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Pay Attention!

"Misunderstood Minds" is a website by PBS.org that helps adults understand and even experience what it's like to be a child with attention problems. For people who don't have difficulty paying attention, it can be very hard to understand those who do. We might say, "How could you forget, I just asked you 10 seconds ago!" or "Why is your homework taking so long, you know how to do this!" Or a classic example: you send your child upstairs to grab a sweater and wonder why he hasn't returned for 10 minutes- you go see what he's up to and find him playing with Legos, no sweater in sight! Attention problems can come in many different forms and learning more about it is a great way to learn how to combat it. #themoreyouknow


For some kids attention issues are simply developmental and distraction is just part of being a kid. For others, it is a very real problem that can potentially affect learning and other life activities. I highly recommend exploring this website and going through the simulations. The simulations are a bit shocking and really make your heart go out to kids who struggle with focus and attention. The site goes on to provide MANY helpful suggestions for parents and addresses strategies for building skills in different subject areas that may be suffering due to the child's difficulty attending.


Parents often ask us how we can help their child who struggles to focus. Our teachers are always willing to offer accommodations to students, such as preferential seating, movement breaks, or individual or small group work with the teacher - anything that helps the students to stay engaged and on task. It's important to reach out to your child's teacher and have a conversation to make sure you are both on the same page. My favorite word to describe parents and teachers working together is "partnership." Parents and teachers should be partners in a child's education, so having a good relationship with your child's teacher is key!


You may also want to have a discussion with your pediatrician if you think attention is an issue for your child that is beyond typical for his or her age. This does NOT mean you have to medicate! It just means that your pediatrician sees children with attention concerns often and can offer you expert information and advice and make sure nothing else is going on that might be causing such a lack of focus. Research and information gathering is never a bad thing! If you do choose to medicate, be sure to ask questions, do your research, and stay in close communication with your doctor.


This post was meant to be short and sweet but turned into quite a novel! Please don't hesitate to reach out if you need any assistance with your little bobcat :)