Do you have a talkative preschooler?
Here at Stamford American, we understand that each child is different. But if your early learner is routinely having trouble focusing, it could be time to start working on his or her concentration skills. Parents who have had to deal with this will tell you that it’s a challenge - but rest assured, there are plenty of simple things you can do to help a restless early learner be present in the moment.
Get their wiggles out
Children who have a great deal of energy need to be able to let off steam. Be sure your child has plenty of active playtime so he or she can burn off some of that energy. It will make focusing that much easier if they don’t have ants in their pants!
Take a deep breath
People of all ages can benefit from breathing exercises – including talkative early learners – as well as yoga and meditation techniques. YouTube has a wealth of videos that will help children pause, take a deep breath and learn to be mindful. Once they’ve mastered those skills at home, they can take them with them to the classroom, where they’ll be better able to concentrate on their work. It will also help them learn the value of quiet time. At Stamford American we do this through our Second Step Program where children are introduced to strategies like deep breaths and tummy breaths.
Help them manage their emotions
Young children have yet to develop the skill of self-regulation, which means they can have a hard time staying calm and therefore focused. You can help them learn how to manage their emotions by talking with them and encouraging them to use words in a calm way when they’re behaving or speaking aggressively. At Stamford American this is introduced to the children again via the Second Step Program. For example, most teachers have a ‘How are you feeling’ board and children put their names under a specific emotion that they have been introduced to. Children may not necessarily know the names of specific emotions and it would be best to introduce them. Example: People may use frustrated instead of angry and children may not really know what frustrated means. Also it is good to acknowledge children’s behaviour before asking them to change it (for example – “I know you are sad because mommy has to leave soon”).
Break it down
Sometimes a task can seem overwhelming to a young child. Breaking it down into smaller pieces can make it more manageable for them to handle. Children will only seem to remember the last instruction they heard so it’s good to list them in steps or have no more than 1-3 steps at a time.
On that note, don’t worry about teaching them how to multitask just yet. If one task is overwhelming, then trying to manage a few things at once will seem impossible. Let them focus on one thing at a time, such as going through some flashcards with you or picking up their toys, and let them progress in stages if it will help them get through it.
Make a game of it
Playing age-appropriate board games can be a fun and engaging way to help children learn how to concentrate. Make them play through to the end of the game so they can see how good it feels to complete something.
Watch their diet
Children’s diets play a role in their ability to focus. Foods and drinks with caffeine, sugar and starches can make them more restless, extra talkative and even hyperactive. Eating healthy foods, including plenty of leafy greens, has been shown to increase alertness and concentration levels.
In addition to getting an appropriate amount of sleep, kindergarteners benefit from breaks in the afternoon – perhaps activities in the afternoon could be less intense where they can use their imagination and feel rested while listening to a quiet story or music.
When children are hyper and talkative it can be helpful to minimize the distractions around them. Limit screen time, including tablets and the TV. Create a peaceful environment by playing classical or ambient music. Keep picture books on hand and schedule a period of quiet time for reading. They’ll slow down and be better prepared to focus.
The end reward
Our teachers at Stamford American International School understand just how energetic, talkative and incredibly special your early learners are, and we take pride in giving them the best possible education. We do all we can in the classroom to help manage their restlessness and teach them to stay focused.
If you are keen on visiting or learning more about Stamford American, please do contact us.