Conquering the Wandering Mind

Conquering_Wandering_MindsI’ve called his name four times now, hands waving before his book work. The boy is smart. He could complete this lesson in two minutes flat – if only I could divert his attention to his work. He comes back to the present only for a moment before returning to his imaginings. With each ticking of the clock, I wonder what I’m doing wrong and how I can help my child conquer this challenge.

Understandably, this situation is just as frustrating for our son as it is for me. Being the last one to finish lessons, and constantly having to hear your name is irritating. We’re doing our best to work through this struggle together and learn keys to succeed in this area. Diet, exercise, routine, and using essential oils is helping. How we homeschool has been reviewed as well. Less independent work is in order; being replaced with one-on-one lessons with a parent sitting close at hand verbally offering encouragement.

Do any of your children battle this on a daily basis? We’d love to hear your thoughts regarding this area of homeschooling!

  • Are there clear symptoms of when your child’s mind has gone wandering?
  • What helps you remain calm and help meet your child’s need when this becomes a daily/hourly concern?
  • Have you identified the cause of their distraction? How have you done this?
  • Do foods affect your child’s focus?
  • Will routine and/or exercise help focus increase?
  • Do you find this more prevalent in your sons than daughters?
  • What helps your child to better focus?
  • Are there essential oils you’re using to help your child focus?

We have by no means conquered this challenge. There are days we cruise through without any difficulty, and days when keeping eyes on the page leads to anger. Through God’s grace we’re moving forward, learning what works for his body and mind. Amidst the frustration, it helps to remember this not personal or purposeful. Our son is not being rebellious, his mind is merely occupied elsewhere. Together we’re discovering fun, meaningful ways to redirect his attention to the present and offering grace when a momentary whim takes his mind on a journey elsewhere.

There is beauty to be found in these moments, even those taken in the imagination. May we have patience to find it, wisdom to see learning opportunity everywhere, and gentleness in leading our children through daily responsibility.

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,…”
~ Ephesians 1:17-18

Your Turn!: That’s quite a list of questions we’ve asked… Don’t feel as if you need to answer every one. Pick one which resonates with you, or one in which you’ve seen growth, and share with us!

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7 thoughts on “Conquering the Wandering Mind

  1. I have had to deal with these as a school teacher. It can be so frustrating trying to force children to focus! Especially when they have difficulty with it. I always make sure students have adequate breaks in between classes and this helps them focus. Recess, lunch, and snack time for a half hour each allow them time to chat, play, or read and let their mind wander. Then when they come back to instructional time, they know to buckle down and focus.

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  2. My middle daughter is the one who loses focus frequently, especially in math. I have found that the numbers on the page overwhelm her, and she needs me to stand right next to her and guide her through two or three problems before she can do some on her own. Also, in a more general way, all three of my kids are often better focused at schoolwork if they can go outside first.

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  3. I remember reading once that it takes 10-15min, or so, to really focus on a task. This includes orientation as well as concentration. Once that concentration is broken it’s difficult to get back. Distractions have been an issue for us.

    So, in order to combat this, during the middle of last term, I decided to axe morning tea {recess}. They always eat well for breakfast, so as an experiment I told them we’re ditching morning tea because I was finding it hard to get the kids back into the lessons.

    The reaction was interesting. The older kids were okay with it, whilst our youngest three were very upset. My 8 year old, part jokingly, said to me, “I’m going to start a petition in protest.We want recess!” I was cool with that. It drew them all together in solidarity and then we talked through it. After listening carefully to my reasons they agreed to a trial period.

    The result has been unexpected. We move through the day faster and the boys have better concentration. For example: they’re aren’t looking at the clock, then asking me what we’ll be having for recess. We don’t necessarily get everything we’d like done, but we’ve improved. We’re not stopping as much and lunch becomes are much more important part of the day.

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  4. Outside and physical activity first thing in the morning, for sure! I find my boys to be a lot like dogs…they need to run it out once (or more times!) a day! I empathize with them because I have trouble focusing as well. I try to not expect more than 10 or 15 minutes of learning at a time. If it goes longer {because I try to pick things that are fun and engaging!} then awesome! Otherwise, it helps if I separate my boys too…their energy is so synergistic. For longer reading, I wait until bedtime when they’re in separate rooms, and better able to stay still and quiet. Warmly, Nurse Dawn

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  5. It might be worth looking at ADHD, or more so ADD (which is without the hyperactivity) and ways to help concentrate using methods for children with such. For example my daughter works better when standing rather then sitting and being able to shift around, you can get wobble seats which they can fidget in while working which helps them to focus on what their doing, or toys to fiddle with whilst listening such as blue tac, play dough or fiddle toys.
    I’ve found having a movement break every 20 minutes or so works well; I put a song on and she has a dance, or using an exercise peanut ball which she jumps on, or just jumping and running in general (it feeds into the vestibule sensory processing sense) x

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