How to Help Focus an 8-year-old

By Joanna Ehlers
Parents can provide support if a child is struggling and praise her achievements.
Parents can provide support if a child is struggling and praise her achievements.

An 8-year old is an independent problem-solver who knows the difference between right and wrong and is beginning to develop meaningful friendships. Though an 8-year old may be cooperative and can usually concentrate for longer periods of time than she did a year ago, there will be times when it's hard for her to focus. When children are struggling to focus at home or at school, parents can make a plan to help their child stay on task while encouraging independence.

Establish a routine, and stick to it. Parents can set up a regular study time built around the child's preferences, which could be before or after dinner, according to KidsHealth. When the child understands what is expected and when, she'll be more cooperative and prepared to focus.

Encourage breaks. When the child has been working for an extended period of time, taking a 10-minute break for some water or a snack will help her feel refreshed. Some children may require a physical activity break before or after their work is complete, according to the United Independent School District.

Reduce environmental noise when it's time to concentrate. A child's short attention span can be caused by excess noise or a flurry of activity nearby. A quiet environment will promote better concentration when an 8-year old needs to focus.

Maintain eye contact while giving directions, and have the child repeat them. Having the child put the instructions into his own words will affirm that he has heard -- and understands -- what is expected of him, according to the Fisher Price website.

Teach three simple steps for success: Getting organized, staying focused and getting the job done. Getting organized requires teaching the child to gather everything he needs for the task at hand before he begins his work. Staying focused includes saying "no" to distractions and sticking with the job. Step three, getting the job done, includes completing the task, checking over the work, and making sure that the work is located where it can be found the following day. KidsHealth asserts that, once children know these three steps and can follow them, they can get their chores or homework done almost independently.

Play memory games. The Empowering Parents website suggests utilizing a fun, quick game such as Memory or Simon to improve concentration habits. Repeated play exercises brain circuits, strengthens connections and improves overall brain function. Crossword puzzles and puzzle pictures can also help to extend a child's concentration abilities.

Enforce good sleep habits. Eight-year old children should get between 10 and 11 hours of sleep at night, according to KidsHealth. Lack of sleep can cause multiple problems, including a lack of concentration.

Warning

Poor academic performance can be an indicator of a learning disability, or could be a sign that the child is being bullied. Concerned parents should seek help from the child's doctor and the school.