Here are some of the helpful hints from Focus Pocus – 100 Ways to Help Your Child Pay Attention.
7. For multi-step tasks, have kids pair a task to a finger. If you want your son to pick up the bathroom, empty the trash, feed the dog, then sweep the front porch, have him ‘put’ one task on each of his fingers. Then have him count back to you – as he holds up the first finger, he says, “Pick up the bathroom.” On second finger, he should say, “Empty the trash.” This will help him remind himself, and ensure that he heard you in the first place.
13. Pick your fidgety child to be the ‘server’ at dinner. Give them the honored task of refilling drinks, grabbing the serving fork for the green beans, getting the ketchup from the medicine cabinet – er – refrigerator, mopping up spills, and serving dessert. This is a great time for your child to acquire some valuable life skills, too. Don’t forget to express your thanks.
32…..NOTE: The fight isn’t worth it. If you have to fight with your child to get dressed – dress them yourself. It takes 60 stressless seconds. (They’ll learn how to tie their shoes before college, and if not, they can wear flip flops!) We always fought over making beds. Consider using a sleeping bag instead of sheets – a trick still used by our two who have moved away. Or consider leaving their bed unmade – a trick our other two still do at home.
48. Ask for explanation. If you ask, “Do you understand?”, a child will almost always answer “Yes.” They may want to please you, they may think they understand, or they may just want to be done with homework, but they may not really grasp what they have learned. Instead of asking if you were understood, ask your child to explain the concept to you.
61. Take a picture of the assignment board. Most kids have cell phones, and many kids have camera phones. Get permission for kids to be able to take a picture of the assignment board. Or the teacher can take the picture and then email it, upload it a webpage, or even Tweet it to parents. This is a lot easier than trying to type in assignments on a teacher website.
73. Teach a child how to flow with a conversation. Your child abruptly changes the subject because she is not really listening to a dinner conversation. Stop her, and ask your daughter what was being said before she spoke. Chances are, she can tell you – she heard, but didn’t attend.
She must be taught to recognize that although she is talking, she isn’t participating in a conversation. Ask your daughter to make an appropriate following comment. Explain that it’s important to have a conversation – one person talks, then the other person answers, then another person until the subject is finished.
For example: Ron: Today at school, this kid threw up all over the floor in gym class.
Joe: I won the race in PE today.
Mom: Joe, what did Ron just say?
Joe: Ummm. (Looks to the ceiling to recall.) Some kid threw up in gym.
Mom: What’s the next sentence in that conversation?
Joe: Could you see what he ate for breakfast?
Welcome to my life!
PS Don’t miss the special offer of getting Focus Pocus with a bonus copy of Waking Up from the Homework Nightmare! (This offer is now expired, although you can now get both books at a reduced price.)