‘Why can’t you sit still and concentrate!!! … It’s simple, all you do is look at me and don’t talk’ …sound familiar?
This is often a rhetorical question asked by many parents and teachers. What if I told you that actually it is not a simple task and it involves a complex combination of skills and attributes. In order for a child to concentrate they need to attain visually (look), auditory (listen), maintain posture/balance and understand their body position (vestibular), and process information, whilst ignoring possible distractions, such as; passing cars, projector fans, and people entering the room. I don’t know about you, but I occasionally have difficulties with this as an adult, so imagine how difficult it must be for a child!!
The final aspect of concentration is memory…
‘I have asked you three times to put that toy away, you’re not paying attention!!… ‘I am, I forgot, I’m sorry’. This is often a phrase parents, teachers and therapists hear often, however it can be a genuine reason. The child may have difficulties with short term memory and forget what has been asked of them making the task near impossible.
Luckily for you, we have the solution 5 Fun ways to improve concentration and memory.
#1 Who say’s? … Simon say’s
Ok, so it can become tiring, tedious and annoying at times however it’s a fun game for children and an inexpensive game for us parents! What could be better, you may ask? Well let me tell you … Simon say’s isn’t only fun but it allows children to further develop and refine their concentration skills. During a quick 5 minute game of Simon say’s your giving your child the opportunity to develop looking and listening skills, whilst learning to focus on a task for a longer period of time.
#2 Colouring books and crayons
Colouring books and crayons… You may be thinking ‘You stated FUN ways to improve concentration’! However, colouring can be as fun as you would like it to be. Make it more challenging for your child by having colouring competitions or only colouring certain shapes… your imagination is the limit. This simple activity gives your child the opportunity to improve their sitting still skills in turn improving their concentration.
#3 where’s that sound?
Giving a child permission to run around the house without consequences … every child’s dream! All you need to do is play some quiet music on something small that you can hide i.e. mobile phone and ask the child to find the sound. This game is great as it build on the child’s ability to maintain focused on a task and further improves their listening skills… well for when they wish to use them ☺
#4 match the cards
All you need is a deck of playing cards, it’s that simple. The idea of this game is for the child to match 2 cards that are the same. By playing this fun game with your child you are helping them further develop their memory and attention skills. You can vary the task, making it easy or more difficult. You can make the task easier by reducing the amount of the cards you play with or you can make it harder by playing against the clock… the choice is yours.
#5 hide the peg
The title says it all really. Get a clothes peg and hide it somewhere in the room. Doing this will give your child the ability to refine their sense of movement skills (vestibular). Encourage your child to search high and low whilst crawling under tables and standing tall on their tip toes. This will improve your child’s concentration as they understand where their body is and will not need to seek extra input i.e. swinging on the chair or frequently standing up to walk around.
So there you have it …#5 FUN ways to improve concentration and memory, without breaking the bank!!
In completing all 5 of the above activities with your child, you are giving them an opportunity to refine the underlying components of concentration: looking, listening, sitting still, understanding information, maintaining balance/ movements, and remembering information.