How To Help My Kid Focus In School

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Some of our subscribers have been asking, "How do I help my kid focus in school?"

Okay parents, this is a tricky one. First of all, you're probably not there in

school so you don't have a lot of control over what your kid is doing

there. I think we also need to make a distinction between the ability to focus

and the motivation to focus. Those are a little different thing. Let's talk about

ability first. Sometimes kids struggle with focus and attention in a way that

could be diagnosed as attention deficit disorder or attention deficit

hyperactivity disorder. You've probably heard of those. Maybe you're familiar

with those because of your own kid. There's some tricky issues when it comes

to the factors that contribute to ADD or ADHD. It's not our intent to get into

all of those in this video today. But even if that's what's going on with your

child, there are still some things that you can do to help them increase their

focus. I'm going to share 2 specific tips with you after we talked very

briefly about the control and maturity model. If you've browsed through many of

the videos here on the positive parenting playlist, you've probably

noticed that we talk a lot about control and maturity. Here's the quick version. As

kids become more mature they get to have more control and they're capable of

taking more control. But maturity is not just about age. In another video, we

talked about the 3 stages of moral development. One of the places you can

find that is in the teaching kids responsibility video that you'll find

here on the playlist. In that particular video, we made a distinction between age

and stage. Stage 1 is the least mature. This is where kids are very

self-centered, very selfish. They're demanding manipulative. They tend to

fight to get what they want instead of working something out appropriately. This

is all about stage 1. At stage 1, kids don't get to have a lot of control. When

we move to stage 2, we stop fighting and start cooperating. that's the

hallmark of stage 2. when kids are cooperating, they will negotiate. they're

open to communication. you can tell that we can do a lot more as a parent to

assist them to stay focused if they're on stage 2. Stage 3 is the highest of

these 3 stages characterized by responsibility and service and empathy

and the ability to really track and take care of what needs to happen. that's

called initiative. This is stage 3 and you can see it's stage 3 as a parent, you

can back off. You don't have to take much control because they are exercising the

maturity to do that themselves. It's important to understand those 3 stages

as we try to come up with some strategies of how to help our kids to

focus at school. So, that leads us to these two specific tips that I wanted to

share. And the first of these is called situational planning. Situational

planning is what every parent does very naturally when they know that a young

child is going to be in their home or if you've got one living in your home. You

baby-proof the place, right? Meaning you go around you take the

things that are low that are fragile and you put those up high or out of reach of

the child. You arrange things in the home to have an environment that is the least

likely to have a problem with that young child. The same thing can be done at

school. Now, you're going to need the assistance of the teacher to do this

because situational planning at school might mean that we're going to seat your

child up front rather than in the back of the room.

You might make sure that this child is seated between 2 classmates that are

least likely to disrupt him or distract him. You might have other arrangements

that you make with the teacher that basically set up an environment that

minimizes the chance that your child is going to be distracted or lose focus.

That's what we call situational planning. You can do this at home too. In terms of

the environment where your child is doing the homework or the assignments

from school. Do you just send them off to do their homework or do you sit them

down at the kitchen table that's well-lit and free from other

distractions like television, video games, electronic devices. You get the picture.

So, we're setting it up for success. Now, let's expand that tip into something

that's a little bit more general. So tip number 2 has to do with lifestyle and

practice. We can set up a culture within the home, within the family that supports

focusing at school, being mature, getting your work done, fill in the blanks with

whatever it is that you're trying to accomplish with your child. When I think

of this particular tip I remember what one of my college professors told me. He

said, "It's a pretty good idea to remember Grandma's rule." What is grandma's rule? I

didn't know of any particular rule that grandma had. He went on to explain.

"Grandma's rule is that you always work before you play." Now, this sounds simple

but think about how the culture of your own home can change if that is the rule.

Kids come home from school, they got some homework to get done, right? It's so

tempting to say, "Oh, let's just take a break. Let's just give it some time." And

there's nothing wrong with that, by the way. But it's sometimes harder to

come back to the school work than it is to come off of the energy of school and

just get it done right then. Plus they've had the transition time from school to

get it done. However you want to set this up is fine. Think work before play. Your

kids are going to be much more likely to focus on their school before they get

into things like video games or recreational activities. So take that

momentum and and let that build. And it's going to take some practice. Don't expect

your child to just click right into hyper focus mode. It takes a little while

for these changes to take hold and for you to get the culture and the

environment set up in a way that supports it. So be tolerant and patient

with yourself and with your child and you're going to get there. That's only 2

of several tips that we've shared here in other videos on the positive

parenting playlist. Go check that out. You also might want to go to Parenting where we have some other resources for you. We're happy to be on

your parenting team.