Concentration is the ability to direct one’s attention in accordance with one’s will. It is simply the mental process of focusing your mind on a single thought or task.5
The cerebral cortex is the part of the brain that is associated with our memory, thought, attention, awareness, and consciousness.1 This is also, where concentration comes into play.1 Some consider concentration a way of branding our brains to recall things and assist our memory.1
Hence, attention plays a role in helping your child to learn and develop different skill sets in life.
Why attention is important in a child’s learning towards future success?
A child learns better when they have good attention skills. This ability is the foundation for the skills needed to plan and problem-solve, understand other’s intentions, emotions, desires or beliefs, interpret behavior and regulate social interactions. The regulation of attention is essential for a child’s learning disposition and habits, such as persistence, curiosity and confidence.2
Children with good concentration can usually focus to complete the tasks that are assigned to them. For instance, they can play with one item at a time before playing with other toys or focus in finishing their homework before doing other things.
In today’s fast paced lifestyle, children tend to get distracted by their surrounding environment which may reduce concentration and create roadblocks in better learning for your child4. Hence, parents should instill good attention skills in their child from young.
Children who are well trained in planning and managing their own task will be more discipline and responsible in the future. They should be able to focus and identify the times they need to study, play and take a rest.
Here are a few recommended activities that you can carry out with your children to help develop their attention skills:
Recommended activities for children 1 year and above.
Regulate your child through daily tasks
Assign a task that is suitable for your child’s age to develop their attention skills in getting the task completed. In this case, you can assign them with a task to eat by themselves, wear their own clothes, keep their own toys etc. Once they have completed the tasks, praise them for a job well done. If they did not manage to complete the task properly, encourage them and supervise them until it is finish or lend them a helping hand in completing the task.
Construction of building blocks
The child may improve his attention and focus when playing with building blocks as they need to ensure that the building blocks are stacked properly to ensure that it doesn’t fall down. Praise your child when he does a good job and encourage him when he encounters difficulty while playing.
Create a peaceful atmosphere in the house
A peaceful surrounding may help the child to build better concentration compared to a noisy house.
Turn off the television (TV), computer and smart phone
Television, computer and smart phones are distractions for your child when you are trying to get them to pay attention and focus. Some parents may mistakenly believe that their children are good at concentrating if their children can sit and stare at the TV, computer, smart phone for a long time. However, what they do not know is that their child is actually captivated by the fast-moving colors and images shown on the devices, hence reducing their attention span.
Play one thing at a time
Parents should not allow their child to play with too many things at a time as the child may get too excited and easily distracted. The child may not be able to properly pay attention or appreciate the toy and get learnings from it. Instead, they can’t wait to play with other toys because there are so many options.
Jigsaw puzzles allow your child to learn how to focus when putting the pieces together as they need to observe and pay attention to details of the image in order to figure out the matching pieces. Let them look at the overall image of the puzzle and observe the details of image to identify the combination of patterns, colors and the shape. This will help strengthen their attention as well as aid the child in using the available information related to the image to put the puzzles together successfully.