What can my child do to increase their focus and attention abilities?
Internal Focus Techniques
Word or Thought Focus. Have your child focus on a thought or an idea for a set period of time, attempting to hold their thoughts to this singular word. This is not thinking "around" or about a topic, but simply repeating the word to visualizing a picture or imagining a specific idea repeatedly.
Memorizing Scripture. Have your child work on memorizing scripture and repeating helpful scriptures when they are frustrated, unmotivated, or struggling.
External Focus Techniques
Object Meditation. Have child focus on an object of interest, such as a toy or picture, and time how long your child can go without talking, giggling, or turning away, and practice until he or she can focus for more that 5 to 10 minutes (Colbert, 2001)
The Sit Super Still Game. Have everyone in the family sit in a room together, with one person as the monitor. Everyone must sit perfectly still. The monitor announces that family members are out if they move. Let the children be monitors first, especially the child with ADHD. Play until all children in the family have "won" the game. Adjust rules as necessary, especially when first beginning these types of games. You want to avoid frustrating a child by making the game to difficult or hard to win. You'll be able to increase time limits and expectations gradually.
Two-Eye Focus. Hold two pencils up approximately 5-6 inches apart. Have the child focus on the point of one pencil for several seconds, gradually increasing the time limit. The goal is for the child to be able to focus for several minutes at one pencil point or the other without smiling, moving, laughing, or shifting focus to you, the other pencil, or other objects. As their ability to play this game increases, add in extraneous stimuli, such as people moving around, music, tv, etc. This will help the child to exercise their focusing abilities. (Moore, 2000)
I Spy(TM), Where's Waldo?(TM), and Hidden Pictures(TM). These types of books and games capitalize on the abilities of the child with ADHD to observe a highly stimulating situation. They can also be resources to help goal oriented activity or be used as rewards. I SPY(TM) offers printable pictures to find hidden objects at www.scholastic.com. A Where's Waldo?(TM) game can be played at www.findwaldo.com. Printable Hidden Pictures(TM) can be found at www.highlightskids.com.
See Next: Using Discipline Effectively