How to Help a 10-Year-Old Focus
At 10 years old, your child is growing more independent and becoming more interested in developing and maintaining strong friendships. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that children between 9 and 11 will begin to have a longer attention span, but you may find that your 10-year-old's increased interest in socializing and other activities still makes it difficult for him to concentrate 1. You can act as your child's ally by helping him learn to focus and succeed academically.
Give your child some time for physical activity before homework or any other activity that requires concentration. GreatSchools calls this "getting the ya yas out," and says that the physical movement helps to stimulate the brain. Let your child participate in after-school sports, or give him time playing with friends or doing activity in the yard.
Offer a snack. When you're hungry or your blood sugar is low, it's probably hard for you to concentrate, also. A healthy snack can help your child focus on the task at hand 2. Make sure your child is not hungry or thirsty before she has to start to work. Also be sure that she is eating regularly throughout the day to avoid huge swings in blood sugar, which can affect mood and the ability to concentrate.
Provide a quiet place to do work. Distractions such as the television, cell phones and video games all can derail your child's concentration. Turn off all media in the room so that your child can focus on the task at hand. If your child is working on a computer, you can also use software to block certain websites, such as social media, or instant messaging while he works.
Allow your child to decide the order in which she will complete his work. Annie Fox, an author of parenting books who has a master's degree in education, says that your child may prefer to take care of the "harder" subjects first or to knock out the "easier" sections to check off some items quickly.
Provide breaks. Even adults need to step away from their work to give themselves a mental break before returning to it with new eyes and fresh energy. Annie Fox recommends giving kids a five- to seven-minute break for every 20 minutes of work. This will help them to decompress and re-energize before returning to their work. Use a timer if you find it helps your child.
Establish a consistent routine. School Family says that children thrive when they know what to expect each day. By setting a regular time for homework and other activities, your child can get in the right mindset for doing the work more easily since he knows it is coming and when it will be over.
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Middle Childhood (9-11 Years of Age)
- Great Schools: Five Ways to Help Your Child Focus
- School Family: Better Grades - 10 Ways You Can Help
- Annie Fox for Parents: School Problems: My 10-Year-Old Cannot Seem to Focus
- Oprah.com: Grab Their Attention: 11 Ways to Help Kids Get Focused and Stay Focused
- Ableimages/Digital Vision/Getty Images