How to Make Young Kids Pay Attention?
A lot of schools started online classes for kids recently to continue with the learning process even during the pandemic. Since it’s a relatively new way of learning for children (age group, 3-6 years old), parents are finding it difficult to make their young kids pay attention during the class.
What is attention exactly? The ability to concentrate on information at hand and carry on with the tasks with that given information is an easy way to define attention.
Sounds easy enough but the truth is young learners are a difficult bunch to keep engaged as they can be distracted easily. And though it sounds ambiguous, today’s modern technology is making it even more difficult because of the screen time it offers.
There is research that shows when parents make screen use an interactive, shared experience, it can become a tool for learning and the potential negative effects can be reduced.
A study conducted by the University of Washington suggested a proportionate association between watching TV and losing attention spans. So, it’s pretty obvious that the parents and the teachers alike all over the world are in a constant struggle to keep the young ones attentive.
In countries with both a high adoption of technology and emphasis on education like Singapore, some advanced tuition providers, such as SmileTutor, are taking steps to solve the attention span problem by taking different initiatives.
Here’s a fun video for you all – 7 Types of Parents during an Online Class
Now, let’s look at some ideas with which parents can make young kids pay attention during homeschool classes:
1- Breakfast is MUST
The reason I put the word ‘MUST’ in all caps is that it surely is the most important meal of the day. This works for everyone but more so for the kids. It’s a proven fact that kids who eat breakfast regularly are more attentive in the class. And, they can retain energy longer. Thus, the first thing as a parent, you must ensure that your kids are having nutritious breakfast every day.
You may also read – Tips to develop good eating habits in kids!
Now, if you really want your children to stay focussed during the class, don’t offer them anything to eat during the session. A strict No to munching! Use the break time between classes for snacking & drinking.
2- Exercise helps young kids stay focussed
It is incredibly important for kids to exercise daily and if possible, out in the open. Exercising outside not only helps in absorbing Vitamin D but can eliminate disconcerting thought-process too. If you are staying indoors due to the pandemic, at least encourage your kids to involve in indoor physical activities. You may plan a treasure hunt or an obstacle course for them. Or, just motivate them to do some yoga or dancing.
So, you have to ensure your kids get at least an hour of physical activity to boost their brain development. You don’t need to get a yearly subscription from your local gym for them. Frequent breaks for moving the body like a 10-minute run around the house or romping on the trampoline etc. will also do just fine as exercise.
3- Make Sleep A Priority
Even moderate sleep deprivation can impair cognitive and motor performance severely. Children aged 3-6 need about 11-13 hrs of sleep. And, not getting enough sleep can affect their mood, behaviour and ability to focus during the day. Just like good eating habits make sure your kids follow healthy sleep habits too.
Following a fixed routine helps a lot. Start the bedtime ritual 30 minutes before sleep time. If you want your child to sleep 10 hours from 9.30 pm to 7.30 am, start getting them ready by 9.
If your child is waking up cranky it’s a sign of inadequate sleep & no child would want to sit in front of a laptop in such a mood.
4- Classes for young kids should be fun
Well, we all know that young children have a short attention span & making them sit for the whole duration of the class is a big struggle. And that’s why teachers should try to make the lessons fun & engaging. Nemit’s class teacher follows an excellent way of teaching where after every 15-20 mins she interacts with the children. She makes sure that she speaks to each and every child before moving on with the lesson.
If you have any suggestions for the teacher, please go ahead & discuss that with her after the class. Also, please don’t be harsh on teachers, you have to remember that this is challenging for them as well & they are trying their best.
You may also try giving your child a break whenever you feel he’s losing focus or getting bored. A little bit stretching or jumping on the spot helps too.
5- Focus on play-based learning to make young kids pay attention
Now, I have seen the benefits of play-based learning since I have always followed this method at home. Maths & Language can be interesting if a fun element of play is added to the structure. When children are encouraged to use their creativity and imagination in learning, they pay more attention.
Children learn best when they are actively involved and feel as though they are a part of the process. Unlike the conventional method of being taught to, play-based activities make learning more visible.
If the maths lesson is going on, you may give beans or pebbles to the child for counting, addition & subtraction. For a phonics class, you may use music & sing rhymes for learning sounds. During a storytelling class, you may encourage the child to draw pictures of characters in the story. And, then narrate the story using those pictures.
Look out for creative ways to keep your child engaged during the class.
6- Rewards can make young children stay focussed
Appreciation has its own charm and kids love getting rewards. A simple hi-five or a hug can boost their spirit & confidence and encourage them to focus on the class. If they give a correct answer or sit attentively for some time, appreciate their efforts with any reward.
You have to be very patient, expecting a young child to sit in front of a laptop & take lessons is not practical at all. It will take a lot of effort and commitment from you as well. Be patient and keep encouraging your child.
7- Be there for your child, physically as well as mentally
As I mentioned about commitment in the above point, let me explain it a bit here. Most parents may think that all they have to do is sit with their children during the online class then definitely they got it all wrong. You may be sitting there but if your mind is somewhere else your mere presence will not serve any good purpose for your child.
One has to be completely involved with their child even if the teaching part is taken care of by the teacher. Parents, you have to ensure that the teaching gets converted into learning and in a way that works for your child.
One profoundly important factor here is you – your motivation, desire, and willingness to make the little jewels learn, will always work in your favour.
These are some ideas on how you can make young kids pay attention during a homeschool class. I hope you find these helpful. What are the struggles that you are facing during homeschool classes? Is there anything specific that is working for you & your child? Share your experience with me in the comments below.
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