Baby Steps: Keep a Child’s Attention
Turning down the volume when you walk through the door and letting your children tear up what they haven’t seen on television for a while can lead to improved focus, increased focus and increased motivation. Taking the time to let your child “fidget” during class can actually be very beneficial to their learning abilities and could lead to better grades.
Believe it or not, letting your child “fidget” during class is absolutely fantastic for those with ADHD and good for children of all ages.
My 5-year-old son has ADHD and has come out of his shell a lot more since we started working together and telling him to “flip it!” The mood swings (and the instances when he’ll throw tantrums) are less frequent and more gradual; he’s learned that when he needs a break, he can flip pages at least occasionally, and therefore notice and focus on the page as well as the book.
Treats and specific toys have the same effect on the child’s ability to focus. A kid who can’t concentrate on her coloring book because it gets too hard will flip around, as will a kid who can’t concentrate on his back and arm exercises because it’s too hard to make out the beads.
Do an analysis to see how often you let your child “fidget” in class — it may end up happening every class. Letting your child go to the library with a pencil to flip pages instead of turning the volume up for an hour isn’t doing any favors for them. But instead, letting them “flip” pages in the school book could help them have a better focus on what they’re doing. It’s also a way to be more mindful of their attention, and allow them to look at the page rather than being distracted when they see the paper coming up.
Some kids will often have more energy than others when it comes to “fidgeting” because of their learning needs. For example, if your son is not doing well on a homework assignment, letting him flip pages will help him to think about the content, rather than flicking the pages, moving around, or walking around and leaving the page in a mess. Or, as a tool to help you focus on what you’re doing and make the correct choices when looking at the page.
For some children, “fidgeting” may result in a friend inviting them to go to the library to watch some DVDs instead of doing their homework. If they’re doing homework and tend to wander around a lot, this could be a positive and helpful change, but if it’s not working, they may have to “flip it” to practice finding the key that unlocks a puzzle.
As a whole, “fidgeting” during class can be done in many different ways, but it’s best to let your child focus on the book in front of them instead of flipping pages. Just like playing a video game on your computer with headphones or a joystick will help you pay attention in class, just like flipping pages will help you to be more focused and stay focused. Your child needs to “flip it” for his attention.
As a parent, try not to get too freaked out by your child “fidgeting” in class, it will give them the opportunity to focus on what they’re doing rather than fidgeting about anything else in their life. Many parents of young children have approached me to ask for help getting their children out of their room. I tell them, if they really want them to come out, they need to show them something that they need to get out of their room. If they don’t see the point, it won’t matter.
Don’t worry if your child’s ADHD skills are getting better, your child’s behavior needs will also improve, and the study habits will improve with confidence and a focus on the classwork. When your child is allowed to fidget, they can be more aware and focused on their subjects, because they are learning through playing.
The writer is a parent and the owner of EQ Fitness. More at www.ceqfitness.com