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Building Concentration in Kids: How Teachers and Parents Can Use Small Rewards
By Jean Tracy, MSS
Well-rested kids concentrate and perform better in school than children who don't get enough sleep. If your child gets plenty of sleep, what more can you and his teachers do to build his concentration skills? A lot!
Avoid These 5 Distractions that Disturb Concentration
Distractions are like mosquitoes. They turn your child's attention away from his task. These detours require extra mental effort to refocus on an assignment. Here are some distractions to help your child avoid:
1. Noises that disturb
2. Phones that interrupt
3. Televisions that blast
4. Video games that sidetrack
5. Siblings who fight
Set up a quiet place for your children to study. A little background noise helps some children think. Experiment with your kids to find out. Set the time for studies at the same hour each day. Now let's consider using small rewards from the results of a study about doctors and diagnosis.
How Small Rewards Helped Doctors Do Better:
Research shows that a small piece of candy given before diagnosing symptoms helped Doctors make better decisions. They could eat the candy only after they studied the symptoms and made their diagnosis.
The study concluded that the candy motivated doctors to think more clearly, more creatively, and to correctly diagnose faster than doctors who weren't given the candy. What does this have to do with your kids? Plenty!
Small rewards promised but not given before a task is completed could motivate your child to concentrate during the task. These small motivators could also help him achieve a positive mind-set toward school and homework.
How Teachers Can Use Small Rewards to Build Your Child's Attention Span
Let's say your child received a less than good report card. The next day he takes the teacher aside and asks:
Child: How can I remember things better?
Teacher: What do you mean?
Child: I just can't concentrate.
Teacher: What do you mean by concentrate?
Child: I don't remember.
Teachers can help kids recall what they learned with little motivators. I remember my 4th grade teacher encouraging us with bookmarks, medals, and other trinkets. I'll never forget how exciting it felt memorizing, finishing projects, and completing tests just so I could receive a small prize.
Teachers can fill a treasure box with small incentives. If your child is having trouble paying attention, his teacher could tell him he'll get to choose a gift from the treasure box when he completes his assignment.
10 Samples of Small Rewards:
1. A written riddle or joke
2. A picture to color
3. A few stickers
4. A colorful pencil
5. A bookmark
6. Extra recess
7. Extra reading time
8. Extra computer time
9. A short classroom game
10. A classroom joke sharing time
When rewards are small, the results can be big. They give your child recognition for a job well done. They promote a positive mind-set for thinking well and completing projects. With better concentration skills your child's grades are likely to improve. Prizes become the fun motivators that help him concentrate.
10 Rewards You Can Use To Build Concentration Power in Your Kids:
Often use "First This, Then That". For example, "First complete your homework then you'll receive your bonus." The best rewards are time spent with you. Here are some examples:
1. Read a story at bedtime.
2. Play a card game.
3. Go for a walk and chat
4. Talk about her day with a cup of tea
5. Tell jokes
6. Write her a love letter
7. Tell your child 5 things that impress you about him.
8. Have a snack together
9. Tell her about the joy her birth meant to you.
10. Play a guessing game like, "I spy with my little eye."
Conclusion to How Small Rewards Help Build Concentration in Kids
To help children develop greater attention spans, make sure they get plenty of sleep and avoid distractions while studying. If you're a teacher, create small incentives that motivate your students.
Parents use "First This, Then That" formula. Make the promise of a reward before your child begins his task and give it after the task is completed. Remember you and your time are the best motivators.
Here's one extra suggestion. Discuss with your child what things she likes to do with you. Write them down and use them as rewards to build her concentration skills.
Jean Tracy, MSS invite you to sign up for her FREE Parenting Newsletter and receive:
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