Kids with certain learning or attention issues can have trouble staying focused on schoolwork or might get easily distracted. It can be hard to know how to approach the topic with your child in a positive and productive way. To help, explore the common challenges and suggested conversation starters below.

Trouble Staying Focused

What you can say: “I know you try hard to pay attention in class but you get distracted. What helps you stay focused?”
Tip: It might help your child to stay focused if the teacher comes over and touches his shoulder when she wants him to pay attention.

What you can say: “What helps you stay focused when you’re doing homework?”
Tip: Your child may do well with a quiet, orderly space to do his homework. Or listening to music might help him concentrate.

What you can say: “What things (noises, people) distract you the most?”
Tip: It might be better for your child to be seated away from loud or distracting classmates in school. Talk to your child’s teacher about this possibility.

Trouble Starting Projects and Shifting Between Activities

What you can say: “Remember that big science project you did last year? You started late and had to give up some fun activities so you could finish it. What do you think would help you start projects sooner?”
Tip: To avoid procrastination, you might want to start going over project instructions with your child as soon as a project is assigned. Talk about where he anticipates he might need help from you or clarification from the teacher.

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How to Talk to Your Child About Being Distracted and Unfocused