How to help children focus in the classroom

Written by shaunta alburger
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How to help children focus in the classroom
Accomodations and tools help children focus in school. (Apple and the alphabet. image by mashe from

There are many reasons a child might have trouble focusing in the classroom. Whether the student has a documented attention deficit disorder, autism, socioeconomic problems causing their distraction, or sensory issues, there are tricks and tools to help them maintain the focus they need to be successful.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Study corral
  • Weighted vest or lap mat
  • Designated self-regulation spot
  • Learning disability accommodations

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  1. 1

    Provide the student who has trouble focusing with a designated study area. Rather than setting that student apart by moving their desk, set up a study corral that the child can choose to work at when the sensory information in the classroom becomes overwhelming.

  2. 2

    Provide a child who is fidgety with a weighted vest or lap mat. The pressure helps to ease the need to wiggle and has proven especially effective with kids who have autism spectrum disorders. A designated fidget toy might help as well, giving the child a permissible way to expel their need for motion without being distracting to the rest of the classroom.

  3. 3

    Teach the student to self-regulate. Most children who have problems focusing, especially if the trouble stems from sensory issues, are aware of their behaviour and can learn to self-regulate. Provide the child with a designated and safe place to go when they need to regroup. This could be the school office, the school library, or the nurse's office. Somewhere out of the line of sight of the other students is best.

  4. 4

    Find out if the student has learning disabilities or differences and make sure their individual needs are being met by accommodations. Some children can focus better with a coloured sheet of plastic over their reading, for instance. Often a lack of focus can be traced back to some unmet need.

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