Being able to focus helps increase productivity, reduce stress, and helps you produce a better quality of work. When you are able to pay attention to just the task at hand, you’re able to dedicate your whole self to whatever it is you’re doing. Cultivating mindfulness makes it easier to ignore distractions and helps you stay focused on what’s important.
Ways to Help
Kids are funny. They jump around from time to time, buzzing between this shiny toy and that smooth rock, but when they really focus on something, sometimes it’s hard to get them to notice anything else. Encourage that sense of focus. Try some of the following to cultivate your mind.
1. Give Them Quiet Time.
Give them a chance to sit still and breathe. Young kids can usually concentrate for up to 20 minutes on any given task; give them a chance to do so. Set aside a time every day for quiet independent time.
Here are some creative ideas:
- Meditation. A kid-friendly meditation is to count your breaths. Whether you’re lying down or sitting up, have your child rest their hand on their belly. Count the inhales and the exhales together, then fall silent as you continue counting in your head.
- Age-appropriate puzzles, like sudoku for older kids and jumbo knob puzzles for smaller kids.
- Arts and crafts. Paint, draw, doodle, sculpt. Take this time to quietly create.
Remove distractions. Turn off the TV and music, and make it standardly accepted that this time of the day is for quiet. You don’t have to be silent, but avoid hyperactive conversations or play.
2. Do One Thing at a Time.
There was a time when multitasking was a prized skill; we’ve since learned that it can’t exist, we’re just constantly switching back and forth between tasks. Focusing on just one task at a time will produce better outcomes. Just do one thing at a time.
3. Break Apart Larger Tasks
Large tasks have a tendency to overwhelm anybody, and when we’re overwhelmed, it’s hard to focus. Cut tasks like chores up into one-liners, small things that your child can adhere to step-by-step. Instead of “clean your room”, try “please put away your toys”, then “please put away all of your clothes”, then “please make your bed”.
4. Be in the Moment
We can all get distracted by our thoughts, and kids are just as susceptible to “internal stimuli”. They can get distracted by physical sensations or funny memories. Imagination is amazing, but we also want to encourage the ability to concentrate.
Try fun games like “I spy.” Listen to a song and pick apart the lyrics together. Do some exercise and talk about how it feels while you’re doing it. When you’re eating a snack, observe together how it tastes, smells, and feels.
Being able to focus is an important life skill. Cultivating mindfulness is a key element of productivity and stress relief. It helps them to learn, which builds their self-confidence and positive self-image.