Does your child struggle to have the attention and focus sit still and listen? Is it hard for them to focus long enough to participate in group activities like circle time, crafts or sports? Has a teacher brought up your child's attention and focus as a problem? We have a few easy ways for you to build your child's focus and attention!
The research shows that attention is one of the most *important* skills that is linked to school and life success for the child (Jones et al., 2015). The good thing is that attention and focus are like muscles, the more you use them the stronger they get. So every time you do an activity on the Earlybird platform you will be building your child's attention and focus. Their ability to calm their body, focus and COMPLETE the task will be improving!
It will take time. You wouldn't expect to qualify for the Boston Marathon the first time you go out for a jog. There will be good days and bad days. But even if your child only focuses on an activity for a handful of minutes, you will still be building your child's attention and focus. So don't give up. Keep trying new activities!
Step 1: Pick high-interest activities
Consider what your child is into. The more interested they are, the more they will buy-in and engage. Do they love dinosaurs? Space? Animals? Are they interested in Letters? Numbers? Themed activities? We have activities for that. You may want to involve the child in the process of choosing. Scroll through the Earlybird platform with them, every activity has visual steps and examples that are sure to spark a child's interest and creativity.
Step 2: Start with a less structured, more exploratory activity
Everything on the Earlybird platform is play-based, and all of them will help build a child's attention and focus. But choosing more exploratory, interactive and high-engagement activities like one of our STEM challenges, games, play dough, or dramatic play activities will feel less like "school" or "work", and still build your child's focus and attention.
Step 3: Move onto more "school" style activities
Once the child is starting to build attention and focus with exploratory activities, move onto more traditional activities like any of our painting, coloring, sticker, tracing or scissor skill activities. These are the types of activities they will be expected to do, with a lot of attention and focus, in school. So getting practice listening to instructions, following along and completing these kinds of activities will set them up for success in school.
Step 4: Promote independent play with task bins
After your child is good at paying attention and focusing on adult-led activities, you want to build their independent focus and attentional skills. So once your child knows how to carry out these activities and knows how to use all the materials, you can store them in a child friendly place where they can come and get them all on their own. You can read more about setting up task bins in our article here.
Step 5: Consider using fun sensory tools to help them focus
All kids learn and develop on their own time and at their own pace. If your child continues to struggle with focus and attention you can always try out some sensory tools or strategies to help them out. Sometimes pausing a task to go for a walk or get a drink of water helps a child recenter and focus back in. You can also have them play with a fidget toy when they need to sit and listen or sit on a wobble cushion. Wobble stools can also help. Sometimes having a bounce band tied to the legs of the chair for them to bounce their legs on can really help them focus their mind. Kids don't need to have a diagnoses of ADD or ADHD to benefit from sensory and attention regulating strategies!Join Earlybird for all these easy, no prep activities that will keep your child busy AND learning.