Helping Young Kids Learn to Intentionally Focus

The type of focus kids need to succeed in school is intentional focus. The type of focus kids have when using a digital device like playing on an iPad is called hyperfocus.

Hyperfocus is defined by the UrbanDictionary as “a theoretical state of being or ability in which one is able to concentrate and focus on a particular subject so intensely, ultimately becoming oblivious to everything else around.” Experts recommend limiting preschooler’s screen time to 1-2 hours a day and elementary age kids to 2-3 hours a day.

You can help your children develop intentional focus and follow directions by playing these games with them:

  • Clapping game:
    • I clap out a rhythm and the children repeat it. This is fairly easy for most kids.
    • Now change the rule so that when I clap once, the kids clap twice and when I clap twice, the kids clap once.
    • You can make it as difficult as you want: when I clap once, kids clap twice, when I clap twice, the kids clap three times and when I clap three times the kids clap once.
    • Even when kids can repeat the rule back to you, they typically fall back into clapping like you are clapping after a couple rounds.
  • Red light, Green light. When I say red light the children stop. Green light means the children can walk again. If you walk on a red light, you go back to the starting line.
  • Simon Says – only do behavior if I begin with “Simon says” like “Simon says touch your head.”
  • Follow Me – Hop on one foot, skip, gallop, march, swing your arms in circles …
  • Putting puzzles together. 
  • Playing board games.

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