Developing a sharper focus is important in ensuring that we get our daily tasks done efficiently, and before a deadline. However, staying focused can be extremely challenging due to our short attention span. A study showed that we spend nearly 47% of our waking hours thinking about things that we shouldn’t be focusing on. Some students can easily stay focused for a long period of time while others may start to lose their attention in mere five minutes.
Your child’s math homework is due tomorrow. A physics exam looms on the horizon a week from now. They got thirsty and headed to the kitchen to get some water… and end up having a snack too. What’s on TV?
Two hours later, your child returned to their desk with no studying done.
Sounds familiar? Here are some tips you can share with your child to help them push through the inertia and jumpstart their focus for a more engaging learning process!
Optimize Your Body and Mind
When faced with a mountain of assignments, it may be appealing to power through them overnight with a strong dose of energy drinks. Resist the temptation, and give your body and mind a healthy 8-10 hours of sleep nightly to recuperate. If you’re unable to sleep because your mind is constantly racing from thoughts of schoolwork, consider putting aside time earlier in the day for physical activities, such as a long run or a good game of football with friends! Besides tiring you out enough for a good night’s rest, exercise also helps regulate chemicals in the brain that affect concentration, motivation, memory and mood. Now, having enough time for exercise might seem challenging when you’re desperately trying to get through your workload, which brings us to…
Break Your Materials Down Into Smaller Chunks
One reason why there never seems to be enough time to do anything besides study is the sheer volume of what your mind has to absorb. Much like eating, a healthy habit to cultivate when learning is to break down information to easily-digestible portions. Divide your chapters into multiple sub-chapters; use flashcards and illustrations to simplify huge chunks of words and numbers into pictures. Not only will you have an easier time remembering key learning points, you’ll also have more mental space to question what you’re studying and draw links to other spheres of knowledge, allowing for a more engaging and meaningful learning process.
Create a Study Space
Cultivating a space to study doesn’t just mean neatly arranging the stationery and stacks of paper on your desk! Have a word with your family and friends and tell them you’d appreciate not being disturbed for a set duration of time to dive deep and free into your notes. Switch off notifications on your laptop and phone so you won’t be yanked out of your study session by unwelcome vibrations or pings. Make sure you have everything you need within easy reach – snacks, water, you name it! You shouldn’t have to step out of your revision bubble once you’ve started. Additionally…
Get Rid of External Distractions
Distractions can come in many forms and they prevent a person from concentrating on their task at hand. More often, we would associate distractions with the use of mobile phones or other electronic gadgets. However, other external factors such as noise, physiological discomfort and fatigue can divert our attention away from what we need to focus on as well. Imagine studying in a room with an old ceiling fan that clicks every five seconds, or in a humid room where you just can’t stop sweating. It can be extremely difficult to focus due to the constant disruption of your thought process and the discomfort your body experiences. When revising, use a room that is free from noise pollution and ensure that it allows sufficient air to flow. Making use of a dehumidifier or opening up your windows will do the job too!
Simply sparing a few minutes everyday to practice meditation can help enhance our focus, allowing us to be attentive for a longer period of time. Meditation can help to reduce stress and anxiousness, helping to restore your calm. One of the most important features in mediation is focused attention. It helps to clear our mind from stress and worries, causing us to be more focused with the task at hand. Meditation may come easily for some, while others may find it challenging to maintain focus. Here are some easy ways to get started on meditation:
Focus on taking deep breath:
Take in deep and slow breaths. Concentrate on your breath and ensure that you are breathing at a constant pace. Listen to calming sounds such as the crackling of a fireplace and the ripples in the ocean while focusing on your breathing. This helps to divert your attention away from any form of distractions in your surroundings and solely focus on breathing.
Pay close attention to your various body parts:
Scan through different areas of your body and take note of any forms of pain or discomfort. Incorporate this exercise with the breathing exercise mentioned above. Imagine breathing relaxing breaths in and out of the various parts of your body to create more comfort.
Create a mantra:
Think of a phrase that you can repeat during meditation. Some examples are, “All is well”, “I am calm” and “I am happy”. Repetition of such matras provides us with positive reinforcement, and helps to lighten up our mood!
Staying focused can be challenging but not impossible! With a great amount of effort and dedication, your child will be able to develop sharper focus when it comes to studying. As the saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Reward your child with snacks or a few minutes of television time once they have completed what is required of them. This encourages them to stay focused on their tasks, keeping them going!
Want to learn more about your child and how you can support their learning? Feel free to reach out to us!