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9 Signs Your Child Might Have a Concentration Problem


Young boy at homework desk looking out the window.

Many young people have a difficult time sitting down and focusing in class and at home when studying. Younger students, in particular, have a lot of energy—so it can be difficult for them to sit still and place all their concentration on course material. They also don’t have the years of experience and self-control to stay focused yet.

Kids sometimes get distracted and can’t focus—especially when they’re stressed or overwhelmed. Many parents might jump to the conclusion that their child has an issue such as ADD/ADHD, but that’s not always the case. Focus issues don’t always mean your child has a learning disability. What’s important for parents to take note of is how often their child is showing signs of a concentration issue and if the behaviour hinders his or her ability to learn.

If you’re worried your child may have a concentration problem, read on to learn 9 common signs of focusing problems in children (and the red flags you should be on the lookout for).

Focus Issue Red Flags To Watch Out For

Red Flag #1: Often Staring Into Space

What to watch for: Your child is constantly looking out the window or into space while he or she is supposed to be engaged in an activity like homework or chores.

Red Flag #2: Unable To Maintain A Train Of Thought

What to watch for: When your child is telling a story, it is often convoluted and he or she jumps to unrelated stories without knowing it. If something interrupts the story, your child has a difficult time remembering where the story left off.

Red Flag #3: Needing Directions Repeated

What to watch for: Your child gets distracted when doing a task and needs you to repeat the directions to remember what’s needed of him or her.

Red Flag #4: Unable To Focus On One Task At A Time

What to watch for: When your child studies, he or she does a small amount of work in multiple subjects, but isn’t able to focus on one task to completion. Your child may present this tendency as multitasking.

Red Flag #5: Taking A Lot Of Time To Finish A Task

What to watch for: Your child takes two or three times the amount of time it should take to complete an activity because he or she gets sidetracked.

Red Flag #6: Feeling “Dumb” or “Ditzy”

What to watch for: Your child constantly gets upset with him or herself and feels like he or she can’t get anything done. Your child may be blaming him or herself when dealing with these concentration issues, which can also lead to low self-esteem.

Red Flag #7: Fidgetiness

What to watch for: Your child always has something to fiddle with when sitting down to do homework or in class. Even objects such as eating utensils, glasses, or pencils are fiddled with when they’re not in use.

Red Flag #8: Unable to Get (And Keep!) Tasks & Belongings Organized

What to watch for: Your child feels flustered when having to organize his or her time and belongings. He or she often feels overwhelmed or flustered when getting ready in the morning, constantly loses items, and forgets what he or she was doing or working on.

Red Flag #9: Doesn’t Seem To Be Listening When Spoken To

What to watch for: When you’re speaking directly to your child, he or she doesn’t seem to react to what you’re saying. Instead, he or she may look at other things in the room while you’re talking. You feel like your child quickly loses interest in what you (or others) are saying to him or her.

Does This Sound Like Your Child?

If you believe your child may have attention issues, the first thing to remember is that these issues are common and can be dealt with very effectively. Up to 11 percent of children aged 4-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD. Once you’ve identified that your child struggles with concentration issues, it’s time to start tackling them.

Next Steps

Going forward there are a number of steps you can take to help your child deal with his or her concentration issues:

  • Speak to your child’s teacher to identify any in-class issues
  • Talk with your child about the struggles he or she is having
  • See a specialist who can test for these issues
  • Contact a GradePower Learning location

    GradePower Learning provides specific programs for learning difficulties that offer personalized support and guidance your child needs.

    More Resources

    How To Concentrate On Homework Without Getting Distracted

    6 Strategies To Help Students Become More Confident Learners

    Why Smart Kids Get Bad Grades

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