Simple tips for helping your hyper or distractible child focus
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 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.
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 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!
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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