Monday, March 7, 2011

Teaching the Distracted Child

I'll be honest in that I may not be the best person to give advice on this topic.  Our 7-year old daughter is, for the most part, a good listener and not too easily distracted. 

From time to time though, I will catch her day dreaming, playing with the pencil eraser, or singing, when she is supposed to be doing schoolwork.  So how do we get the easily distracted child to focus? 

Here are a few tips:

* Keep the lessons short.  Start with 5 minutes and then gradually move up to 10 or 15 minutes.  Set a timer so they can see how much time is left.

* Try to eliminate other noise.  You can't send all your other children to another room, but you can make sure all electronic devices are off and loud toys are removed.

* Lead by example.  Show them what you expect of them.  Is it possible they don't understand what you want?  Explain to them what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior.  Do you have another child who is a good listener?  Have that child set the example.

* Take a break.  Maybe they just need to run off some energy.  Let them go outside to play and run around for a while and then after they cool down, start again.

* Change the location.  Have they been completing their schoolwork in the same spot since the beginning of the year?  Change it up a bit and move to another room or another table.

* Give praise...and lots of it!  Sometimes we can be too quick to correct and reprimand, but not quick enough to give praise.  When you see them doing a good job, let them know it!

* Pray.  Is it possible that they are doing all they can do and it is you that needs some help?  Bring your concerns to the Lord and pray for patience and wisdom in these trying situations.

I hope these tips have been helpful!  Good luck!




Thank you for this post. I have a very easily distracted child, and we have struggled from day one with this issue. There are many prayers and thanksgiving for patience.

Have a wonderful day Christine.


Great post!


Wonderful post! Very good advice too.

The Teacher's Wife

They certainly are helpful! My son is SUPER distracted and these are some great tips! Checking you out from the Blog it Forward hop :)
Crystal at

Tara at The Adventures of MommyHaha

Great tips. Mine are only 2 and 4, so they are still in the age that they are always distracted! Good reminders for how to keep them engaged when I really do need their attention.

Stopping by from "The Middle Matters!"


Great post and I really like the last one. Maybe they are doing all they can and I'm the one in need of help :)


We use the timer a lot. It really helps my daughter, she knows there will be an end to the task, as well as she can't try and argue with a timer. :) Good ideas.


Christine, did you write this post with my family in mind? LOL :)
Distractions are a BIG problem in our noisy zoo so your tips are helpful and appreciated :) Thanks for linking this post up to NOBH!


Food sometimes helps my distracted child. It is amazing what a small bowl of grapes or dry cereal will do for his ability to sit still and focus on his task! Thanks for linking up to NOBH!

Post a Comment

I'd love to hear from you!