Children with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have a harder time when it comes to concentration, especially when it comes to demanding tasks like school work. However, there are some things you can do as a homeschool parent to improve your learner’s focus with school-related tasks.
Below are our top three tips for better concentration:
Eliminate the Risk of Distraction During Lessons
One way to increase your learner’s focus is to eliminate any distractions within their learning space. If you notice your child tends to look out the window a lot when working, try drawing the shades. Keep them away from high-traffic areas, such as the front door of your house, so they don’t get distracted by someone coming home while they’re working. Also, make sure loose items are out of reach to minimize fidgeting. Even pencils can be a problem for distracted kids. Only make pencils visible and accessible it’s time to use them.
Some other ideas for eliminating distractions and interruptions during lessons: turn your phone on vibrate or lower the ringer volume, making sure your learner is well fed before a lesson, and allow them to dress in comfortable attire.
Learners who struggle with concentration aren’t just distracted by the outside world. They can also be distracted by their own thoughts and end up daydreaming. To help with this, try using regular check-ins to see if they’re paying attention, breaking tasks and lessons up into shorter periods of time, and playing music that is made to help with focus during assignments. Try teaching your learner some self-monitoring techniques so that they can recognize when they are getting distracted and get themselves back on task.
Use Engaging Activities
Making learning exciting is easier said than done, depending on your child’s age and attitude towards school. If you can succeed at this, though, you can drastically minimize your learner’s lack of concentration.
First, try using varying teaching methods for the same subjects. For example, if you normally use flash cards for vocabulary words, try using a vocabulary matching game or crossword puzzle instead. Then, change it up again for the following lesson. Incorporate surprises, mystery, humor, and events or topics that interest your learner.
For children who have trouble sitting still, building movement into lessons can also help. You can have your learner tap out the syllables to words, underline reading with colored pencils, take notes when you’re talking, draw pictures to illustrate vocabulary words, or use physical objects during math lessons to represent problems.
Master Motivating Your Child
Creating different avenues of motivation can help your learner be more inspired to improve their concentration on their own. One way to create that motivation is by building a sense of urgency. If your learner is asking to go outside and play but they have one worksheet to complete, motivate them to complete their work by giving them a set time when they can be done. When they can see how close the reward is, they are more likely to stay on task and get it done.
Give verbal praise when you notice your child trying to stay focused. Recognize their hard work by giving them extra time with their favorite activities outside of school commitments. Present them with homemade vouchers they can use to pick things they love, such as where the family goes for dinner or what to do on vacation some time in the near future.
Positive reinforcement equips your learner with the ability to keep themselves on task and contributes to their own intrinsic, rather than extrinsic, motivation.