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Help! My Child has concentration difficulties. What can I do?

Updated: May 2, 2022

Has your child’s teacher complained that your child cannot:

  • Focus and concentrate

  • Is impulsive

  • Is disorganized

  • Cannot sit still

  • Doesn’t follow instructions

  • Is fidgety

  • Struggles with social skills

Rest assured, there are many children that have these difficulties, not only your child. In fact, most adults do as well ☺

The reasons for these challenges are endless and in order to address the root cause, an evaluation assessment with an Educational Psychologist is of utmost importance. This psycho-educational assessment provides an in depth overview of your holistic child. In order to provide a triangulated conclusion and recommendations, the following areas are assessed:

  • Cognitive ability (IQ) – this includes verbal and non-verbal abilities like language development, processing, memory, concentration levels and reasoning abilities, to name a few.

  • Perceptual ability – fine and gross motor development, organization and structure.

  • Academic ability – reading, spelling, writing, comprehension and maths.

  • Emotional assessment – Measuring the capability of individuals to recognise their own, and others’ emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and to manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments. Family and school environments are also assessed.

But what can be done at home?

  • It all starts in the morning… The start of our day provides the basis for the whole day to be built upon. Our mindset, emotional state and frame of mind are affected from the second we open our eyes. Having a good routine and structure in the morning provides a firm and safe basis to a positive day. Being rushed and late increases anxiety levels, resulting in frustration and feelings of being unsafe and unorganized. Wake everyone up 15 min earlier if needed, have breakfast together, follow the same routine every day as far as possible. One task at a time…

  • If our environments are chaotic and unorganised, our minds are as well and how can we focus? Having an organised home, room, bag and table leads to having an organized mind.

  • A busy school day and a busy afternoon, every day is not necessarily the best way. As parents, we want our kids to enjoy extra murals and experience life to the fullest. However, we sometimes fill their program up so much, that their minds cannot encapsulate all the information. This has an impact on their overall concentration, organization and holistic wellbeing and functioning. Select 1 or 2 extramural that your child enjoys and arrange a sensible schedule around school activities and homework. Make sure they have enough time for school work, activities and most of all: being a child – free play!

  • We all have strengths and challenges. We often expect our kids to perform on unrealistic levels, that we as children would not even have been able to meet. Be realistic about your child’s potential, strengths and challenges and motivate them positively to achieve their goals without unrealistic pressure. By applying negative or unrealistic pressure on our children, we elevate their anxiety levels, foster feelings of insecurity, unworthiness and not being good enough. Rather motivate them and provide support in areas that are challenging for them.

  • Life is so busy and rushed, we live past our family and friends. Quality time with our children provide a secure and positive attachment. Make more time for having fun with them, play with them and be a child again with them!

  • When we are stressed and overworked, we are in no state to balance a healthy lifestyle and provide a good example or be a positive role model to our children. Our children tap into and embody our emotions. When we are anxious, happy, calm, frustrated, angry or upset, they reflect and modulate these emotions and behaviours. They learn from us how to regulate their emotions and act on them. It all starts with you… Self-care as a parent is of utmost importance. When we are happy and healthy, we have positive relationships with our children, spouses, partners and friends. This provides our kids the basis of emotional regulation, relationship guidelines and attachment that they will base their whole life on. Giving them a balanced, calm and healthy environment and family life is the best gift you can ever give your child.

  • Love them, hug them, tell them you love them and love them some more!

Parenting is not for the faint hearted… But it sure is an amazingly magical privilege!

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