Your child is oh-so-cute, smart, and absolutely bursting with potential! Now, if only everyone else could see it too. Lack of self-discipline and focus in a child has a way of masking any talent, gifts or academic ability they may possess. Unfortunately, it’s not cute, charming or doing your dear child any favors.
It’s a well known secret that most teachers value good classroom behavior over disruptive behavior from a child who constantly acts up, no matter how high the IQ. In fact, research studies support the premise that good ability to focus and self control are even more important predictors of academic success in school age children than IQ!
Ellen Gallinski, author of “Mind in the Making”, describes the four essential elements of focus and self control: focus, cognitive flexibility, working memory, and inhibitory control. She states that, focus and self-control are life skills because they are not only important for children while they are young but also throughout life.
The Characteristics of a Focused Child
A focused child:
- Is able to tune out distractions by concentrating and accomplishes goals by seeing them through to completion.
Example: A child who is able to sit quietly while engaged in a book from start to finish.
A child using cognitive flexibility:
- Is able to understand issues from different perspectives. They can shift their attention when confronted with a new situation.
Example: A four year old girl who is playing a game alone decides to alter her play to include her younger brother, who doesn’t understand all the rules.
A child exercising working memory:
- Retains information in their mind, while actively using it
Example: A child who is able to remember directions given by his parent, apply them in his day and follow them even while his parent is absent.
A child using inhibitory control:
- Is able to control impulsive behavior by responding in a way that is appropriate to a situation.
Example: A child who patiently waits his turn to play with a favorite toy at school, instead of just snatching it away.
How to Improve your Child’s Attentiveness
If your child has been struggling with the ability to focus, don’t panic! It is actually pretty common. Even better, the best way to help improve it is by having fun! Yes, Fun!
It was once quoted by famous french philosopher Michel de Montaigne that, “It should be noted that children at play are not playing about; their games should be seen as their most serious-minded activity.”
For children, PLAYING IS LEARNING! And parents can help make playtime as effective as possible by making it PURPOSEFUL.
Activities that Help improve Focus
“Simon Says” – An playful copy cat game where children follow the leader (Simon), if the leader does not say to do it, then there is a silly consequence of some sort. For added challenge, change directions in the middle of the game, have children do the opposite of what Simon has told them to do. This helps to strengthen inhibitory control and cognitive flexibility because it allows them to better cope with the unpredictable.
Musical Stopping Games – Musical Chairs, Hot Potato, or even just dancing. When the music stops, everybody freezes, sits or is caught red-handed with a “hot” potato (can also be a bean bag or other passable, hand sized object). These games help improve attentiveness and listening skills.
Repeating – Give your child a list of ordered tasks. “Jessica, I need you to go upstairs, brush your teeth, put on your pajamas, put your clothes away, bring your favorite book so that we can get ready for bed. Have them repeat after you before getting started. Make sure your child is eye level and making eye contact with you while they repeat the list and that your body language is calm and open. This way children are able to become more aware of their surroundings and their place in it.
Memory Games - Help build focus, a simple deck of cards can do the trick. Using cards that are the same and have been paired together, turn them over and have your child find matches. Also you can shuffle the deck, choose five cards and show them to your child. Ask them to remember which cards were chosen, shuffle the five cards back into the deck and have your child choose the five cards. For added difficulty, have them organize the cards in the order they were chosen.
Hidden Objects games – Improve a child’s ability to pay attention to details. It can be word search, I spy, Wheres Waldo books, Scavenger hunt. For children who aren’t yet reading, drawn pictures or photographs will do just fine.
Puzzles – They can be of the online or offline variety.
Tongue Twisters – Ever heard:
- “Six thick thistle sticks. Six thick thistles stick” (try saying that five times fast!)
- A good cook could cook as much cookies as a good cook who could cook cookies
- Purple Paper People, Purple Paper People, Purple Paper People
- Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
Tongue-twisters may be a little challenging to say but they are a jolly good time!
Cool Websites with Memory and Focus Activities:
PHOEBE OKALL | Nation Shiro Keziah Wachira during an interview at St Austin’s Academy in Nairobi on Thursday.
By CHRISTINE MUNGAI,
Shiro Keziah Wachira is extremely articulate, almost disarmingly so. She is only 16, but speaks like a person twice her age.
The first time one meets her, one is taken aback by her eloquent and coherent speech, devoid of redundancies like “umm”, “as in”, “like” and “yaani” that characterise a typical Kenyan teenager’s speech.
Our very first Photo Contest!
(Click the picture below)
MBC “Envision the Possibilities” Photo Contest Ages 0-10 years old
All images submitted must be the work of the individual submitting them. Entrants MUST be the parentl/legal guardian of the child submitted. False information, pictures and the like are grounds for immediate disqualification and will be blocked from our facebook page. Pictures MUST be recent. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook
Thank you, 'Jeopardy!' Teen Tournament, for introducing us to our new favorite game show contestant: Leonard Cooper.
In what has to be one of the most entertaining Final Jeopardy! moments ever, Leonard goes into the last question having just doubled his money by betting it all on a Daily Double. But just when we thought that was the most brazen thing we'd ever see on a Teen 'Jeopardy!' episode, Leonard handled the final "Military Men" category like a boss.
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You will also be able to find the lineart for each card in the “coloring pages” section of our blog. Coming soon!
WASHINGTON (AP) — Olympic gymnast Gabrielle is donating personal items to the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Douglas won Olympic gold at the age of 16 in the 2012 London games. She was the first African American woman to win gold in the individual all-around competition. The U.S. women's team also won gold.
The Virginia Beach, Va., native is giving the museum the leotard she wore during her first competitive season in 2003.