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So your Child can Concentrate better while Learning

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First a little definition about concentration
In educational psychology, concentration is understood as a state that enables demanding cognitive performance. In the concentrated state, the energy and tension of the body are increased, and this leads to activation of the ARAS (Ascending Reticular Activating System). Lack of interest, distraction, too many stimuli, fatigue, feeling of fullness as well as mental and physical problems reduce the ability to concentrate.

Old known problem
Most people know the problem from their own experience: You're sitting at your desk, you should finally be studying, but you just can't manage to concentrate. You sit hour after hour and don't get much further. But in a focused state, the learning material would have landed in your memory in no time. To achieve this is the goal!

More concentration while learning
The first thing is to help the child to get over himself to learn first. Here you will find tips on how to increase motivation. Once the start is made, the so-called warm-up phase begins, which lasts for about ten minutes. After that, the concentrated learning can really start! To ensure that the focus is not lost or can come about at all, please observe the following tips.

Reduce distractions

The cell phone rings with a new WhatsApp message, or a TV is switched on in the next room, and concentration is already gone. Children then believe they could miss something important and their thoughts are no longer on the subject matter. This happens very easily, because our brain likes variety and stimuli, it constantly wants to be fed with something new. But it's clear as day that distraction has a very counterproductive effect on concentration.

Our easy distractibility goes even further: According to a meta-study by Kripa Sundar from Washington State University, even small interesting details or funny additions in the documents themselves can lead to less good learning. A joke or a funny little picture (also called "seductive detail" in technical jargon) is perceived as entertaining by learners, but if it doesn't fit the learning content, it draws too much attention away.[1]

So avoid potential sources of distraction.

Regular breaks

Depending on individual personality, five-minute breaks should be taken after 15 to 25 minutes of concentrated learning. Small breathers ideally with movement (standing up, stretching, walking around,...) do the brain good while learning!

Why do we need breaks?
Uninterrupted practicing or learning does not lead to the desired result. This is because the essential learning process takes place during the breaks that are taken. Researchers found that during the breaks the same activity patterns occur in the brain as during the practice itself - but at 20 times the speed and also more frequently![2]

Please make sure that your child takes breaks sufficiently often while studying and gets up from his or her desk and, in the best case, moves around.

Praise promotes concentration

Good feedback can increase children's attention span, and praise is one form of feedback. Children need feedback to help them recognize what is wanted and appreciated. Please note: Frequent reprimanding instead of praise has a negative effect, according to voices from the professional world![3]
Positive feedback additionally increases motivation. You can read about what to consider here.

Sufficient sleep

We all know this from our own experience: tiredness noticeably lowers the ability to concentrate. If your child suffers from a lack of sleep, he or she will probably prefer to lie down instead of learning. And good brain performance simply requires sufficient good quality sleep.

In addition, important learning processes take place in the brain while we sleep. During sleep, our most important organ reactivates, structures and consolidates what we have learned during the day. If sleep is too short or your child does not sleep well, this not only has a negative effect on the ability to concentrate, but also on memory!

Please make sure that your child gets enough good sleep.

Movement helps!

Sports are important for health, but also our brain can work better if we do enough physical activity.[4]
Ideally, sports are integrated into everyday life from an early age, because training supports concentration and willpower. And fit kids are demonstrably more attentive than couch potatoes!

Did you know that children concentrate better and block out distractions better after a more intense exercise session?[5]

Motivate your child to move!

Reduce psychological stress

If kids suffer from mental stress, it lowers their ability to concentrate. Support your offspring in dealing with stress and help them to process it well. If the trigger is discord between the two parents, argue with each other in a civilized and respectful manner in the future.

If self-esteem is too low ("I'm too stupid, it's all too much for me!" ), please help to strengthen self-confidence in a loving way. If bullying at school is the trigger, seek immediate discussion with the class teacher.

In conflict situations, it can be helpful if you maneuver your formulations in a more positive direction. For example, instead of "Don't yell!" you can say "Please talk to me at a normal volume!" to your child.

Please seek professional assistance if you are at a loss yourself!

Followed all tips, still no success?

In many cases, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is also a possible cause for the inability to concentrate. ADHD is a mental disorder and is diagnosed only by appropriate professionals.

If ADHD is an issue with your child, try using a monotonous "sound carpet" (via headphones) to increase concentration. This simply swallows other distracting sounds.

Researchers from Colorado (USA) report that meaningless noise at a volume of between 65 dB (room volume) and 80 dB (vacuum cleaner noise) can help children with ADHD in particular. An experiment showed that white noise played through headphones increased attention.
However, the research team also warns that the monotonous noise probably does more harm than good to children without ADHD.[6]

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