Teaching your child patience


Most people know that the late Steve Jobs enthusiastically filled the world with gadgets (iPod, iPad, and iPhone) that transformed the way most people listen to music, entertain themselves and communicate. However, many people are unaware that he deliberately regulated his daughters’ exposure to computers and technology products. Steve Jobs wasn’t alone as there are a growing number of high-tech executives who also take measures to limit their children’s exposure to the technology they produce, design and market. Key factors behind these decisions are the technology’s overwhelming attraction and addiction which distract children from developing all their talents. Steve Jobs thought that limiting his daughters’ computer use would help them develop a love for creative expression. What parents need to do is let children be children. Children need to grow with all the interacting, creativity and spontaneity of childhood. They need to do things like play games, eat together as a family and solve problems together. 

One of the major problems arising from overuse and overexposure to technology (computers, tablets, smartphones) is lack of patience and inability to focus. This is becoming a growing problem as technology is nowadays so pervasive and seems to have invaded every part of our life.  The ability to pay attention is an essential skill for success in school and in reaching life goals. Life is full of distractions, and the fast pace of living makes focusing difficult for children. 

What can you do to help your child develop the skill of focusing?

1. Developing skills takes time
It’s easy to see that children learn behaviour skills over a long period of time. Their motivation for performing skills changes as they mature. Younger children conform in order to avoid punishment or to get a reward. Later they may do the right thing to show consideration. Finally, skills like paying attention are internalised and become part of their code of behaviour. This is a long process that takes patience and lots of parental support.
2. Cut back on technology for entertainment
Minimise use of the computer and TV and play some board games with them. Computers may hold a kid’s attention for the short term. Children know that they can just start the computer game over again, if they get a low score. In contrast, games like checkers, backgammon, chess and Mastermind encourage children to pay attention and continue trying. The classic game scrabble, works well for improving those spelling and language skills.
3. Build something
Construction, building something from parts into a whole is a beneficial activity for developing focus. Children of any age can put together models of cars, boats, houses and most anything. Children can practice reading, following directions and patience.
4. Reading
When children read for pleasure, they are reading books that they choose and have a passion for. They’re more likely to practice paying attention while reading their choice of books.
5. Music, sports and art
Practising a musical instrument provides lessons in focusing. A child gets quick feedback because he hears and recognises a wrong note and can attempt to correct it right away. He is learning by mistakes and can self-correct. Participation in art, helps a child to stay on task until the completion of the project. Sports of all kinds encourage children to work as a team, learn sequential skills and pay attention to coaches. Dancing and drama teach the same skills.

Children are increasingly having more difficulty paying attention. The many distractions of life’s rapid pace and overuse of technology are two factors influencing this trend. Paying attention, like most behaviour skills, is learned gradually, but it is crucial for reaching life’s goals. You can encourage your child to engage in activities that will promote their ability to focus.

no comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *