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5 Home Suggestions to Help Support Your Child's Attention in School

Updated: Sep 9, 2023

A mother helping her son with homework

We're now more than a few weeks into the new school year, and many parents and kids alike would say they are, for the most part, adapting to the school routine.

It's about this time in the new school year when our kids' true colors in terms of learning and behavior habits become pretty clear. While kids are likely being giving some more time to 'settle in', it's not too soon to do what you can at home to support good habits when it comes to classroom performance and behavior. While these strategies can promote better attention for all kids, for those children with suspected or diagnosed attention problems, this approach can be key to a successful school year.

Here are 5 tips that can go a long way to support better attention for our kids in school:

A teacher standing over a boy doing his work in the classroom

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  1. Work with your child's teacher to try to establish a simple behavior checklist for monitoring attentiveness, to be used at school and sent home on a daily/weekly basis. This visual system is often beneficial, even if used for a short while. Weekly emails may even take the place of a chart once consistency of positive outcomes is demonstrated. This would allow for continued communication, and you could still directly work with your child on the identified target areas discussed to promote his self-management.

  2. Reinforce him at home for positive classroom outcomes. Modify your current reward system if he becomes uninterested in earning the reinforcer at home.

  3. Practice getting organized - preparing materials, transition times - getting to his seat/carpet in a timely fashion, etc. We love this helpful book for helping kids to get organized.

  4. Talk with him about attending to the teacher, and avoiding distractors or behaviors that interfere with his learning. The goal is to gently increase your child's awareness of these issues so that he may take ownership and begin to monitor and change his own behavior with the supporting systems in place (cues from teacher, reminders from you, behavior checklist between school and home).

  5. Monitor his homework time, or give him small assignments to do, both brief seatwork-type tasks (e.g. writing a note to someone), and chores, to have him practice good attentiveness. You can give him feedback - "stay in your seat until finished", "keep your eyes on your work" etc. Also tell him "check your answers" or "look around to see if all the toys are picked up before telling me that you are done", etc.

Helping kids develop good executive functioning skills supports focus, completion of tasks, and self-control.

While this is just a handful of ideas, taking steps to monitor and help your child practice good paying attention, can boost his or her self-confidence and improve overall success in the classroom.

A cute little girl with her backpack wearing a school uniform and walking with her peers

Want to learn more about healthy ways to promote attention for kids? Check out our blog post here: Thinker Helpers for Your Child with ADHD

Is your child ready for Kindergarten? Read our post here to learn more.

Picky eating and poor attention often go hand in hand! Get the quick, go-to guidebook Build a Better Eater to help support healthy eating habits for your child, while promoting healthy attention in school and at home.

Build a Better Eater book for parents of picky eaters

All blog content shared through HealthSmart! Kids is for informational purposes only and not to be construed as medical advice. Always talk with your qualified health care provider for managing your health care needs.

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