The major cause of distraction among the Generation Alpha is shorter attention span due to various technological advances. Dubbed Generation Alpha, those born since 2010 are reported as having shorter attention spans than their older siblings and schoolmates. Raised as screenagers, this generation used screens from the youngest age as pacifiers, entertainers and educational aids.
The earlier generation was used to reading books which took them a couple of days to complete, however the current generation are used to watching videos or reels which hardly takes a minute to watch. Thus the attention span is being reduced with each passing generation resulting in distractions. The Generation Alpha are used to flicking or swiping past things that don't engage them. That saturation may lead to shorter attention spans, the gamification of education, increased digital literacy and impaired social formation.
Here are some strategies on how to make children focus on the task at hand:
- Remove Visual Distractions
When a child is struggling with a difficult task, clutter in the classroom or on the desk can make it impossible to keep his/her brain where it needs to be. Remove unnecessary clutter and visual experiences from the workspace. This gives the child fewer excuses for not focusing on the task at hand.
- Play Memory Games
Memory games help hone that focus for kids in a fun way, so that they are able to concentrate when something challenging is presented. Even a simple game of red-light-green-light, I-Spy or Simon Says forces a child to concentrate. Memory matching cards or the game Concentration can also be used to increase attention.
- Break Tasks into Pieces
Have the child focus long enough to perform part of the task, then take a break, coming back to the project to finish. Children with attention struggles may actually perform the requested task faster with this strategy than if they simply tried to finish it all in one sitting.
- Try mindfulness
Mindfulness exercises are all about paying attention and focusing. Studies have shown that mindfulness can help kids improve their behavior and their ability to focus on lessons and on schoolwork.
One way to practice is to sit quietly and focus on breathing in and out. Taking even a few deep breaths before class or a test could make a difference.
- Get Your Child on a Consistent Schedule
Children who have focus issues become even more distracted and off task when they do not follow a consistent schedule.
- Get Organized
A notebook with three sections labeled "Work to be completed," "Work Completed" and "Work to be Saved" may be used to help students organize their assignments. Color-coding notebooks for different subjects may also be helpful for organizing work.
- Allow Time to Wind Down
Many students with attention problems have trouble falling asleep at night. It is helpful for them to have an established routine for going to bed at night. For example, they could read a book or have a book read to them.
Parents can use the above mentioned strategies to increase the attention span and reduce the scope for distraction. By taking conscious steps, parents can help the children focus on the task at hand.