Distractions are very hard to escape in real life and even adults often struggle to keep focused. It’s even harder for teens because as adults, we already know the high price that’s paid when we get distracted, but they still have to learn that. Being on the crossroads between childhood and adulthood, they still lack the maturity and necessary skills. The situation is even harder with all the great, interesting things of modern life today that are fighting for our teens’ attention.
If you have a teen that is easily distracted and struggles to stay focused on studying and schoolwork, here are several tips that might help in tackling the issue.
Children always look at what their parents are doing and you are their first teachers so try to set a good example by doing your own things and chores focused and in a timely manner. Teach them the advantages of paying attention and focusing as it helps save time and achieve more. Give them examples from your own daily routine, both at home and work. Tell them to try it at school and see how deliberate focus in class can save them time in re-learning important points from their lessons.
Don’t forget to emphasise the consequences of not staying focused but try not to be condescending and help them make better choices. Encourage your kids to think about those consequences and tell you what they think will happen if their academic work isn’t completed. Then, you can together define strategies on how to avoid those consequences.
Having clearly set goals can be a great motivator and if your child is struggling to stay focused, they probably don’t even have them outlined. Help them with the goal-setting process by drawing a table with long-term, mid-term and short-term goals. This will help them also to define the steps in between that are necessary to accomplish each goal and with such a clear vision and perspective, they will be more able to stay focused and work towards achieving their goals.
Modern technology that includes smart phones, the Internet, TV and Play stations poses the biggest distractions to kids today. They can hardly resist the urge to constantly check their messages and online groups, but this can be tamed and controlled. Introduce the so-called tech breaks when they can freely go online and check their phones for only a limited time and then turn them to silent mode and focus on their work. Or, you can keep their phone and the computer in a separate room where they can only go during their tech breaks.
However, if you don’t have that other room and plus you have a larger, slightly noisier family, one solution could be getting a two-way radio headset which has the option of streaming audio so the user can listen to their favourite music while they study, or the noise cancelling option that filters out all background noise and allow no distractions. This might be a bit costly initially, but it will be well worth it if they prove to be effective.
As your child minimises the tech breaks and learns how to ward off distractions, they will be able to focus more on the studies. The point is to slowly lengthen the focus time so they learn how to stay focused for a longer period without getting distracted.
A designated study place is an important factor in eliminating distractions and improving focus as its very setup implies only work. Make it simple with no elaborate, distracting details, just fully stocked with work material such as papers, pens, pencils, books, folders and binders – anything that can help your kid get organised.
Moreover, allocate time in each day for studying and it should be the period when your kids are most mentally and physically fresh. Establish a regular routine and daily schedule and it will surely help your children settle into it.
During study time, teens tend to wander off thinking about chatting with their friends and planning the next outing. However, if you let them know that after their designated study time, they are free to see their friends and go out for a certain period, they’ll stop losing focus.
Another strategy is to try combining subjects they need to study as it often turns out that teens retain information better if they change the study matter every couple of hours. In this way with a few short breaks, they’ll be able to break the monotony and make progress.
When your teens start losing motivation, you need to jump in and help. Tell them that every problem can be solved and any goal can be achieved with the right mindset and strategy. Guide them with developing their organisational skills, teach them how to meditate, how to create their own affirmations and stay positive.
Eventually, your teen will be able to manage their own time and responsibilities, set goals, learn within their timetable and stay focused. Hopefully, tips listed here can help you help them do the job more efficiently and successfully.