Teaching Kids How to Ignore Distractions

By Kathryn Hatter
Staying on task often requires ignoring distractions.
Staying on task often requires ignoring distractions.

Life is full of distractions, but there are times when full concentration is important. Whether your child is listening to a teacher, working on homework or focusing on another activity, the ability to ignore distractions will make her more productive and successful. Provide helpful pointers for ignoring distractions so your child learns how to focus effectively.

Physical Body Adjustments

Making physical adjustments in the way a child holds his body or sits in a chair can increase concentration and help him avoid distractions, according to the Montgomery County Public School website. Tell your youngster to look away from or keep himself from looking at a distraction, turn his body away or even get up and walk away from a distracting situation. Mention that your child might also decide to ask an adult to help him with a distracting situation.


Engaging with a distracting person will only fuel the distraction, but your youngster can focus on positive self-talk to overcome distractions, instead. Teach your child a simple message she can repeat to herself to help her focus. She might say, “I’m not going to look,” “Eyes on my paper” or “I will keep working.” After your child finishes her work, if she kept at it without being distracted, she should pat herself on the back and tell herself, “I did it!”

Breaking Up Work Time

As you teach a youngster how to ignore distractions, don’t set him up for failure by expecting too much. Kids in the primary grades should be able to work for 10-minute increments successfully to begin, states website of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario. As a child masters working for short periods, gradually increase the work time. After working for a short time, give your little one a short five-minute break. Giving breaks between short work periods helps increase a child’s capacity for focused work without distractions.

Reinforcing Skills

Set up a system that will reinforce ignoring distractions, advises a publication provided by Salem Public Schools. Give your youngster a chart or a notecard and encourage her to give herself a smiley face or a sticker every time she stays on task and resists giving in to distractions. After she earns a specific number of smiley faces or stickers, reward her with a small prize. Working toward a small prize can help hone and reinforce concentration skills.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.