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How to Discuss Distractions and Homework


We all know the struggle of staying focused while we work. We get distracted by a sound, hunger, or even a phone sitting next to us as we work. Students are often criticized for their inattention, but often, they don’t even realize that their focus has shifted. While it is expected, resisting the temptations of distractions is a necessary skill for students to learn. Parents and caregivers must approach this topic with your children positively and calmly. We have included some effective strategies for discussing distractions and homework with your student, emphasizing the importance of creating a distraction-free environment for their success and encouraging their efforts.

  1. Normalize distractions – In today’s digital age, distractions are everywhere. It’s not just your kid; everyone is constantly challenged to stay focused in a world of smartphones, social media, and other enticing diversions. The average young adult spends over seven hours a day in front of a screen, making it an issue that affects us all.  
  2. Point out the behavior – One of the most critical steps in helping your child with distractions is gently pointing out when their attention has shifted. They may not always realize this on their own. Instead of criticizing them for inattention, draw their attention to observable behavior changes. For instance, you might notice they’re looking away from their work, fidgeting, or getting up from their desk. This isn’t an opportunity for criticism; it’s a chance to help them become aware of their shifting focus and provide them with the space to return to the task at hand.
  3. Discipline = Freedom – Discipline equals freedom is a mantra popularized by former Navy SEAL commander Jocko Willink. The concept that discipline leads to freedom is a powerful one. Your child can gain more freedom and control over tasks and time by instilling discipline in managing distractions. Limiting distractions while they do their work allows them to be more efficient, giving them more free time afterward to do what they like. 
  4. Maintain a calm environment – Yelling or displaying anger because your student is distracted isn’t helpful. Instead, practice patience and keep their settings clean and supportive. Ask your child what might help them focus better, and assure them you’re there to assist. Ensure their workspace is free of easy distractions like loud noises and unnecessary screens, as these can be highly disruptive to their concentration.
  5. Stay positive – Shift your focus from criticizing inattention to rewarding periods of hard work and effort. Encourage a positive mindset by emphasizing the process rather than the end product. Children who struggle with attention receive negative feedback frequently, so it’s essential to celebrate their accomplishments, no matter how small, and offer help when necessary.
  6. Encourage structured breaks – Structured breaks are crucial for keeping focus. Even adults find it challenging to work continuously without a break. Stress the importance of scheduled breaks rather than allowing unplanned distractions to interrupt their work. Planned breaks are easier to manage and help your student refocus effectively.

Discussing distractions with your student is important to keeping them on track with their homework. By normalizing distractions, pointing out behaviors, and maintaining a positive and supportive environment, you can help your child improve their focus. Remember that discipline leads to freedom, and structured breaks are essential. Developing these skills can take time, so celebrate the journey and small victories along the way. 

For More:

5 Tips For Raising Your Distracted Child: How to Parent a Child With Focus Issues 

7 tips to help a distracted Child.

What to Say to Your Child About Trouble With Focus.

How Long It Takes to Get Back on Track After a Distraction

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