who is a thing, an activity or a person for "valuable" holds, will make the effort to be on the ball. Make yourself aware of what you (and also your child) are for "valuable" hold. What makes you so happy that you (or the child) can indulge completely. There are also some "exercises", that can help you get started.
Against weakness in concentration: Listening as a concentration exercise
We can concentrate on everything if we learn to really dedicate ourselves to one thing. In order to increase our concentration, we do not need any complex exercises, we can start with what we do every day anyway.
If you want to talk, you should do this without distraction. No TV, no radio, no smartphone switched on – learn to do one thing, but fully.
Concentrate completely on the person you are talking to (be it the spouse who reports on his day, the neighbor who describes an experience or your child who wants to tell you something).
The less you allow yourself to be distracted, the more you will notice of the content of the conversation, of the expressive behavior (gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice, choice of words) and of your mood.
Listening also means silence – not an indifferent one, but an active one – an intense sympathy. Take your time – even if it is only 10 minutes – convey to your counterpart that you have time by calmly retaining your own statements. In this way, you become calmer yourself and can contribute your comments to the conversation. It is up to you to crank up or slow down a conversation.
Habits that encourage poor concentration
If you take the time to talk to your children, you should avoid some pitfalls that stifle a lively conversation. Because concentration requires interest and fun in something. Those who spoil the fun of their children need not be surprised if they do not concentrate. Examples for this are:
To know better – "I don’t know how to do this." "If you had paid more attention at school, you could solve the task." How do we know the solution to the problem immediately without having listened to the problem closely? Often a conversation partner comes up with the solution himself if he describes the problem in detail. And these solutions are always better than advice that we (or may not) take from others.
question – "How was your day today? Tell me, or do I have to pull everything out of your nose?" Such sentences express your own impatience, curiosity and thus the inability to put your own interest aside. Our counterpart has little chance of being fast enough to satisfy our curiosity. A ‘questioning’ also gives the impression that we are not concerned with the person we are talking to, but with ourselves.
irony – "Can I have a chocolate ball??" "Do you want to be so round that you can be bulleted??" Not everyone laughs at the same joke and sometimes we are the only ones who find such a remark funny. We often injure our counterpart. Irony – being able to laugh at yourself – requires a good dose of self-confidence. Not everyone has that in every situation and children are often lacking – they only gradually learn to become aware of themselves.
accusations – "Now don’t fidget around, sit still when you talk to me." Allegations often create the feeling of having failed because you did something wrong (which is usually the case). Many react to this with withdrawal (silence) or defiance. If we admonish or criticize too often, our counterparts become cautious, consider their statements three times or limit them. In the long run, an open conversation becomes impossible.
threats – "If you don’t tell me, then . " What happens next is diverse and uncomfortable. No matter whether a reward is withdrawn or we threaten bad feelings (". but then I’m sad"), we put pressure on our counterpart. We want the interlocutor to behave as we imagine, and do not take into account what he wants.
Many of these "Talk brakeman" we say because we cannot restrain ourselves or just start chattering. We speak of allegations and threats. B. much less often when we rest in ourselves and are interested in our conversation partner.
Behaviors that promote concentration
Knowing what we do Not to do is only half. We can also make a conversation interesting and make it easier for the child to focus on it with joy. Examples for this are:
Wait – Waiting means silence or just letting the topic rest. Everyone has phases in which they do not feel ready to talk. A few minutes later it’s different. A cup of cocoa, a walk, a pillow fight or something similar can change the mood. Especially when there is a somewhat uncomfortable topic, an activity that conveys to the other that you like him can encourage willingness to talk.
take seriously – Who does not have the need to be taken seriously – in all its worries, needs and desires? Children are no different from adults. However, we often behave the opposite way towards children. Your worries and needs are a bit far from us – we have completely different, much more "serious" concerns. But we don’t decide what worries our counterpart or what he wants, but our counterpart!
Paraphrase – "If I understand you correctly, you want . " (do you say / do you mean). Check what you understand, repeat what you understand in your own words. For one, you can use it to check whether you for real understood what your interlocutor meant. On the other hand, there are often situations in which someone simply wants to ‘talk about something from the soul’ and cannot take a position on the part of someone else. Once everything has been said that wanted to get out, your interlocutor is also open to your opinion.
Rate positive – Use negative reviews sparingly. Everyone has not only weaknesses, but also strengths. Highlight the strengths you know and appreciate and criticize weaknesses when it is really necessary. No one is good in everything – neither are we ourselves. We draw strength from our strengths, and we can be successful in this. We only need to iron out our weaknesses to such an extent that they do not hinder our success.
Perceive feelings – We generally don’t talk about feelings, although they accompany us every day and we would be a bit more similar to robots without feelings. We are more likely to talk about positive feelings, such as joy and enthusiasm. But we would not have these positive feelings if we did not also have the ‘bad’ feelings: sadness, fear, anger. Don’t talk away feelings, accept all feelings. Feelings are our driving force and feelings are changeable. Fighting against it helps little, it is possible to steer it. We can get to the bottom of fear (also with the help of others) and thus dissolve it. A cup of cocoa has worked wonders against sadness. Children in particular can switch quickly – just crying, they laugh again a minute later.
We can apply all of these ‘conversation stimulators’ to ourselves. If we take ourselves seriously, we also do it with our conversation partner – our children. If we perceive our feelings, we notice ourselves when we have a conversation "ready" are or prefer to do something different first, have the urge to tell something or want to listen in peace. You will find that a lively interest and joy in something helps you to concentrate on your own – "to let go of the lack of concentration".
Exercises to increase concentration
Although we can train our concentration through increased attention in all activities, there are also some exercises that directly aim at increasing concentration. The easiest way to learn this is through activities that are fun. If you can concentrate in principle, you only have to learn to apply this skill to tasks that are not fun for you. The fun can come when we delve into these tasks, fooling ourselves.
There are booklets with concentration exercises in many bookstores. Most children like to work with these notebooks. The visual skills, attention to details and logical thinking are trained.
These booklets contain concentration exercises of the type:
- two almost identical pictures, in which one should find differences
- maze tasks
- Patterns to continue painting and completing
- Mirror images with differences
- Paint by numbers
- "lies pictures", where many things are wrong
- Secret journals
- number puzzle
- recognize the same characters
If you are interested in the topic of concentration, you will find a whole section on Philognosie with many articles, tests and exercises -> see overview "concentration".
Prevent weaknesses in concentration: breaks are part of it!
If we sit too long on a task, we start to become unfocused. Each person can only fully concentrate on one thing for a certain time. Then he needs a break. If you sit on a task for too long, mix break activities with the actual work. So nothing is gained. They had neither a well-deserved break nor the sense of achievement that a task was completed.
Divide your tasks (or the children’s homework) into small portions. Take a short break after each unit. Stretch and stretch, go to the window and take a deep breath of fresh air. Do a few rounds in the room etc.
Experiment with how long you can concentrate in one go. Which break activity refreshes you or spurs you on to be focused and therefore quick? It may be that the times are very short at the beginning. It doesn’t matter. With regular practice, you can extend the times.
Good luck and above all have fun concentrating!
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