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Try These Fun Activities At Home To Build Attention, Focus, and Planning Skills

Children building

Paying attention is hard—especially for kids! Child psychologists in Littleton know just how short little attention spans can be, and how challenging other tasks of executive functioning, such as planning ahead, paying attention to detail, and multitasking can be. Whether your child has been diagnosed with ADHD or not, try these fun activities at home to help build up these important skills.

Cook and Bake To Help Kids Practice Following Directions

Do you have memories of baking cookies with grandma, or helping your parents prepare dinner when you were a child? You probably didn’t realize it at the time, but they were helping you to learn valuable life skills! Baking in particular requires careful, accurate measurements, and attention to time. Just an extra teaspoon or a few extra minutes will turn tasty cookies into a hard, burnt mess, and these natural consequences can help children realize how important it is to stay focused on the task at hand. A tip from Highlands Ranch play therapists is to “reserve” some of the materials just in case. Ending on a successful note makes everyone happier!

Explore Natural Consequences and Reactions with Science Experiments

Is your child always asking “what would happen if…?” Indulge some of those curiosities and explore cause-and-effect when you invite your child to perform some science experiments! This could be as simple as mixing slime or homemade dough, as spontaneous as mixing leftover kitchen ingredients, or as complicated as your older child would like it to be. Whether you are performing advanced chemistry or just trying to see “will more soap make even more bubbles?” make sure to invite your child to think about and predict the reactions, then to interpret the consequences. Child behavior psychologists use similar in-vivo activities to help children understand that their actions have consequences (good and bad, sometimes explosive!) and to plan for the future.

Try “Racing” To Build Time Awareness

If your child is always running late, taking too long, or feeling rushed, it can help to improve her awareness and sense of time. Turn it into a game and you’ll be amazed at the results! Proposing a “race” (either against a parent, or against your child’s best time), can be a good way to shift the focus to speed without rushing or pressure. For example, time your child’s bedtime routine to see how fast she really can get teeth brushed and pajamas on, or measure how long it actually takes to complete homework. With repeated practice, this can help your child “sense” how long blocks of time (a minute, 5 minutes, an hour) may actually be. Since little brains are still developing, your child therapist reminds you that this can take years of practice to perfect!

Some of the games, routines, and rituals that parents have practiced with children since the dawn of time can teach valuable life lessons. If everyday interventions and tips are not enough to help your child manage life at home and at school successfully, you’re not alone. Consider working with a child psychologist in Littleton for ADHD evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment.