Is your child always fidgeting and not focusing on his/her homework? Is it difficult for you to make your child sit and study for just 20-30 minutes? Read on to understand what are the concentration problems in kids and how you can help your child develop focus and concentration skills with some foods and tips to improve concentration in kids.
Getting children to focus is not easy, and many parents have to struggle really hard. It is often a challenge for parents to get their child to sit in one place, teach them how to focus on their studies and finish it without getting too distracted. It makes parents worried and some parents may also start thinking that there is something wrong with their children. But rest assured, concentration problems are very common in children.
With the rising competition in not only school related academics, but also various kinds of additional competitions like spell bee, Olympiads, quizzes etc., the pressure on parents and children is rising and all this requires the child to have sharp memory & concentration power.
SIGNS OF POOR CONCENTRATION IN KIDS:
If your child has difficulty focusing on something for very long, he/she might be suffering from low concentration or concentration problems. This lack of focus can be seen in his/her studies and other activities as well. Let’s understand the signs of poor concentration in kids:
- Easily distracted
- Lack of interest
- Inability to sit still and think
- Inability to follow instructions
- Loses things easily
- Moody, irritable and cranky most of the time
- Inability to organize his/her things
What CAUSES poor concentration in kids?
Lots of distractions:
Children are naturally curious and their mind is always wandering. TV, video games, mobile phones etc. act as an easy distraction for them. Make a schedule or time table for study time, tv time, play time and make sure they following it regularly. Gradually your child will understand that during study time, he/ she needs to focus only on studies and they will get to do the rest of the things as well.
Sometimes children might find the question or task given to them too difficult or challenging. In such cases, they might not be able to focus completely and will lose interest also. Breaking down the big task into smaller and simpler tasks which are age appropriate for your child and motivate your child on completion of every single task.
Lack of sleep:
Studies have shown that kids who regularly get adequate amounts of sleep have improved concentration, attention, behavior, learning, memory and most importantly, mental and physical health. Most of a baby’s brain development happens during sleep. At least eight to twelve hours of sleep every night is very important for the proper brain development of children. (Sleep for brain development?) Make sure that your child gets enough sleep and also try to not disturb their routine by staying up too late.
Seeking parent’s attention:
Sometimes kids don’t do their work and concentrate properly just to get the attention of their parents. Spend some quality time with your child everyday and help them feel more secure and loved.
Skipping breakfast and improper nutrition can also affect your child’s concentration power. Help your child by giving him/her a balanced diet every day and ensure that your child doesn’t skip any meal, especially breakfast. (Why is balanced diet so important?)
If there is any kind of disturbance at home like a parent’s fights, divorce or death of a loved one, then the child might be emotionally disturbed and this will affect not only his/her concentration but also overall performance. Keep your child away from the troubles at home and give them more emotional support during this troubled time.
Less physical activity:
Less physical activity or lack of physical exercise can make your child lazy and lethargic thereby affecting his/her concentration negatively. Take your child out for cycling, running, outdoor activities and games.
Lack of motivation or interest:
Lack of interest or motivation in a particular subject or activity also causes poor concentration in kids. Advanced kids or kids who have higher than average IQ levels, suffer more due to lack of interest or motivation. Motivate and encourage your child for every small achievement.
Cluttered and disorganized workspace:
Having a cluttered workspace or notebook may lead to spending more time looking for the things than focus on what is being taught. Teach your child to be organized and help them to stay clutter free.
In some cases, learning difficulties like ADHD, Dyslexia or ADD might be responsible for low or proper concentration in kids. You can help by consulting a professional for proper diagnosis and guidance in such cases.
Tips to improve concentration in kids:
Brain exercises: Solving different kinds of puzzles or playing memory games, sudoku, chess can help to improve concentration in kids.
Meditation: Meditation and mindfulness practices can help in improved concentration. Studies suggest that practicing meditation, mindfulness training, Yoga and deep breathing can help kids to increase attention, memory, focus and other cognitive abilities. Hence, it is one of the best tips to improve concentration.
Listening to music: Studies support the benefits of listening music to improve concentration. Turning on music while working or studying may help to improve concentration. Experts generally agree that classical music or nature sounds are good choices to help increase focus.
Spending time in nature: Another tips to improve concentration in kids is spending time in nature. Research suggests that natural environments could benefit brain development and may also improve concentration power in children. Even a 20-minute walk in the park could help improve concentration in kids more than a walk of the same length in an urban setting.
Foods to Improve concentration and memory in kids:
Omega 3 fatty acids:
Research has established a link between omega 3 fatty acids and brain development in early childhood. These healthy fats have amazing brain boosting power and play a vital role in enhancing memory and attention span. Fish & walnuts are a very good source of omega 3 and hence one of the best foods to improve concentration and memory. (Why is Omega 3 important for your kids?)
Blueberries contain anthocyanins, a group of plant compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Antioxidants act against both oxidative stress and inflammation and thus can help to prevent brain aging and neurodegenerative diseases. (Why antioxidants?)
Green Leafy vegetables:
Green veggies are the brain’s favorite food. Vegetables like spinach, cabbage, mint and kale contribute to brain health as they are rich in vitamin Bs, iron and antioxidants that help in the growth of new cells and aids in sharp thinking. As spinach has a wide variety of brain-boosting nutrients such as Vitamin A, B12, K and Iron, it is considered as best food for toddler’s brain development. (Nutrition tips for toddlers?)
Eggs are a good source of several nutrients tied to brain health, including vitamin B6, B9 and B12. Eating whole eggs (egg white and yolk) helps regulate memory because of Choline. Research suggests that regular consumption of eggs improves cognitive performance in kids and adults. (Why kids need vitamins?)
A study showed that eating cocoa for five days improved blood flow to the brain. Compounds in dark chocolate boost memory, attention span, reaction time and problem-solving skills. It is a kid’s favorite and works as child brain development food. (Recipe for no sugar chocolate twix bar)
Nuts and Seeds:
Nuts like peanuts, walnuts, pistachios, almonds and cashews are very important for a child’s brain development and cognitive functions. Including them in your child’s daily diet is very beneficial. (Other benefits of nuts and seeds)
Staying hydrated can also have a positive impact on concentration. Even mild dehydration can make it harder to focus or remember information.
Herbs to improve concentration in kids:
Curcumin: Curcumin has a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which is found in the brain and spinal cord that plays a key role in keeping nerve cells healthy, as well as regulating communication between nerve cells, which is critical for learning and memory for kid. (Foods for overall brain development?)
Brahmi: Brahmi is a superfood for the brain and is believed to sharpen the brain by protecting cells and increasing chemicals associated with learning and memory. It has shown to improve spatial learning and retaining power in kids. In older times, kids were often given Brahmi powder with ghee/honey. This would increase their focus and attention, while keeping them calm and distressed. (How can ayurvedic herbs help with brain development?)
Ashwagandha: This herb is known to reduce anxiety and stress. And is used to increase acetylcholine levels which support better memory, mental focus and intelligence. This herb also reduces mental fatigue and enhances sleep quality. It protects the brain nerve cells from damage. It is the best food for toddlers’ brain development. (Why Ashwagandha?)
Shalaki: This herb improves brain function mainly due to its antioxidant property. The antioxidants present fight against the free radicals responsible for causing brain cell damage and support stronger memory and hence is used as child brain development food. (What are free radicals?)
Recipe: Wheat Berry cookie with hidden herbs and nuts
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