There are a lot of stresses, strains and pressures in life, and these start quite shockingly early. Children are generally enrolled in school from four years old, and many start into the system at even younger ages, going to preschool and kindergarten or daycare to allow their parents to work.
The school environment is actually a very unnatural place for a child to be; they generally want to be running around, playing and having fun, and many can really struggle with the school environment where they are expected to sit still for long periods of time, concentrate on things and be polite, well behaved and quiet.
If your child struggles with this, you are not alone! A great many parents would love a solution to the cry of “my child has a hard time focusing in school!” Sadly, there is not an easy fox for this, nor is the problem down to just one issue – problems with concentration and their reasons differ from child to child.
Let’s have a look at some of the most common reasons, and their solutions:
Obviously, one of the biggest causes for lack of focus in the classroom has to be SEN issues, specifically ASD or ADHD. This causes children to be physically unable to sit and focus for long – or even short – periods of time.
You will need to get your child officially diagnosed, if you think this may be their problem, and then they can receive help and extra support to get them the education they deserve. Medication should be reserved only for very severe cases, as these medications have been shown to affect children later in life.
Lack of Practise
Whether it is your child’s first semester in school, or they are just coming back after the summer holidays, a lack of practise in the school environment can cause problems with focus. When they have never been used to a formal classroom environment, or have forgotten about it over the long break, they will need to be gently reminded of the expectations of the school room.
Not Enough Challenges
A child who is exceptionally bright, or who breezes through the work set the class, may not always be a teacher’s dream. These children can become bored very quickly, and when children get bored they tend to act out.
If you think this is your child, try getting the teacher to set a bit more work for one individual, or give them some extra educational challenges when they are home. If you think your child is far ahead of the class then you can, in some cases, work with the school to get them moved forward a year.
Too Many Challenges
…On the flip side, a child who is struggling with the work set – either the amount or the difficulty – may also start to become distracted because they don’t understand the work.
Again, you will need to work with your child’s teacher to either get them help and support in the form of a bit of extra tutoring, or find a private tutor who can help them at home.
In some cases, your child may benefit from being held back a year to allow them to develop more fully so they understand the work that is being set.
Not Enough Sleep
It’s not just parents who suffer from sleep deprivation! Without enough good quality, restful sleep, there is no way you can expect a child to function at his highest. 8-10 hours is recommended to help your child focus in the classroom.
A good diet also plays a huge role in effective learning. If a child comes to school hungry, he won’t be focused at all, no matter how hard he tries. A good breakfast is essential to start with, and remember that kids are growing all the time so healthy, nutritious snacks also need to be provided throughout the day.
Short Sightedness and Hearing Problems
Something as simple as not being able to see the board or the work in front of him, or hear the teacher’s instructions, can cause huge problems with focus in a child. Kids won’t automatically know that they should be able to see or hear better, so it is up to the parent to make sure they have regular sight and hearing checks, to rule out a medical cause for the lack of focus.
Even if your child is one of the many who struggle to maintain focus in a school environment and you are seeing failing grades because of it, don’t despair. There are plenty of avenues that you can check out to make sure there is no medical reason for their focus issues, and lots of things you can try to improve it.
If nothing works, comfort yourself with the fact that not everyone is meant to be academic – there is more to life than good exam grades! Chances are your struggling child will blossom into having a fulfilling career despite having issues at school.