We all read about strategies which help our children in different realms. We often forget, however, that these same strategies are good for ourselves as well. This is no different when developing skills regarding concentration and focus. In fact, in this world of constant distraction, we would do well to heed our own advice to our kids.
The first element is sleep. Multiple studies over the years have pointed to the fact that a sleep deficit is associated with both short and long term consequences. In the short term, we see lack of concentration, lack of judgement, depressed mood, and inability to learn. In the long term, sleep deficits have been linked to chronic disease processes like diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.
The second component of better concentration is activity. Routine exercise for us, and energy expending activities for our children, not only result in better health, but also help our ability to focus. Make sure your children have several breaks during the day in order to get their pent up energy out.
Third, unplug. It’s not hard to understand the importance of this maneuver, but indeed it is hard to achieve, From an early age, children must see that their parents can unplug. Walking the walk in this regard, especially for the young adult, is essential. Demanding of your kids, and yourself, a time to shut down the devices, and read or listen to music, will help develop the ability to focus on tasks. This is indeed a skill, which is getting more and more important as technology advances and invades daily life.
Fourth, set up breaks during the longer tasks. This will make the task easier to achieve, as well as help develop a sense of finishing after a break. Additionally, breaks will help with concentration. Extending the time period between breaks as children become more advanced is a good strategy.
Finally, do one task at a time. This is important for the child, but perhaps even more important for yourself, as the age of “multi-tasking” is upon us. Consistently, studies show that although we think we are being productive while multi-tasking, we indeed are not. By confining ourselves to one task at a time, we are reinforcing the element of concentration, and a sense of being in the moment.