My son is in 5th grade and has a terrible time focusing on his work, not that he can't, just that he thinks of his favorite things like Star Wars, Avengers, Spiderman, but cannot get his school work done! I try to do what I can without doing the work for him, but as soon as he is on his own, he can't get it done. My concern is, when he tests I will not be there to help him, he is on his own, how can I prepare him for that if he does not do it?
Being distracted by Star Wars, Spiderman, etc. is easy to understand for a fifth grade boy.
Here are a few strategies you may try:
(1) Use a timer to allow your son to have frequent breaks while doing his school work. Begin with 30 minutes and extend the time gradually. If he had difficulty with 30 minutes, try 20 and build from there.
(2) Have a space where the distractions are minimized (no television, radio, pictures, books, magazines, computers, etc.).
(3) Study carrels work at school, so devise one at home.
(4) Have you son set a goal and you support his successful completion of his goal.
Does your son have these difficulties at school as well as at home? Do you suspect that he is "attention challenged"? If so, have an expert evaluate your son and make recommendations for other interventions.
We all have our highs and lows in mental energy. Keeping our mind in a high alert state requires some work and brain stimulation. Diversions and distractions can be kept to a minimum if the brain is redirected with a few simple techniques.
1. Listen to music while studying. Music energies neurotransmitters and keeps the brain active.
2. Try chewing gum, bouncing a leg, tapping a foot or any other repetitive and rhythmic behavior while studying. These are all ways to self-stimulate a tired brain.
3. Take frequent breaks and use physical activity as an outlet during this time. Physical exercise aids in problem solving and memory. Taking a 10-minute walk or playing basketball for 10 minutes will refresh the brain.
4. When starting to drift off- stick your chest out and lift your head up high while flinging back your arms. Take a deep breath. Say to yourself, "I can do this." This instantly brings the mind back in focus mode.
5. The actual physical environment where you study is also very important. Your workspace needs to be organized on a regular basis, as it may help maintain successful work habits. It also helps to repeat particular routines over time until they become habits.
6. Maintain and visualize strong goals of completion. The ability to visualize your goal will give you something to strive towards. Keep visualizing the future and what you want to see. This will empower you to work and create your goals.
Reward yourself and pat yourself on the back constantly for doing a good job. The body responds, sometimes in amazing ways, when you feel positive about yourself. Too often we get caught up feeling depressed or complaining about the things that we can't do. Remind yourself daily of all the things you CAN do!