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Does your child have trouble staying focused?

October 16, 2019

For some children, staying on task and being organized to get their work done at school can be very challenging and a source of great frustration for the child and the educator. 




The classroom environment can have numerous distractions such as noises in the classroom or hallway and visual distraction such as kids getting up, watching things happening out the window etc. Teachers may comment that your child is unorganized and doesn’t pay attention or you may notice the same difficulties at home. 


 Organization and increasing attention span are skills that can develop with age and practice; however, many children can struggle with these issues without having guidance to develop these skills. Children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD) can have an especially hard time staying on task and staying organized. Having supportive strategies taught early on will help minimize frustration and build success. 


Organization and attention on task are key elements to school success and can be enhanced with some simple strategies. Try these strategies at home and if you notice some work for your child, send the suggestions into school for the teacher to incorporate into the classroom. 





  • Have your child face you when giving instructions, transfers to seating facing the teacher and/or the backboard

  • Keep student’s desk clear, except for needed materials

  • Flexible class seating- standing desks, laying on floor with clipboard; quiet pillow corners etc. can offer students options for success. 


  • Follow a routine: place timetable/task list on desk or board so students can learn to structure time.

  • Choose 15-minute work/5-minute break rhythm--- use a timer.


  • Give directions in written form, picture sequence or verbally depending on what works for the child.

  • Break down larger assignments or provide shorter assignments

  • Give one or two directions at a time. Be specific and concise. Repeat.

  • Allow extra time to formulate an answer and to complete tasks and assignments

  • Be aware that complicated workbook pages may be confusing for the child- highlight the main points.


  • Collaborate with the child in developing a system for managing desk top, desk storage, book bag, locker, binder and other personal belongings.

  • Designate a specific time each day to organize belongings.

  • Use file folder or basket to manage loose papers and schedule time to clean out.

Sensory Breaks:

  • Allow for use of hand fidgets and/or gum chewing. 

  • Provide movement breaks to help alert and organize nervous system. 


Get your child involved with developing their own solutions to their problems, they may know what they need to be successful.


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