In this post I will be going over how to teach kids concentration. Kids are especially prone to a lack of concentration due mainly to the fact that they are kids. They are still learning how the world works and everything is interesting. Kids also lack self-control, discipline, and patience. So, when something is not immediately interesting, it is easy for them to lose concentration. They have not yet learned about the long-term benefits of doing things that require prolonged bouts of concentration. Everything to kids needs to have instant gratification.
Concentration may be easier to understand than many of the other skills from this series. However, getting kids do it is a whole other story altogether. It is important to note that concentration and focus get interchanged frequently. I have separated them out and will talk exclusively about focus down the road. Some of the concepts will overlap but they are in fact different and warrant different posts.
As I outlined in Part 1 of this series, the 4 steps to teaching kids life skills are: define the word, discuss what the definition means, use examples, and discuss why it is important. If you need more detail on the process, please go back and read Part 1.
Let’s apply the process to concentration.
- Define the word/topic in words they understand
- Concentration means “The ability to focus your mind on only one thing.”
- During this step, simply have the kids repeat the definition after you 3-5 times. Do this 2-3 times during the week.
- Discuss what the definition means in more detail
- Focus your eyes: the first step to being able to focus your mind on something is to focus your eyes on it. If someone is speaking, be sure to look them in the eyes. If you are reading, writing, or doing math problems, as soon as you look away with your eyes, your mind will start to wander, and you will lose concentration.
- Limit distractions: some people have such incredible concentration that there can be an airplane taking off over their head and still not lose their focus. However, most of us do not have this exceptional ability and therefore need to make a conscience effort to limit distractions when needing to concentrate on something. Turn off the television when doing homework or reading. Don’t sit next to your best friend in school who likes to talk all the time when the teacher is giving important information. Put all toys and gadgets away when your parents are telling you something.
- During this step, have the kids repeat the definition after you 3-5 times then have a short discussion on the topics above. Do this 2-3 time during the week.
- Use examples in everyday life
- Example of concentration in karate: if you do not concentrate when doing karate, you may end up accidentally getting hurt or hurting someone else. If you are attempting to break a board with an elbow strike and you weren’t concentrating on the instructions from the teacher, when it is your turn you may end up getting hurt from doing it incorrectly.
- Example of concentration at school: it can be challenging to concentrate when at school since you are there all day and many of your friends are there. Let’s say it is the end of the day and the teacher is giving out a homework assignment that is due the next day. Your classmate next to you keeps talking to you and you lose your concentration on the teacher. You miss the assignment, get a bad grade, and get in trouble with your parents.
- Example of concentration at home: your mom is taking you to soccer practice. In the car you are glued to your tablet playing a game. She tells you that a different mom is going to be taking you home and you need to walk to her house which is right next to the practice field. You were glued to your game and weren’t concentrating on what she was saying. After practice, you wonder where your mom is. You end up getting scared and worried until you eventually figure it out when the other mom comes and gets you.
- During this step, have the kids repeat the definition after you 3-5 times then have a short discussion on the topics above. Feel free to replace the examples with ones of your own. Substitute a different activity for karate if they don’t practice karate. Be sure to ask them for an example first before providing yours. Do this 2-3 time during the week.
- Discuss why it is important
- Why is it important to have concentration? If you are unable to concentrate on something you won’t get important information. This could be safety instructions, so you don’t get hurt or things you need to learn from school in order to get smarter.
- During this step, briefly go over all steps 1-3 before going into this step. Be sure to ask the kids why they think it is important before providing them with the answer. Do this 2-3 times during the week.
Remember, it only takes less than 5 minutes, 2-3 times a week to go through these steps. Feel free to comment or contact me with questions.
Stay tuned for my next post which will be on how to teach kids self-discipline.