Simple tips for helping your hyper or distractible child focus

Weighted blanket

My 5-year-old son, Judah, is hyper and gets very easily distracted. The boy never stops moving and has trouble focusing. To help him stay focused, we have implemented some diet changes, as well as some intentional strategies.

Some of these strategies are helpful for any kid, not just for the ones who struggle to focus. I have personally found that I can focus and remember much more when I doodle or sketch designs during a meeting. Finding little tricks like this for our kids can help them be more successful at staying focused.

Bungee cords

Bungee cords are great for weighted muscle movement during table work. By wrapping a bungee cord around the legs of his chair, Judah can put his legs behind the cord and use his leg muscles to push it forward. This is one of his favorite things to do. We even have one on his chair at the kitchen table.


“Wiggle Seat” cushion

The “Wiggle Seat” cushion gives Judah the ability to move just enough to help him focus better.

Weighted blanket

The only time we use a weighted blanket is during reading time (see photo above). He really likes it and it does help ground him enough to focus better on his reading. I made my own with zip-top bags filled with rice and dried beans (it is what I could find in my kitchen). Then I duct-taped the bags together to build a lap blanket. You can buy weighted blankets or get the instructions to make your own.

Silly putty

Silly putty is a lifesaver for me. Having something to do with his hands is so important! Judah often uses silly putty while he is reading. I also keep some in my purse, which came in super handy while watching his sister’s dance recital!

Noise-canceling headphones

I am planning on buying Judah noise-canceling headphones to use while working on his math worksheets, or any other time he really needs silence to focus. There is no guarantee of silence in a house with 4 kids!

Aside from these specific strategies, I have tried to make sure Judah has a lot of opportunities throughout the day to get as much physical activity as possible. This is much more important during the winter when we are stuck inside the house all day. A few of Judah’s favorite options are a mini trampoline,  river stones to jump across, and a kids’ exercise bike — which he likes to ride while watching TV.

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6 comments on “Simple tips for helping your hyper or distractible child focus”

  1. I haven’t thought of the noise cancelling headphones before but that really is brilliant! We have 6 kids at home and our house is pretty open on the main floor – meaning that you can hear everything everywhere. A nightmare for the easily distracted kid trying to do homework at the table. Thanks!

  2. My son is constantly getting himself into trouble because he runs/hops/bounces everywhere… any thoughts on how to help him remember to slow down when running/bouncing isn’t appropriate?

    1. Oh, that is definitely a struggle! I don’t know that I have a brilliant answer for you, but I can give you some ideas of what I do. If we are going somewhere that I know they need to not be running and bouncing around, I often spend a few seconds going over my expectations before getting out of the car. Also, giving them something to squeeze (or another fidget type toy) or gum to chew can help keep that energy directed somewhere until they have more freedom. I think some kids really do have a build up of energy that needs to be released somehow.

      When my kids were in the toddler and preschool years I almost always kept them contained if possible. I was not the mom letting her 3-year-old walk around the grocery store, that just added more stress. When I had a bunch of little kids at once, I often had one in a carrier on my chest and 2 in a cart or double stroller. My 4-year old is still always in a cart when we go to a store.

      Hopefully, that is a least a little helpful. I think sometimes we often just need to have a little more grace for ourselves and our kids. They are often trying to do their best just like we are!

  3. Thank you for all of these suggestions. I started using the bungee cords around the bottom of my granddaughters chair. It is a tremendous help. During virtual school. I just picked up a stress minion that you can squeeze. Plus it has a plastic clip so she can clip it to her back pack.

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