Since the school year started, many parents have experienced a scenario that’s all too common. The phone rings, and the caller ID says it’s from your child’s school. Their teacher is on the other end of the line explaining that your child has low grades and poor performance in class. This is all news to you—your kids seem fine when they’re at home!
Any number of factors can contribute to stress, poor memory and attention span challenges in kids. It’s important to discuss these things with the teacher and create a plan of action to get your child back on track. Here are some tips to get the conversation started.
Why kids can’t focus during class
Getting to the bottom of why your child can’t focus often turns into a guessing game. Young children usually aren’t able to articulate what’s bothering them, so parents have to investigate potential reasons for their lack of concentration. Here are a few to consider:
- Their learning environment has changed: The past year has come with a lot of changes to kids’ academic settings. Students grew accustomed to attending virtual class from home and did without the structure of school bells and sitting at a desk all day. Prerecorded lessons allowed kids to choose when and where they got schoolwork done. But now, many are back in the traditional classroom setting. The sudden shift in their learning environment might have made it difficult for kids to concentrate during class, especially for those who thrived on a more flexible schedule.
- They’re stressed from academic pressure: Kids have a lot on their plate. School, homework, sports and extracurricular activities leave little time to unwind at night. Children are feeling the pressure to succeed even as they navigate the transition back to an in-person mode of learning. Stress quickly leads to burnout, making it nearly impossible to focus on the teacher or recall information during tests.
- They’re eating the wrong breakfast: Some kids struggle to focus in school because they don’t have access to the right foods—or worse, they’re not eating breakfast at all! Sugary cereals create a short-term energy spike that swiftly takes a nosedive by mid-morning. A lot of processed foods like donuts, toaster pastries and frozen waffles are low in nutrients and will leave your child’s stomach growling long before lunch time. Hunger and brain fog are the perfect recipe for a distracted child!
- The lesson material is too confusing: School is supposed to be challenging in order to aid your child’s brain development and broaden their knowledge. However, every child will face a subject that’s harder than the rest. When they struggle with a particular class, it’s sometimes easier to check out than push through the confusion. What appears to be a lack of focus could actually be a sign that your child requires more help to keep up during lessons.
Tips for promoting kids’ calm and focus
No parent enjoys watching their child’s concentration slip. Understandably, you’d want to do something about it! Incorporate these activities into your child’s daily routine to boost focus, memory and peace of mind:
- Focus exercises: As kids prepare for the new school year, sharpen their ability to focus by engaging them in short and fun memory games. You could give them a puzzle or book of mazes with varying difficulties. Or, simulate a traditional classroom by reading a story to your child then ask them to recall specific details afterwards. Activities that require focus and memorization put your child in the right mindset as they adjust to the new school year.
- Healthy breakfast and hydration: Kickstart the school day with a full belly and sustainable energy! Children need fibrous foods like oatmeal and fruit to stave off hunger until their lunch period. Replace sugary cereals with yummy, healthy options like whole grain toast topped with peanut butter and sliced bananas. If you have a little extra time in the morning, whip up an omelet and sneak in some chopped veggies to fulfill their daily nutritional requirements. Always make sure your child has a water bottle in hand before they run to catch the bus!
- Dietary supplements: A blend of calming herbs can go a long way in setting up children for academic success. Adaptogens aid a child’s stress response. Other natural ingredients support the nervous system and bolster brain function so they can more easily remember lesson material. Herbal tinctures are available in kid-friendly flavors that easily mix into their favorite fruit juices. Focus-boosting supplements are a tasty part of morning routines that any kid would look forward to!
A call from your child’s teacher can elicit worry and confusion. Their grades are slipping, and you’re not sure why. Viewing school from the student’s perspective offers valuable insight into what’s causing focus and memory problems.
Distracted kids usually have a reason for their poor academic performance, and that reason always has a solution. Provide the tools your child needs so they can walk into school with confidence!