Maintaining Focus

From a parent of a middle school student:

My son is struggling with balancing homework with fun time on his technology. I’ve tried a number of strategies, but he is constantly distracted with digital wanderings when trying to work. I’m concerned that these habits will contribute to a lack of focus as he grows up. HELP!

In an age of constant dings, beeps, badges, and pop-ups, it’s easy to lose focus and wander down a rabbit hole of distraction. How can we help our children develop healthy habits and maintain focus amidst distractions?

Common Sense Media offers these six tips for helping kids stay focused during homework time.

And Devorah Heitner offers some additional suggestions in her book, Screenwise, Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World.

  • Avoid double screening. If doing homework on a tablet, for instance, silence and put away the phone.
  • If possible, work on homework in a common area in the house, such as at the dining room table.
  • If some of the homework assignment can be done offline, complete that portion first, before connecting.
  • Model your own struggles with distraction and share strategies you use for maintain focus at work and at home.

Finally, on student iPads and other Apple devices, enabling the Screen Time tool in Settings can provide some interesting data for both parents and children in discussions around technology use and time management. Click here to learn more about the Screen Time tool.

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