How To Help Your Child Avoid Distractions While Studying

Distractions are everywhere. No matter how enthusiastic or dedicated your child is about their studies, we live in a world that is designed to divert their attention elsewhere. Surrounded by television, video games and mobile phones, it can be almost impossible for a student today to give 100% of their attention to their homework or study. However, there are some things you can do to make it easier for your child to avoid distractions; check out my top 5 tips!

1. Establish Boundaries Between Work And Relaxation

One of the main reasons that students get so distracted, particularly when studying or doing homework, is that there is very little difference between the space in which they study and the space in which they relax. A lot of students try to study on the couch, in bed, and in front of the TV. It’s only natural that they find it hard to switch into the serious, focused mindset required for study. In order to ensure that your child avoids distractions, it is important that they have a dedicated study area that they use only for their studies. This will help them establish firmer boundaries between study time and relaxation time.

2. Make Their Free Time Count

Just as it’s important for your child to be entirely focused on their studies during study time, it’s also important that they are able to fully relax during their free time. The best students are those that work hard for a period of time and then allow themselves to put away their work, close their computer and fully enjoy their free time. These students are the ones that will work extra hard to get their work done on time, because they know that they won’t be thinking about it all once it comes time to relax.

3. Focus On Short Term Goals

It’s a simple fact that it is much easier to focus on short-term goals than on long-term goals. For example, if your child has two weeks to write a long essay, it is likely that they will be overwhelmed by the enormity of the task and find ways of distracting themselves until the last minute. If you asked them what they were working on, they would say “I’m working on my essay,” but this is vague and means nothing. Each night, your child should set a short-term goal that they can realistically achieve that night. If you ask them what they are working on, they should be able to say, “I am going through my books and making a list of important quotes to include in my essay” or “I am writing the first two paragraphs of my essay.” The more specific these short term goals are, the more likely it is that they will have to focus to get them done!

4. See To Their Basic Needs First

It is impossible to study effectively if you are hungry, thirsty of sleep deprived. The first step to ensuring that your child is able to focus effectively on their study is to make sure that they are well hydrated, well fed and have had a good night’s sleep the night before. Without these vital ingredients, your child’s brain will never be able to work at full capacity.

5. Set A Positive Example

Your child learns most of their qualities from you; you are the most important influence on their life. One of the best things you can do to help your child focus on their studies is demonstrate the ways in which you also focus on a similar task. For example, when I was young, my Mum would sit down at the dining room table with me while I did my homework and sort out all the bills, paperwork, and forms that she had to deal with that week. This set a positive example for me, and it made me feel like we were both working together to achieve our goals. And once we were both done, we could both relax and enjoy the rest of the night.

How To Raise An Active Reader

When it comes to enjoying a book with your child, there’s reading and there’s engaging. Reading simply involves reciting the words on the page and telling a story. Engaging, on the other hand, is what happens when you really get into a good book; it involves empathising with characters, predicting the outcome, examining the ideas presented, making connections to other experiences, questioning what you are reading, and exploring the imaginary world of the book. If you want your child to be an active and thoughtful reader, it is a good idea to teach them how to engage with a book from a young age. Here are 4 fun ways that you can help your child develop these skills next time you read together.

1. Ask Questions
Throughout the reading process, it is a great idea to ask your child questions and encourage them to ask questions about what is going on. These can be simple of asking your child to interpret what they have just heard “Why is this character sad?” You can also ask more complex questions which require your child to use their imagination, such as “What would you do if you were in this situation?” or “How do you think this story will end?” The more we ask questions about what we read, the more we engage with it.

2. Pick Characters
A fun way of engaging with stories is to assign a character to you and your child or children. This works especially well if you are reading to several children. You can ask your child to put on a voice and say what the character says, or even act out scenes from the story. This is also a great way of encouraging your child to use their imagination to empathise with the characters in the story. Taking on a character requires you to think about what they might be thinking and feeling, which requires young children to exercise their empathetic imagination.

3. Find Connections
Another great way to make the reading experience more meaningful for your child is to connect it to their own experiences. Ask them if they have ever been in a similar situation to the characters in the book. Ask them if a particular character reminds them of anyone that they know.

4. Be Creative
After reading a story with your child, your child’s imagination should be running wild. This is a great time to channel this energy into some form of creative project, whether it be an illustration, a model, a painting or a collage. The ability to respond creatively to a book is a fantastic skill for your child to learn, as it engages the higher level creative parts of their mind.

Active readers don’t just read with their eyes; they read with their minds, their imagination and their emotions. If you can raise your child to engage actively and creatively with what they are reading, then you have taught them an amazing skill that will give them a significant advantage throughout their life!

Why Learning And Fun Are Not Mutually Exclusive

For some strange reason, a lot of students, parents and even teachers have the idea in their head that learning isn’t fun. I have spoken to a lot of parents recently who are reluctant to start introducing their kids to educational skills before they go to school because they want their kids “to have fun and just be kids.” This is certainly a valid concern; it is important that the early years of a child’s life before school are carefree and fun. At this age, children develop through play and exploration, and it is vital that they do so in a low-pressure environment.

But why do we assume that having fun is somehow the opposite of learning? Why do so many parents assume that helping their child learn to read, write and do maths at a young age can’t be a fun, enjoyable and playful activity. While children certainly don’t enjoy completing repetitive activities, being lectured to, feeling confused or being put under pressure to achieve, all children love to learn new things. Think of how much children enjoy discovering new words when they are learning to talk, how much joy they get from meeting a new friend or learning a new game; this is because young children understand that learning is fun! Because of this, the years before your child starts school are the best possible time for you to build productive habits of learning together.

The most valuable thing you can do for your child before they begin school is to reinforce the idea that learning is fun; whether you are teaching them basic reading or writing skills, introducing them to mathematics or teaching them about the world around them, you should always remember that, for them, learning is, and always should be, an exciting experience of play and discovery. In our next blog post, we’ll give you 4 great ways of doing so!