Dr Nahida M Mulla
Principal, A.M.Shaikh Homoeopathic Medical College & Hospital Belgaum 590010 Karnataka
Concentration involves the abilities to focus, screen out distractions, delay gratification, and regulate impulses and emotional responses. When a 5 year old is able to sit still in school, learn letters and numbers, and even acquire pre-reading skills, you think this is amazing, as the year before she was a “live wire”. At even the age of five a child can reflect on his own thinking.
The child also learns a command of language, can talk himself through tough situations, and doesn’t get frustrated and give up.
Now we have to be realistic and try to break down a child’s tasks so that they are within manageable limits. Say we ask them to pick up toys, then we ask them next to pick up clothes and also tell them where we want them to put the clothes. A child of five has a short attention span: we must remember this.
At the ages of 7-9, children’s ability to concentrate seems to take a leap forward because of continued brain development. Their short term memory and language skills improve and they are able to recall and organize steps in doing their tasks, such as coping and doing homework. They are able to sit also still while watching a play or movie.
At the ages of 9-12, concentration and brain development continue to progress. They also have achieved motivation. The child is able to work through a project, step by step. Now their concentration and motivation can also be related to sporting activities, etc.
To get our children to concentrate more, for example while studying; keep the radio and television off to relieve distractions. Then set some reasonable and clear time expectations for him to complete an activity, no matter what the task.
Make sure he gets plenty of sleep: when a child has not had enough rest the night before he tends to not have the concentration abilities he has when well rested. Also let him run around and get lots of exercise, this will increase blood flow to the brain and also stimulate hormonal responses that increase mental sharpness. You might also play games with your child such as Memory and Concentration; these games will reinforce attention skills.
Remember your child needs you to help manage his interests and to have him strike a healthy balance.