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Grandparents Teach, too

Help children focus on homework

Sabin, Davis, Hetrick, Anderegg, Macalady, Walker, Darling and Katers

Step one for helping children focus on school related tasks is to start with correct information. It helps to read everything the teacher sends home including textbook instruction, if needed, and the assignment book. Children may insist something absolutely must be done a certain way when it is not true.

Moving the body and the brain

Before doing a task, consider a study by Faber-Taylor. It shows that playing in a green setting helps children to focus and pay attention. Planning a little time outside in nature before sitting down to do something that requires focus helps concentrating, following directions, and completing tasks.

Take a little walk. Run around the house outside a few times. Ride a bike for ten minutes. Run, walk or jump around to help get the fidgets out and focus.

Turn off technology

You can turn off all screens and phones and place them by a family charging station. When older children insist they can multitask with music, often the moment you are out of the room they will play a game or talk to friends.

Before children tackle homework or anything else that takes concentration, turn off the noise of technology, unless technology is part of the the homework. If others are watching a screen or listening to music encourage ear phones or move to a quiet area to be far enough away from distraction. Studying regularly in the same quiet place next to an adult, with an adult on call, or checking often is a good family habit.

Make a List

Having homework and chores can overwhelm children. Help them focus on getting things done and done correctly. To avoid a melt-down make a list together and cross of the item when completed. Plan to finish projects days in advance and put that on the calendar.

Have some signals

To avoid conversations that get off the track, avoid conversations. Ask about the

day before homework. Children are masters of delay. Point or raise your hand slightly back to the work when they stray and praise them for working and getting things done.

Take Breathers

Homework can be exhausting. After working for 10 minutes or more depending upon the age and skill level stand up and take a drink located close by and then get back to work. Make the relaxing time short.

Develop Habits

Child psychologists suggest we create magic moments within our family as incentives to finish tasks. Little children like a bath and talking time with a parent. Older children can take a relaxing shower, washing their hair, having a snack, brushing teeth, and reading before lights out. Playing video games, watching videos, or texting friends turns on the brain again and interferes with a great sleep.

For more see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com and wnmufm.org/Learning Through the Seasons.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Grandparents Teach, Too is a non-profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. The writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers. Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan, the U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, Northern Michigan School of Education, the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum and the Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education.