Home' Aurora : Aurora July 2015 Contents 9
www.mnnews.today/aurora-magazine Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
Although ever y child is unique in his
or her learning style, there are some
things you can do which will benefit
all children in the room; and there
other things you can do which
will help children who find it difficult to
“r egulate” on their ow n. Each child’s brain
development occurs at different rates and
it may be easier for some children to sit still
and focus while there will be others who
constantly fidget, walk around the room,
take a long time to complete tasks and
find any excuse to be out of their seat. Try
some of the following :
When providing instructions to
children , help them break ins tr uctions
down. For example, if you say “It’s
time to pack up now ”, you would
break it down fur ther by going up
to the child and prompting them to
think of what to do first. For example,
“What do you need to do first?” and
then you would say, “And what is
next?” Reward the child by verbally
praising them for taking the steps even
if you needed to prompt them.
If you notice children becoming
distr acted, gently remind them to get
back on task and you may consider
using a physical prompt – eg say their
name and ask them to tell you what
they were supposed to be doing
or walk up to the child, lean down
to their level, touch them on the
shoulder and remind him or her
of the task.
Allow regular inter vals of “downtime”
before things get out of hand.
For example, after 20 minutes of
concentration, perhaps allow children
to do something calming such as
colouring, or co mpleting a physical
task for the teacher. These grounding
activities allow the child to refocus.
Fidget toys or anything fiddly that can
be played with in their hands are also
useful for grounding. This may wor k
well when the teacher is engaging in
“ talking” where the child is required
only to listen – such as when the
teacher is reading to the class. Having
something in the child’s hands such as
play doh or a small squishy toy may
actually improve the ability to focus on
what is being said.
Transition times can be ex tr a difficult
for children, so when returning
fro m outdoor play, it may be useful
to engage in a non -demanding
activity first eg colouring, focusing on
breathing or a fidget toy.
Provide positive reassurance when
children engage in positive behaviours
and do this publicly so other children
also see this.
For the children who have difficulty
staying on task, be prepared with
a variety of prompts and tools in
advance. Look for cues that the child
is becoming “dysregulated” and use
one of the above positive approaches
rather than a punitive one. It can be
difficult for many children to know
why they display difficult behaviours
so in the first instance, suppor ting
the children regulating themselves is
better than punishment.
If you are noticing a child physically
expressing an emotion (such as
sadness or frustration), help him or
her to name that emotion (emotion
coaching) . Then you can talk about
what might make them feel bet ter.
There are some great tips on teaching
websites that can also help you to suppor t
children’s lear ning. Have a look at the Kids
Matter website, kidsmatter.edu.au, as a
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I work in a preschool and despite my training in early childhood development, I sometimes find it difficult to
support children who become distracted easily, and in turn, end up distracting other children. I would like to
help these young children prepare for school and am interested in some quick techniques to help all children
focus to the best of their ability. I do encourage fun and playtime during the day but when it comes to task-
oriented activities, I would like some more ideas on how to help children focus. Any suggestions ?
CHILDREN TO FOCUS
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