Covid-19 Parenting survival kit part 1 (out of 8)
Updated: Mar 30
If this is how your current reality looks like, don't worry, we got your back ;)
Parent and Child Activities that Can Improve Attention, Focus, And Direction
Covid-19 has forced us to adapt to a new reality. With most of us staying at home with our kids, this is the perfect time to deepen our bonds and help nurture their abilities. But what can you do when your child is finding it hard to concentrate? There is no need to fall deep into worry, and unending questions like how do I get through that thick wall and get him or her to concentrate more!
It is expected for kids to experience varying levels of concentration. However, it doesn’t mean that you should sit back and allow nature to take its cause. Doing that can lead to your child battling with a long-lasting attention challenge, which can impair their academic exploits.
So, what do you do then? Instead of screaming your throat out and placing both you and your kid in an unhappy state, you can choose to utilize these fun and engaging methods to improve their attention, self-control, and ability to follow through with instructions.
Determine the cause of the problem
Before exploring the options we have for you, it is best to take a closer look at your child. What’s making him or her find it difficult to follow through with an activity? Is it finding the said activity boring after a few seconds into it or being compelled to do other things because they came into his or her line of sight?
Determining this is a great step towards arriving at your solution because it allows you to follow a fun activity that is tailored to his or her challenges. If you need help in that department, you can use app tools like GiantLeap to evaluate your kid’s brain, language, motor and social development right from the comfort of your home; no external assistance needed.
When Dealing with Attention Span
1. Try various board games
If the problem is getting bored too soon, then playing fun games like Cards, Candy Lands, and GoFish compels your kid to spend more time in the attention department, which builds their attention span in the long run.
Now, that doesn’t mean that your first few tries will be all fun and smooth sailing. But you can improve the outcome by deploying different strategies. First, you can begin by incorporating his or her preferred board games into your daily routine. While at it, if you have something exciting planned for later, you should inform them about it. That way, they will have something to look forward to. Also, whenever they are about to give up on the game, always remind them that they can stop playing once the game is finished!
Don’t forget to have a fun talk with them on their game difficulties to discover better ways to improve their attention and focus on the said task.
2. Get the creative wheel turning
A fun game you can incorporate into your daily schedule with your child is to act out a character in a story. If you plan on doing this before bedtime, you can pick up one of these stories your child adores and urge them to play out the story as their favorite character.
You can join in on the fun by selecting your own preferred character and urging your child through the story. This helps boost more than their attention, like their creativity and understanding of the concept of role-playing
3. Saying it can keep the mind on the job
You know how you keep reminding yourself of your schedule by voicing out, “what’s next?” That works for kids too! When you find out that your child finds it hard to follow through an instruction, it might just not be the time to go all ballistic on them. Instead, it might be the perfect time to turn that instruction into a fun voicing game.
Teach him or her to self-coach themselves into remembering and paying attention to the task at hand by voicing out their current task and what they are going to do next.
“I am fetching my toys!”
“What do I need to get them?”
“Go to the room!” “Now that I have them, what’s next?”
To enhance the impact, when your kid is watching, you can always voice out your adult tasks like cooking while doing them.
When it is Impulse
4. Play turn games!
Card games and other board games are great ways to teach your child to control his or her urges. During games like Chute and Ladder, restrain from the urge to make the spinner favorable in the time department or remove the cards that force the player to wait longer before playing.
Yes, that stresses their ability to hold on by fueling the urge to disregard that rule. However, making sure that they adapt to sticking to it ensures that their brain understands that there are times some impulses have to wait. At the same time, it builds the duration they can hold down these urges.
5. Let’s hold our breath!
If your kid’s impulse problem is that they can’t seem to sit still, then now might just be the right time to engage them in a freeze time fun game! How does that work?
You can come up with lots of fun variations, but the goal is to encourage your child to play or dance until you shout freeze! Now, they have to remain fixed in their current position for a said period. Success equals a reward! Remember to start small for the waiting period.
You can decide to go full story mode by playing characters that have to freeze at some point, or you can employ the services of a favorite tune, which you guys get to dance to until you suddenly pause it. When that happens, you will all have to wait in your various positions until the song vociferates again.
Sometimes the reason your lovely tot can’t focus their attention on one thing for long is that their coordination skills need improvement. By coordination, we mean matching action with an adequate reaction at the right time. For example, when you say: “Billy, go get me those blankets!” your tone and command should elicit an immediate response to either head right there and fetch em or respond in other ways.
It is the same skill you utilize when catching those keys tossed to you by either your partner or child and the good news is that they can be worked on in a fun and exciting way!
Here are some games you should try:
1. Tossing a balloon
sounds like a for-fun game, right? Yes, but more than that, this kind of game can improve your child’s ability to match actions with a proper reaction (coordination). By playing a balloon tossing game with your child, you get his brain to learn new ways to react to things and always to be ready for surprises. How? Start with a consistent speed. Toss the balloon to each other in different directions and angles. As he or she gets better at it, make it more challenging by tossing from an unpredictable angle, direction, and pace. This will help the brain strengthen its new coordination connections and prepare itself to react as expected to unprecedented actions.
2. Hitting the ball with a bat
Now, this can be a lot of fun and challenge. To begin, get yourself a bouncing ball like a tennis ball and a bat-like object for you and your kid. Start by encouraging him or her to consistently hit the ball up with his bat repeatedly for a time. As they perfect themselves, make the game more challenging by either urging them to increase the speed, tossing it between you and them or both. You can get yourself a metronome app on your favorite Appstore to better their chances of maintaining their speed.
Teaching your kid joggling allows them to improve on their hand and eye coordination alongside gaining and maintaining their pace. You can join in on the fun by joggling alongside them! Once your child has perfected his or her flow with two balls at various speeds, you can then introduce a third ball to make things more interesting.
4. Let’s create some music
— you might ask for real? But yea! Studies have shown that listening to music or learning to play a new musical instrument as a child can help in more ways than one! Firstly, it can help your little tot learn to coordinate their body movement with their mental processes. Secondly, it can aid them to increase their attention span, enhance their language development, self-expression, motor skills, sound discernment, and lots more.
So, depending on the age of your child, incorporating fun songs and rhymes as part of your home’s culture can be a great boost in their development. For infants, start with mild background songs. For toddlers, you can go with silly, repetitive songs like “this old man, he played five.”
5. Let’s put on our cooking hats
no, they are not gonna burn your gravy! But they will come out more developed in all their life core skills, which will help them in the classroom and society. Think about it. When your child sits with you in the kitchen with your favorite tune on and you are both shaking your heads to the tone while helping each other prepare dinner, your child will probably be sticking with you all through the exercise because it is new, fun, an adventure, and a chance to bond with you.
That means that your baby will be able to stretch their attention span far longer and resist the impulse to leave and do other things. You will probably tell them what to do, and they will follow through with it. While at it, they learn to hold things better, measure, read, calculate, understand a language, science, and become more self-confident.
Lack of attention or the ability to focus attention on the pressing task at hand shouldn’t spell doom. Instead, you should look at it as a precious opportunity to hang out more with your kid and explore more fun and educational games. With these fun activities, you should be able to not only widen your tot's attention span but help them control their impulses to focus their attention on the task at hand.
Lastly, share what you have learned with other parents (sharing is caring)