With many children embarking on their very first digital learning experiences this fall, keeping their focus in school while their favorite toys sit a room away is going to be a challenge for parents, kids, and teachers. More than ever, we are going to need to help our children stay focused by teaching them emotional self-control and adaptability: two critical EI competencies.
Diagnosing the Issue
This coming school year is promising to be one of the most difficult and unprecedented in recent memory. For parents, having to balance the duties of work and parenting on top of providing a distraction-free environment for your child to learn in is an impossible task. This is precisely why we need to teach our children the importance of managing their own focus as we are not always going to be able to help them ourselves. As leading EI thinker Doctor Daniel Goleman says,
“One way to boost our will power and focus is to manage our distractions instead of letting them manage us.”
By diagnosing and removing possible sources of distraction we can not only help our children focus in school, but also teach them key strategies for maintaining their own focus.
In order to do this, we need to sit down with our children and discuss strategies for staying on-task. We need to listen and observe in order to find out what is commanding their attention away from the lessons. Approach them from a place of understanding, just as a teacher would in a classroom. If there is too much going on around them, find a room that is more out of the way for them to take classes in. If they are in a noisy environment, find them a comfortable pair of headphones with a microphone and teach them how to use it.
Observe their lesson when you can to make sure you are helping them as much as you can. Remember, this is going to be a process of eliminating distractions one by one so keep following up whenever you can.
Let’s try to keep these words from Dr. Goleman fresh in our minds: “…attention is the basis of the most essential of leadership skills—emotional, organizational, and strategic intelligence. And never has it been under greater assault.” While this year has certainly been a challenge, it is also presenting us with unforeseen opportunities to reinforce and teach EI lessons.
View this time as an opportunity to teach your child these crucial skills at an early age, giving them a head start on these lessons they will spend their entire lives learning. Let me know in the comments how you plan to help your child grow and adapt to these topical challenges.