FOCUSING YOUR ATTENTION, PART 7
Well, we’re still at it! Attention is our current topic which we will be wrapping up soon, but in today’s post we will look at more ways to help our little ones focus their attention. Once again, much of this information is based on my notes from Optimizing Brain Fitness by The Great Courses. And if you would like to begin with the first post on brain fitness, head over to this link.
Not only does a focused attention improve many ways the brain functions, including memory and IQ, but it also has a calming effect. That makes sense, right? Jumping around from thought to thought, feeling to feeling can be exhausting after awhile. I love social media and the way I am able to connect with others in small bits, which is mostly all I have time for with four young children I am homeschooling, not to mention the ability to quickly ask a question of a whole group of friends at once, or spread the word of a local event; but everything has its place. There is no replacement for real experiences, face-to-face conversations, and depth of study or reflection that Facebook or Instagram will never offer. As always, balance in everything.
So, how can we encourage our kids to focus their attention?
First, attention varies with interest. Even people with ADHD can perform normally if they’re interested in the topic. In my experience with introducing my kids to the world, which is the same as educating them (the way I see it at least), I have stumbled upon a fruitful (and super doable) way to expose them to the things of this world that are full of beauty, power, truth, humor, flavor, and SO much more by taking them through a letter a week in their early years. I don’t want to go into too many details about this in this post, but if you would like to see an example of a letter in action, take a look here.
When you gently expose your child to a variety of areas that make this world (and beyond) fantastic, and you allow them to engage with those areas in a tactile way by using their senses–listening to music, tasting foods, getting their hands dirty, building edible bridges with their hands–then you are more likely to discover their unique bent, their natural strengths and interests. You can also broaden their general base of interest as they learn and interact with a wide variety of topics. This has played out well for our family as the kids are learning what passions drive and exhilarate them while still finding intrigue and pleasure in a many other areas.
Here are some memory techniques:
- pay attention (sounds obvious)
- use as many sensory faculties as possible (as mentioned above)
- form a mental picture (the more dramatic the better)
- use “memory pegs” based on life experiences
Here is another exercise to strengthen attention-
Make a drawing of something, supplemented with verbal description. Easy! I’m sure your children are already doing this.
It’s time for me to continue lessons with the kids, so I’ll have to say goodbye for now!
Adios! Ciao! Au revoir! Peace out!