How to Keep School Children on Task

The biggest complaint I get from parents is that their child has a lack of focus and cannot stay on task long enough to get their work done. Parents even admit that they get so frustrated by their child's inability to stay on task that they often end up doing their child's homework just to help the problem go away!

There could be many reasons why a child finds it difficult to stay on task. Children find it difficult to stay on task when the task is boring and repetitive or they don't know why they have to do it. Children who have a poor sense of responsibility may not take ownership of the task and wait until someone does it for them. But the main reason children find it difficult to stay on task is because they don't understand what they have to do.

The problem is that when children don't finish their work they miss important learning opportunities and may never get the grades they deserve. So, rather than nagging your child to complete a task or even doing it yourself here are some things you can do if your child finds it difficult to stay on task.

1. Make sure that your child knows what they have to do.
Try asking your child these questions;
* What do you need to do?
* What can you do to solve this problem?
* Are you sure you know how to do this?
* Do you need any help?

2. Set a goal.
Children quickly get off task when they are unsure about what result they are aiming for. Make sure that your child understands the goal of any piece of work. The goal may be to write five pages, finish a worksheet, plan a project, study for a test. Make sure that you child will recognize when he or she has reached this goal.

3. Help your child set up steps to reach the goal.
Students need to see how small steps can help them reach big goals. When your child can see small steps that he knows he can do he will not be overwhelmed by the larger task.

4. Celebrate each step.
Check lists are good for this. Write out the steps your child has to go through and check them off when they are completed. This provides your child with the encouragement he needs to go to the next step.

5. Keep a record of progress.
Nothing succeeds like success. Keep a list of all the tasks your child has completed. That way he will know that he can stay on task and that he can get his work done.

If, after trying all these steps, your child still has difficulty staying on task the chances are that he or she has a learning difficulty of some kind. You need to discover what it is and what you can do about it so that your child can get back to learning as soon as possible.

Dr. Patricia Porter is an educational consultant who specializes in working with parents who are concerned about their child's education and want to know how they can help your child learn in the most efficient, effective ways possible.

If you are interested in knowing more download her free 'Parent Starter Kit' at