Six ways to attend focused Child

Speak a Language of Attention

Attention isn’t just one thing. It’s a set of three skills: focus, awareness and executive attention, i.e., planning and decision-making. And it’s teachable, scientists are discovering, by simply talking with your kids about attention and encouraging them to practice. How do you practice attention? Listen for the trumpet in a song. Play “Spot the Letter” on a car trip. Walk through the garden—using all your senses.

Focus on One Another

A first social skill for toddlers is joint attention—a meeting of minds that comes from focusing on something together. But today we’re so used to splitting our focus that it’s hard to truly attend to any one thing or person. Continuous partial attention undermines our relationships. When we give each other half-focus at dinner or in conversation, we are effectively saying, “You aren’t worth my time.”

MAM: Moms Against Multitasking

Multitasking is a national pastime, and kids are no exception. Sixty percent of kids age 8 to 18 multitask at least some of the time they’re doing homework. But it’s not as easy as it looks! Toggling between tasks slows us down because the brain needs time to switch between new and old tasks, and ramp up for the new job. Warning: Multitasking may also inhibit deeper, flexible learning. That means kids might do well on homework, yet learn the material less well. Teach kids to single-task to get the job done right.

White Space

Quelling distractions is both a matter of harnessing our attentional skills and creating a climate for focus. And today, kids are exposed to nearly six hours a day of non-print media. Two-thirds under 6 live in homes that keep the TV on half or more of the time—an environment linked to attention difficulties. Take a page from pioneering companies who are creating “white space,” places or times for uninterrupted, unwired thought.

Eat Mindfully

We snack, we gulp, we eat energy bars on the run. Forty percent of our food budgets are spent eating out, up from 25 percent in 1990. But this mobile eating undermines our ability to taste, sense and share our food. We’ve fallen into a national habit of mindless eating, says Cornell psychology professor Brian Wansink. Take the time to stop and eat with your kids, whenever possible, noticing the smell, taste and feel of your food and encouraging them to do the same. Your whole family will be dialing down on stress and boosting focus!

Be a Role Model for Focus

If we want to nurture “Planet Focus” for our children, we have to cultivate our own attentional skills, and pass them on. Be an attentional role model. Give the gift of your attention. Carve out time for focused thinking and relating—and speak up against multitasking, interruptions and hyper-hurrying. Rediscover what it’s like to have a long conversation, to sit still, to go beyond what’s first-up on Google. The word “attention” comes from the Latin verb meaning to “stretch toward.” It’s not always easy to nurture your attentional skills—but it’s worthwhile.

Advantges and Disadvantages of Computer

Advantages of Computers

Some studies have shown that children who use computers from an early age have several advantages. Computer classes are taught in most kindergarten and elementary schools, so preschoolers who are already familiar with the operation of the keyboard and mouse will be ahead of the learning curve. They may also have an advantage if they have the opportunity to play with educational programs, as many learn reading and number skills from computer software.
Some experts suggest that allowing preschoolers to have computer time can be beneficial because computer use:
  • Introduces educational skills
  • Teaches spatial and logical skills
  • Prepares children for future computer use
  • Increases self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Boosts problem-solving skills
  • Stimulates language comprehension
  • Improves long-term memory and manual dexterity
The greatest benefits, though, occur when children use computers side-by-side or when they work with adults. In these situations, preschoolers develop cooperative problem-solving skills. They also have the opportunity to interact with others, which enhances their overall learning.

Disadvantages of Computers

In spite of the many benefits, experts also point out drawbacks to preschool computer use. Some express concern for children’s physical health. Others cite psychological and developmental concerns.
Preschooler’s muscles and bones are still developing, but computers and furniture, especially at home, are rarely set up properly for children. “Most parents,” says Peter Buckle of the Robens Centre for Health Ergonomics, “seem unaware of the possible dangers of children sitting for long periods unsupported, with necks twisted and wrists overextended.” Physical problems can also result from sitting too close to the computer screen.
Another difficulty arises when the computer is used as a babysitter, as when parents put in educational games and believe their children are better off than sitting in front of a TV. Educational psychologist and teacher Jane Healy disagrees. She doesn’t believe there is much difference between the two. “Simply selecting and watching a screen is a pallid substitute for real mental activity,” Healy says. She suggests that reading together, having family discussions, or playing are a much more valuable use of time. These activities can provide as much educational stimulation as the software with the added benefit of social interaction. Healy also questions whether some popular computer games have academic value. Some, she says, “may even be damaging to creativity, attention, and motivation.”

Wise Computer Usage

To make the computer beneficial for you and your preschooler, decide on rules and time limits. Using a timer to signal when your child’s time is up helps avoid arguments.
When purchasing software for your child, look for programs that offer opportunities to try many different solutions. These help stimulate creativity and problem solving.
Setting up a separate profile for your preschooler is a good precaution. This can prevent her from clicking on things she  shouldn’t or accidentally deleting important files. Rather than leaving your child alone at the computer, stay with her. Use computer time for interaction and togetherness.
Here are some additional tips to enhance computer use for your preschooler:
  • Look for programs that support open-ended, discovery-oriented learning
  • Adjust the computer and furniture for your child’s use
  • Adjust the sound and screen size for each use
  • Supervise your child’s computer activities
  • Turn off all programs but the one your child is using
  • Limit the amount of time your child spends on the computer
  • Balance computer time with social interaction and physical exercise
Computers, used wisely, are tools for stimulating preschool learning. But it’s important to take precautions for your child’s safety and well-being. Teach your child proper computer use and monitor him to be sure his computer time is constructive and useful. But most importantly of all, focus on learning together, both on the computer and off.

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