Cultivating Focus and Attention​

I've heard from many of you that your child struggles with a lack of attention. This manifests in several ways, including missing key points during a lecture, not hearing a teacher's instructions, or taking twice as long on homework because of a wandering mind.


To increase focus, I like to teach students how to become aware that they are distracted in the first place.

I use a technique I learned through Mindful Schools. The exercise can last for as little as one minute and can be expanded as your child's capacity increases.


It's great to practice this with your child…after all, we can all use a little more focus!


Exercise for Increased Attention

First, find a quiet, comfortable place to sit. Set a timer for one minute. Take a couple of deep breaths together, and then start the timer. Close your eyes. During the minute, focus as much as possible on your breathing. Thoughts will inevitably creep in. When they do, notice that. Then say to yourself, "thoughts," and return to your breath. Or perhaps you become distracted by a noise. Say "noise." Continue doing this until the timer sounds.


Noticing when our attention wanders (as it inevitably will) to thoughts or sounds or even body sensations during this exercise can help you and your child notice the attention wandering at other points during the day.


With increased practice, your child may begin to notice being distracted by thoughts or a sound during class and use this technique to name the distraction and redirect her focus.


Eventually, you can increase the time to two, five, or even 10 minutes. If this is something you’d like me to incorporate into our lessons, please let me know.


Tags: mindfulness focus