Boosting your child's concentration skills

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Your guide to the special needs that can cause concentration difficulties and tips to help your child focus.
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What affects concentration skills?

Some children and adults have difficulties with their concentration skills. There are many factors which may affect the ability to concentrate. They include:

  • Age – generally younger children find it harder to concentrate than older children and adults
  • Motivation and interest – if we are interested in what we are doing then we are more likely to concentrate for a longer period
  • Personal circumstances – if we are preoccupied with something happening in our personal life we will find it harder to concentrate on specific tasks
  • Understanding – if we understand our task, we can focus for longer
  • Our surroundings – the conditions around us can affect our ability to concentrate
  • Health – our diets, sleeping patterns, and general health can all affect our concentration skills

Conditions that affect concentration

Alongside these factors, there are also conditions that can affect the ability to concentrate. Often children with learning difficulties will find they concentrate for shorter periods of time than their classmates. Conditions that can affect concentration include:

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
Many children with ADHD have been described as suffering from ‘inattentiveness'. This can refer to a short attention span, over-frequent changes of activity, and being easily distracted.

Autism
As with autistic adults, autistic children often focus on a particular area which interests them; it can therefore often be difficult to stimulate their attention in other areas.

Learning difficulties such as dyslexia and dyscalculia
Children with learning difficulties may experience a lack of understanding which can hamper their motivation to concentrate. If the child is not given the correct support and provision, they can feel excluded from the learning and therefore will become distracted or frustrated.

Boosting concentration skills: how you can help

  • Make a note of the times your child finds it difficult to concentrate and explore any reasons which may be affecting this
  • Be realistic – don't expect your child to concentrate for too long
  • Help to stimulate your child's motivation by tapping into their interests
  • Try some concentration games and exercises
  • Give plenty of praise! You could even offer little rewards for good concentration, but remember not to go overboard with this as it could be distracting in itself!