The world is full of distractions. In the course of a typical blog writing session, I’ll pick up the paper and skim halfway through articles before returning attention to the computer, get a glass of water and realize that the ice trays need refilling, get caught up on the blogs I follow in an attempt to get ideas, and start listening in on a conversation in the hall… all while attempting to focus on something I actually enjoy doing. If I am balancing my checkbook, it’s amazing how many distractions I can manufacture for myself.

Homework is rarely an enjoyable activity, and it is important to monitor your child’s attention span/ frustration level and adjust homework time accordingly. Here are a few ideas to help keep your child focused and positively reinforce the work they get done.

  • Break times
    • Plan a five minute break at set intervals. This gives the student something to look forward to and structures the time spent on homework. One child may need a break every thirty minutes. Another child may need a break every hour.
    • Plan a break at the end of each subject of homework. This can give the child a definite goal and keep her focused on the subject until it is done.
    • Plan something fun at the very end of homework and encourage your child to keep the prize in mind while focusing on the work. These fun things don’t have to be expensive or involved. Playing a quick game, having family story time, or earning a “Get out of chores free” card can all be incentives.
  • Attention-getters
    • Play soft music in the room to block out extraneous sounds and help your child focus on the task at hand. Try not to pick songs with lyrics your child is likely to start singing with. Instrumental or nature sounds are usually best.
    • Make a special place at home designated the homework area. Come up with a fun-sounding title for it. Make this place a very quiet, non-distracting space, away from toys, the phone, or any other common distraction. The kitchen and bedroom both tend to be full of ways for your child to lose focus.

Coming soon: The White Flag – When Surrender really is the best option.

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