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Tips on how to develop children’s concentration

Through this fortnightly column, Sunaina Vohra helps you keep parenting sane and simple, and guides you to trust your intuition — because, no one knows your child like you do

Tabloid

It’s been just a week since schools have reopened and it feels as if the dust is beginning to settle. Parents are getting back into the morning rush routine and children into going to school, where they are confined in classes without a gadget, internet, TV or snack break.

The first few weeks of school can be a daunting task for children who, in the last two months, have become used to lazy mornings, watching endless TV, rummaging through the fridge and pantry, and being around parents and siblings. The most difficult task for them would be to sit still in class and focus on what the teacher is saying.

Someone once told me that anyone can meditate in the Himalayas as there are no distractions but to do the same in the real world is the real challenge. I agree to a certain extent but it always feels great to learn a skill in the right environment and then develop strategies to cope with the challenges.

In my coaching experience with children and parents, I have found that the most common issue kids face is the lack of focus and concentration. Given the external stimulus that constantly bombards them asking for their attention, the first thing to help your child in improving his concentration skills is to provide him with a distraction-free environment at home. To help your children to sit still and focus in class, it is a good idea for you to sit with them in the evenings while they do their homework. Keep an hour or two completely free of ringing phones or pinging messages. Your presence and calm behaviour will help to centre them. But if you are a very restless person then you would need to work on yourself first.

Discuss with your child the distractions he or she faces at school. As a parent, you must take daily updates from your child about his day at school or with friends. Is he sitting at a desk with other children who are distracted and would he want to move? Is there anything bothering him — such as a bully, feeling lonely, low self-confidence issues? If yes, then assure him that he can share his problems with you without hesitation. Help resolve problems without carrying them forward and causing him to zone out in class. Your child’s focus is also dependent on his emotional wellbeing and you need to tune into that regularly.

Lastly, if you as a family enjoy meditation then 10-15 minutes of meditation before bedtime can do wonders for developing the focus of your child.

This is an interactive column on parenting skills and child behaviour. If you have a query, write to tabloid@gulfnews.com

— Sunaina Vohra is a certified Youth and Family Life Coach at Athena Life Coaching in Dubai. For more information log on to athenalifecoaching.com or call 056-1399033.

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