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...Oh Look, a Bird!!!

One of the biggest problems facing students (especially boys), parents, and teachers, is lack of focus and poor attention skills.  This causes more fights, anxiety, and poor school performance than anyone would care to acknowledge.  New insights into functional neurology, or the way the brain and body work, are bringing to light some promising care options.

 

Photo courtesy of slightly everything

 

Many of these focus problems seem to fall of the lap of boys.  The reason for that is that the brains of boys develop more slowly than girls.  Boys really aren’t ready for school until about 8 years old.  Their brains need plenty of activation and sensory input from their bodies to stimulate normal development.  Because males have more muscle and are generally bigger, our brains require more activation and stimulation from our bodies than girls typically need.  There are a number of ways to help your child focus and pay attention more successfully.

 

  1. Keep him active.  Encourage and model an active lifestyle.  Play catch with him.  Send him outside to play with his friends.  Organized sports are okay but spontaneous play is a lost art and should be heartily encouraged.
  2. Limit screen time.  The average child has about 38 hours of free time each week.  The average child also spends most of this time in front of a computer, tv or video game.  Simply limiting this to less than an hour a day will automatically make him more active.
  3. Give him breaks during homework time.  These breaks should be active ones.  Every 20-30 minutes let him get up and move around.  Have him do jumping jacks, jump on a mini-tramp, play catch, or some other physical activity on his break.  You will see focus improve directly after this break.
  4. Give your child a little more control.  Have a discussion and make a mutual decision about how long homework sessions need to go.  If they have more input, they will have more follow through.  Three 20 minute study times are easier to handle than 1 hour all at once.

 

If this concept interests you, you may enjoy reading the book “Spark”.  In the early part of this book the authors discuss the tremendous benefits of physical activity on school performance in a large Illinois school division.

 

What challenges have you had in getting your children more active?

 

 
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