How to Help Teens Learn to Focus
Focus is a key element in getting your teen to complete her chores, homework, studying and other important tasks. She faces a number of distractions, both at home and school -- everything from friends calling, to her favorite TV shows or video games, to that cute guy that sits two desks ahead of her in her English class. Helping your teen get organized and block out those distractions keeps her on track so she can focus on her priorities 1. You can offer her support and suggestions, but ultimately your teen needs to learn to focus for herself.
Encourage your teen to eat a balanced diet and go to bed at a regular time each night. A healthy diet keeps her satisfied and full of energy so she can focus better. If she has a full night of sleep, she is also better able to focus during the day.
Hold an organizational session with your teen to get her home and school life in order. When she has a way to keep her essentials organized, she is better able to focus on specific tasks instead of wasting time searching for the tools she needs. Set up organizational tools in her room, such as a bulletin board and file drawers. Teach her how to use a planner so she can track her homework assignments, tests, meetings, practices and games, depending on her activities.
Create a distraction-free zone in the home where your teen can complete tasks that need concentration, such as homework or planning an event for a group she heads. Keep the computer, TV and similar distracting devices in another area so she's not tempted to turn them on while she works.
Write out a routine or daily schedule with your teen so she can fit in all the tasks she needs to complete. Allot time to all of the tasks, working in breaks so she doesn't get bored and distracted or overwhelmed. Highlight time periods for tasks that require the most concentration, such as studying and homework.
Teach your teen to write daily to-do lists so she can prioritize her time. She can see exactly what she has to do and where she needs to focus her time. Help her use the daily schedule and her planner as a guide for writing the to-do list.
Talk to your teen about focus and the need to stick with a task until it is complete. Remind her if she sits down to do the work, she'll have more time later for activities of her choosing. Kids Health suggests teaching your teen to push distracting thoughts out of her head by reminding herself what she's supposed to be doing.
Suggest your teen take a short break for a few minutes if you notice she's having difficulty focusing. Getting up for a drink or doing a few exercise moves can help her refocus on the task she needs to complete.
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