Teaching Your Kids to Work Smarter Not Harder During Exams

How to Improve Concentration.
When it is here, we do not notice it at all, but when it eludes us it seems so hard to get it back. Concentration,that intangible element that we need so much when we’re learning. And it can be so elusive that merely thinking about it can chase it away!

Here are some tips that can help your kids improve their concentration when studying:
1. Plan study time out into sections with scheduled (short) breaks. Older kids and teens could start at 20 minutes and build up until they can concentrate fully for an hour. Young children may need to start with 5 or 10 minute bursts of study.

2. Teach your kids to have specific goals for each section of study time, whether to read a certain chapter, or create or review notes up to a specific point. Reaching a goal is motivating and helps us to focus on what we are doing, and when your child exceeds his goal for a study period you may find him getting quite excited!

3. During each period of concentration, every time your mind begins to wander, yank it back by saying to yourself sharply, “Be here now!” You can increase the effectiveness of this technique by creating an anchor to attach feelings of concentration and being in control to that phrase (see “The No-Limits Child” for more information on teaching your kids to create anchors).

4. Remind your children that if they feel that they have concentrated well, it’s important for them to reward themselves at the end of that study period, even if it just with a glass of juice or a short walk.

5. One of the best ways to improve your concentration without really noticing is to get more involved and participate more actively in your study. This can range from taking notes as you read instead of just reading, to making up questions about each paragraph you read, as you go along.

6. For older kids, as they progress and continue to improve their concentration, they may like to play a game of measuring their progress by keeping a tally of how many times they get distracted during a specific learning period. Don’t let them do this all the time, otherwise it could become a prop – and a distraction in itself. But they may find it fun and enlightening to do once or twice a week during periods when they are actively trying to improve their concentration skills. To keep track, they would simply make a note of every time that their mind wanders during the measurement period.

7. To finish, here is another enjoyable game you can play with your kids – I’ve saved the best for last, as this is my favorite! The game is called PURE CONCENTRATION.

First of all, you and your child need to choose an object to concentrate on. Let it be something that inspires you both – maybe something beautiful from nature, a flower or stone.

Take your object and go sit in a quiet place, comfortably but sitting upright, ideally at a table. You don’t want to be so comfortable that you start to get sleepy. Now gaze at your object and concentrate on ONE THOUGHT for as long as you can. Just one simple thought.

It could be a positive affirmation about yourself, “I am loving and loved,” or any other simple thought that takes your fancy. You and your child can pick one together and use the same one, or choose to have a different one each.

Then you concentrate your gaze upon your object of concentration and your thoughts upon your thought of concentration. Try to do this for 1-5 minutes to start with (depending on the age of your child), gently but firmly bringing your mind back each time it begins to wander.

When you can do this for 5 minutes easily, start to aim higher. This exercise is very beneficial for your concentration skills, and if you and your child play it daily for a while, you’ll both feel the benefit and you should see your child’s ability to concentrate on his studies improve.

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