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10 ways to help your kids learn and focus on school work

Learning how to do one thing at a time is an essential skill for school success
Help your child learn how to focus by establishing good studying habits.

It’s easy for kids to get distracted.

Trying to do more than one thing at a time can lead to a string of half-completed tasks, panic-inducing deadlines and missed goals.

Learning to do one thing at a time, focusing and finishing something before moving on to the next are essential skills for school success, Sam Ng, Richmond Sylvan Learning director says.

Sylvan is focused on ensuring students’ academic success through its proprietary personal tutoring programs.

Although there may be times when multitasking is okay, studying is certainly not one of them.

Here are 10 tips for how to help your children learn to focus by establishing good habits.

1. Pay attention in class

Much of the muddle and confusion in any class is happening because someone hasn’t been paying attention.

Make sure your child understands the importance of classroom time and isn’t shy about asking for help when needed.

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Oftentimes, it may be uncomfortable and awkward to stop class in front of all your friends and classmates to ask your teacher a question,” Ng says.

“To strengthen your understanding, score higher grades and boost your confidence, you need to fully grasp the concept. This all starts with asking questions. Be curious, figure out what you don’t understand and get the right academic support you need.”

2. Take your time

Haste makes waste. Racing through something important can be dangerous, and can lead to mistakes.

Taking a moment to pause and understand the task at hand can help your child avoid errors such as misreading test directions, or hurrying through a book report and making typos.

3. Take breaks

It’s hard for some children to take their time. Allow plenty of breaks to let them expend energy before getting back to work.

Together, you can decide how much time should pass and how much work should be done between breaks.

4. Do one thing at a time

Better grades, more confidence, enhanced skills and broader knowledge will eventually speak for themselves.

But at the beginning, you’re going to have to put your foot down at homework and study time. Random monitoring works wonders.

5. Eliminate distractions

It’s an acquired skill, but organizing themselves helps kids to get rid of distractions. Expect them to do this both at home and in school.

6. Prioritize

Learning to place tasks in order from most important to least important will help kids learn to focus on the right things.

For example, the optional cover picture on a book report should come after they’ve read the book and written the report. Going over their assignments and the due dates with them will also allow you to guide them.

7. Plan

Helping children plan their time lets them learn organization and see how it all fits together. Kids need consistency and routine (even if they roll their eyes at it). Creating a plan helps everyone stay in check, on task and makes it manageable.

8. Manage temptations

Learning self-control is never an easy task, but saying “no” to something today can help meet tomorrow’s deadline.

9. Control interruptions

We can’t eliminate all maddening interruptions, but we can help kids control interruptions rather than letting interruptions control them. Insisting on silencing electronic devices is a good start.

10. Assess

Having your child ask him or herself, “When am I at my most productive?” and “When do I learn best?”

Assessing their habits, skills, strengths and attitudes will give your child a sense of self-awareness and the ability to plan time accordingly.

To get started with tutoring support to end the school year strong, visit Sylvan Learning online today at