Supporting children to stay focussed on their home learning

Some children may find it very hard to remain focused for extended periods of time. Below are some of the strategies we use in school to help children with this.

Clear daily timetables - Having a clear timetable for the day really helps children to know what is expected of them and also to prepare themselves for what is coming next.

Visual timetables really help and many children find it really useful to remove the picture once that session is completed. This allows them to see the day in sections and therefore make it much more manageable.

See Downloads for a printable version of a daily timetable.

See Downloads for a printable version of a daily task planner.

Reduce distractions - Learning at home can be challenging for some children, particularly those who see school as the place for learning and home is not.

Select seating wisely - You know your child best and know what will distract them at home. Generally advice is to try to avoid seating near doors or windows as this can provide potential distractions.

Allow distraction blockers  - Fidget toys are often used to provide sensory input in a less distracting way. They can help improve concentration and attention to tasks by allowing the brain to filter out the extra sensory information e.g. listening to a lesson.

Go with your child - It is really good to encourage your child to share how they are feeling at the start of each session so you can judge what you are going to ask them to do and how many learning breaks etc might be needed.

Break work down into smaller sections

Now and Next - When children are faced with a piece of work, sometimes it can feel like they have a mountain to climb. Breaking it down into much smaller sections can really help children focus on one task at a time, without feeling overwhelmed. Equally, using a 'Now and Next' model can also help to hold children's attention and keep them interested.

When using a now and next board, the now tends to be a learning / demanding activity and the next is usually a reward/motivator. For example, if your child was working in year 2 and they were writing a letter it might look a little like this:

Now: Write the introduction of the letter

Next: 5 mins lego building

Now: Write the middle of the letter

Next: 5 mins lego building... and so on.

The key to success with these boards is to ensure that children have a clear understanding of the time. Use of sand timers or even Alexa (if you have one) can be very useful.

Learning Breaks - Learning Breaks for children are when children are given a short mental break from the focused task taken at regular intervals. Most learning breaks range from around 5 to 20 minutes as a general rule, although most people prefer to keep them short. For maximum success, it’s usually best to include a physical activity.

The benefits of using learning breaks include helping children to:

  • be calmer
  • remain focused
  • less prone to daydreaming
  • in a better mental place to face the next challenge

As we all know, children have lots of expendable energy and it can often present itself at inopportune times.

Learning breaks have also shown to significantly reduce stress and anxiety levels too, providing organic improvements to learning and higher engagement levels.

Brain break activity ideas

Link to 'Time for a brain break' below.

Link to below.

Managing the balance between screen time and online learning

As a school, we appreiciate that it can be difficult managing screentime limits and suporting your child to use technology safely when school are setting remote learning online. Below is a guide to support you with this with 10 easy tips to follow. 

Link to '10 Top Remote Learning Tips for Parents' below.

As always, if you need any support with keeping your children safe online, please contact your child's class teacher or Miss Finch via the school office. 


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To get in touch with Castle Academy please click on the link below, or call us on 01604 346802

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