Does your child’s teacher often complain that your child doesn’t pay attention in class? That he/ she is very distracted and never completes tasks on time? Before you consider scolding your child, blaming the teacher or rushing to a psychologist, you should think about what you can do to help your child at home. Believe it or not, it’s often the smallest changes that can make a huge difference.

1. Give and you shall receive:

Often, children don’t get the attention they need at home causing them to act out in school and other public venues. If your child is always eager to tell you about their day or show you a new toy or trick they may have learned, stop what you’re doing for five minutes and give your child your full attention.

 

2. All work and no play:

Encourage your child to indulge in free play. And by play, we mean the good old-fashioned way. Avoid video games and other gadgets. Identify what interests your child and then try to monitor how long they can say engaged in that activity. It could be anything from building a Lego house to putting together a puzzle. Then, slowly try to increase the time they spend on the activity by giving them fun challenges like build a Lego airplane or maybe a slightly more complex puzzle. Remember, if it’s something that interests them, they are more likely to stay on task.

 

3. The horrors of homework:

Do you notice a change in your child’s attitude when it comes to finishing their homework? This is most likely because they find it hard and need assistance in understanding the task. Ins
tead of telling your child what to do and trying to verbally explain concepts, break it down to smaller steps. This method is called Scaffolding. Start from the basics and build your way up. Show them how to do it and then assist them while they attempt to do it themselves. Soon, your child will be able to do the tasks independently. Additionally, you could use small rewards as motivation for them to complete their work.

4. Early to bed:

Lack of sleep often results in a lack of attention. Children need more rest than we do as adults and sometimes, even the default 8 hours may not be enough. Try putting your kid to bed thirty minutes earlier than usual and you may notice a change. Also, bed time stories are another great way to improve attention. Encourage your child to listen as you read without any interruptions. Choose short stories and maybe spend two minutes after you finish to discuss the story with your child. This will give you an idea of how attentive your child had been.

 

Attention is the first cognitive skill a child needs to excel in school and in life. If a child is unable to focus, it affects his/ her ability to follow instructions and in turn makes them seem like they have poor memory. So don’t fret if your child is taking longer than you expected to change their behaviour. Make sure you appreciate their effort and always remember, it’s little things that make up the bigger picture.

If you have tried many of these suggestion (and maybe much much more), but are concerned, it would good to talk us regarding your child, please feel free to contact us on 03 9853 3656. You can write to us at info@stepstomiles.com.au or fill out our Contact Form and we will get in touch with you soon. If you want to determine what is causing your child’s difficulties, you can book a cognitive skills assessment with us. We have years of experience dealing with students struggling with attention issues and our program has already benefitted over 96,000 students’ world over by improving their cognitive skills and making learning easier for them- which is our true mission.  The program is non- academic and fun but at the same time challenging and has life long benefits.

 

Note:

Please note that the above article does not substitute any medical advice. Please consult your doctor or psychologist for a medical diagnosis.

 

Exams are fast-approaching and for most of us that means it’s time to retreat into our study caves, away from the world and make the most of the little time we have. The one thing however, that none of us can leave behind is our phone. Let’s be real, those things are crucial to the survival of our species. So, while it’s just us, our textbooks and our cellular sidekicks, why not make the most of them too?

Here are six awesome apps that can help you study better:

  1. Exam Countdown by ROOT38 Ltd

Before you start prepping, it’s important to have an idea of exactly how long you have before each exam so you can divide your time effectively between subjects. This app helps you do just that. Key in all your exam and submission dates and the app counts down for you right to the last second. Just the right amount of pressure you need to get a move on.

 

  1. Self-Control to Focus by WeHelp

So now you’re finally set to start. You have your timetable, textbooks, notes, coloured pens, a study playlist and your phone when suddenly, *tinnggg*- someone sent you a new snap. You HAVE to check that right? I mean, what if it’s important? WRONG. While our phones can be handy, they are often the biggest distraction. Enter SelfControl- an app that blocks other apps like Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat from sending you notifications for a fixed amount of time of your choosing. And once you’ve set it, it’s hard to get past.

 

  1. SimpleMind by ModelMaker Tools

Sometimes, when you’re faced with a lot of information, it’s hard to keep track of your ideas and thoughts as you go through it. You may feel like your brain is racing and you can’t keep up. Mind maps are an effective tool in such situations and here is an app to do just that. Create and personalize mind maps and spider diagrams and keep adding to them as you go. And suddenly, conquering that big chunk of text isn’t nearly as impossible as you thought.

 

  1. Photomath- Camera Calculator by Photomath, Inc.

This app is nothing short of a miracle. All you need to do is open your phone camera through the app, take a picture of the math problem that has you horrified and watch as the answer magically appears on your screen, with step-by-step instructions on how to solve the problem as well. This can be handy to check whether your answers are right after you’ve finished solving one on your own.

 

  1. Dragon Dictation by Nuance Communications

Here is an app that has been termed a “life-saver” by its users. This one is for when your hands begin to cramp from all the writing you’ve been doing. Just speak into your phone and the app instantly converts speech to text which you can then copy and paste into other applications as well. This app can also be used to send text messages, update your Facebook status etc. – especially useful when you’re driving.

 

  1. Flashcards with Cram by Cram, LLC.

You’re finally at the end of prep time and now it’s time to start revising what you’ve learnt so far. Going through all the notes and text again would take ages so instead, try flashcards. This app lets you create sets of flashcards for each topic and has different study modes based on your need, also great for studying on the go. So, if you’re on your way to school before your exams, and you realise that you’ve forgotten an entire topic, you could always “cram”.

 

Exams are often associated with stress and leads to students and parents feeling anxious. While some amount of pressure may enhance your performance, it may also adversely affect you in the long run. If you notice that you (or your child) are struggling to cope and getting anxious when it comes to learning, the problem may be slightly more complex than you anticipated. Often children and even adults who possess weak cognitive skills like poor attention or processing speed act out in other ways to avoid tasks that may be challenging for them.

Here at Steps to Miles, we provide training to strengthen cognitive skills. Our program is non- academic and fun but at the same time challenging and has life long benefits. If you would like to talk us regarding your child, please feel free to contact us on 03 9853 3656. Alternatively, you can write to us at info@stepstomiles.com.au or fill out our Contact Form and we will get in touch with you soon. If you want to determine what is causing your child’s difficulties, you can book a cognitive skills assessment with us. We have years of experience dealing with students struggling with attention issues and our program has already benefitted over 96,000 students’ world over by improving their cognitive skills and making learning easier for them- which is our true mission.

 

Note:

Please note that the above article does not substitute any medical advice. Please consult your doctor or psychologist for a medical diagnosis.

 

Four Questions I Am Often Asked About Attention Issues in Children

Parents often wonder if their child has difficulty paying attention. They wonder what is appropriate to expect and what should cause them to be concerned. They wonder what they can do to help their child in paying attention at home and school. Here, we discuss some frequently asked questions about attention issues in children.

  1. How can I know if my child has attention difficulties?? 

Most children are forgetful and inattentive at times – they become nervous, fidgety and somewhat impulsive. Attention issues are not the presence of these behaviors, but the degree to which it manifests.  Children with attention issues may show any/all of the following characteristics.

  1. Gets easily bored – loses interest in tasks quickly.
  2. Shifts between tasks without completing them.
  3. Finds it difficult to finish tasks that require longer to complete.AdobeStock_5137130-new
  4. Has difficulty following instructions
  5. Seems not to listen.
  6. Blurts out answers without thinking.
  7. Makes careless mistakes.
  8. Does not pay attention to detail and tends to miss information.
  9. Loses belongings often.
  10. Can’t seem to sit still.
  11. Can focus on tasks they enjoy- but not for repetitive tasks or tasks they consider boring (homework, chores etc.)
  12. Seem to day dream.
  13. Seem to “tune out” of conversations.
  14. Does things without thinking of the consequences.

Stressful situations, allergies, asthma, diabetes, hearing or vision problems, iron deficiencies, lead intoxication, medication side effects or thyroid problems can produce symptoms that mimic attention deficiencies, however – based on neurological evidence –  bad parenting, laziness, poor motivation, or low intelligence are never a cause.

 

  1. What are the consequences of attention issues if not addressed?

Attention issues usually come in various sizes.  They can range from mild issues to more severe issues such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Irrespective of the severity of attention issues- mild or severe, it has the potential to hamper learning abilities of an individual.

Young children with attention issues find it difficult to follow instructions such as “Stay in your seat, raise your hand, follow directions, you have 5 minutes to finish the task” etc.© 1997-2003 Stockbyte™ All rights reserved Contact: Stockbyte™ Freephone Ireland 1800 379 379 United Kingdom 0800 90 91 90 United States 1800 660 9262 Universal Freephone 00800 7862 2983 United States Phone 011 353 66 7149300 Fax 011 353 66 7180376 International Phone ++353 66 7149300 Fax ++353 66 7180376 Web http://www.stockbyte.com email info@stockbyte.com This image may only be used by a licensed user, it may not be reproduced without licensing the appropriate Stockbyte™ high resolution CD or image. License available at http://www.stockbyte.com. If you have any questions regarding the terms of the license, contact Stockbyte™ before use.

The situation worsens for older students with attention issues. They are often faced with large scale or long term projects requiring independence and self-direction, frequent class changes, new environments, change of teachers with contrasting rules and personalities etc.  Combine these factors with normal developmental changes, and the mix is especially problematic.

Attention deficit has serious implications. Some of the more serious long term consequences are: failure, dropout, depression, conduct disorders, unsuccessful relationships, workplace underachievement, and even substance abuse.

Symptoms of attention or learning deficits are often misunderstood for laziness, lack of motivation, or limited intelligence. Memorization is excessively difficult for students with attention issues. Many feel inadequate, avoid homework, need several reminders to get started and lose motivation through frustration – but they are neither dumb nor lazy.

They most likely lack specific cognitive strengths and strategies that make learning easier.

 

  1. Can my child’s attention skills be improved?? 

Yes!

As hard as it may seem to believe, attention skills CAN improve!

How?

The good news is that the brain is capable of change. Neuro-scientific research shows that attention is a cognitive skill-set that can be improved and developed. Neuroscience shows that—by targeting and stimulating the underactive region of the brain (prefrontal cortex) responsible for characteristics of inattention—attention can be strengthened.

Attention develops when a person performs a task requiring attention while exposed to structured distractors. This designed intensity and distraction is at the core of cognitive skills training aimed at improving attention.

Cognitive Training for Attention IssuesMany a times, the perceived solution to a child’s attention difficulties are “accommodations” like removing distractions, reducing workload, or isolating students into quiet areas. This may allow better performance temporarily, but it does nothing to develop the cognitive skill of attention, and does little to equip the child to face real life situations.

At Steps to Miles, we believe that children with attention difficulties deserve the opportunity to overcome their limitations. Appropriate cognitive training, not accommodation, creates that opportunity.

 

  1. What can I do to help my child?

Failing to pay attention, making careless errors, and having difficulty sustaining attention are the most common symptoms. Consequences of these symptoms on learning and academic/ vocational progress can be devastating.  Try these simple tips to improve attention skills:

      1. Diet:

dunkin-donuts-0006-1329673-1600x1200gummys-1326629Several studies have indicated that certain foods can have an impact on an individual’s attention skills.  Watch your child’s diet carefully to understand what triggers inattention
in your child. This will help you avoid these triggers especially at times when paying attention is important.

      2. Games:

Games are sometimes a great way to improve a child’s attention. Try some of the below games which may improve your child’s attention.Games to improve attention

    1. Statue: Count to a random number between 1 and 10. Ask your child
      to make funny faces, dance or do some silly actions. Stop abruptly and
      say Statue. At this time, your child has to freeze in whatever position he/ she is. You can either see how long they can go or set a time limit they need to reach in order to win.
    2. Table top games: Spot the difference, jigsaw puzzles, coloring or painting by number, crossword puzzles etc.

family-game-2-1309400-1920x1280random-letters-1457526-1599x1066

 

We understand that as a parent, it is heartbreaking to see you child struggle because of attention issues. If you would like to talk us regarding your child, please feel free to contact us on 03 9853 3656, write to us at info@stepstomiles.com.au or fill out our Contact Form and we will get in touch with you soon.

 

If you want to determine what is causing your child’s difficulties, you can book a cognitive skills assessment with us. We have years of experience dealing with students struggling with attention issues and our program has already benefitted over 96,000 students’ world over by improving their cognitive skills and making learning easier for them- which is our true mission.  The program is non- academic and fun but at the same time challenging and has life long benefits.

 

Note:

i) Please note that the above article does not substitute any medical advice. Please consult your doctor or psychologist for a medical diagnosis.

ii) The content of this article is based on research by LearningRx (parent company of BrainRx). Please visit learningrx.com for more information on the research.