With all the changes in education due to the pandemic, even children without ADHD seem to be struggling with focus. There are quite a few ways to help increase your child’s focus without medication. There’s no perfect formula, but here are some tried-and-true tricks you can use to increase your child’s focus. Or maybe yours, too!
There is an app for kids called Stop Breathe Think that will make meditation and mindfulness easy and fun for them. This will help them focus, learn to breathe, and even regulate their emotions.
One Thing at a Time
Break big tasks into smaller ones can help them focus because they won’t have to use brainpower to break the task into tinier ones. Like instead of saying, “Go to bed,” try, “Go get your toothbrush then come back,” or “Go put toothpaste on your brush then come back.” Things that take a shorter amount of time give your child less time to become unfocused or distracted.
Make it a Race
Be playful with them. Give them that dose of adrenalin to keep them focused. Try “See if you can get your shoes before I count to ten! Ready! Go!”
Be Okay with Reminders
This is probably the hardest one for us parents. Yes, we want them to be independent, but it’s not the end-all and be-all. They need to have something to help them stay focused. Try visual reminders like checklists on paper or pictures with velcro that they can move as they complete each task. You can move them from verbal reminders to non-verbal reminders. For instance, tap your forehead each time you remind them to focus and eventually just use the sign.Be okay with reminders with your kids who have trouble focusing. Click To Tweet
Provide Proprioceptive Input
Proprioceptive refers to the sensory system that tells us how much pressure is being applied to our body. You can increase input with compression clothing, weighted vests or blankets, or “heavy” work.
Use Essential Oils
Essential oils are a powerful way to support the nervous system. Peppermint is known for increasing mental acuity and Lemon is the official oil of focus. Try diffusing them in the room where you do schoolwork or homework.
There are a lot of these out there, but I am a big fan of fish oil for kids. You can also use Vitamin B12 or Magnesium which will give them clarity and energy. For other ways to supplement for ADHD, check Google or with your local naturopath.
Feed and Hydrate
We want our kids’ bodies to be at their absolute best when we’re asking them to focus. We want their body to have all the micronutrients, all the things they need to be successful. Make sure to take regular breaks to fuel them with food rich in protein, good fats, and help them stay hydrated.
Distractions come in any form. Provide them with accommodations like noise-canceling headphones or prepare a place in your house that is free from all visual distractions to help them focus.
Use Binaural Beats
The idea behind binaural beats is that you play two tones with slightly different frequencies into each ear (through headphones, ideally), and your brain perceives it as a single sound. Depending on the frequencies used, it’s said that this can change your mental state. Check your app store for free binaural beats apps.
Create Consistent Routines
We want to help our kids to create and rely on muscle memory for the routine things they need to do. While it may not matter if you brush your teeth or put your pajamas on first, create a structured bedtime routine that goes in the same order every night. Eventually, your child’s muscle memory will help them get all the bedtime tasks done with minimal cognitive effort.
Provide High Interest
When kids are interested in something, they are more likely to stay focused. I bet your child focuses more when playing a video game or playing a game with friends compared to the focus you get during math homework. Try to gamify mundane tasks to keep your child’s brain engaged.