Will Months of Remote Learning Worsen Students' Attention Problems

teen screenEveryone in the world feels the effects of COVID-19. It has reshaped the economy, workforce, and educational system all around the world. How will these changes impact our children?

According to an April EdWeek Research Center survey, “Nearly 4 of 5 teachers think their students’ ability to focus has gotten worse with school-related tasks during the shutdown.”

Until the start of social isolation, schools were a place where children could grow and develop amongst their peers, but now classes are conducted through online learning. Teachers were once the only supervisors of the classroom, but now parents are having to step in to fill this role. Everyone’s safety is the main priority, however, these changes along with additional screen time have negatively affected many students’ abilities to focus on school-related activities.

There are many factors that contribute to these findings. However, there are also ways to help improve one’s attention by strengthening executive function. You can think of the executive function as the CEO of the brain, enabling us to control our attention, focus, emotional regulation and more.

We can customize a Play Attention program for you, your child, or your students to improve the cognitive skills required for strong executive function. Click here to schedule a consultation with one of our executive function specialists.

Stress Is A Factor: If you or your child is feeling distracted or experiencing attention problems, that is completely normal. These are unprecedented times, and it is normal to feel stressed. Stress creates chemicals in the brain called stress hormones. These interfere with attention and learning. Focus and attention problems occur more for students and adults who are stressed; it's a natural response to concern and worry. There are so many changes that are taking place that it may take some adjustment before you are feeling and performing like your best self. So take some time in your day to purposely disconnect from online interaction and refocus on simply being mindful. A simple quiet pause a couple of times a day is all it takes. Simply take a deep breath and remember that you will get through this. Give your loved ones a call. Talk about good times of the past and how you'll recreate them together in a positive future. Reach out to old friends to help ease your mind and discuss your worries. When you are feeling less stressed, you can go back to being your awesome self and regain your ability to focus on your work.

Make A List: Our daily routines are currently a thing of the past. Days are starting to blend together, and we must learn how to navigate this new norm. Making a list will help establish a routine. Predictable routines have been proven effective for improving one’s executive function and academic skills. Schedule time for cooking together as family and to have family board games and puzzles night. Create a homework schedule and stick to the plan. Use lists not only for family and home use but also for school subjects. For example, schedule a specific time to do math homework, to begin your history lessons, or to do your homework. The school season is almost over, but you can practice getting into a routine this summer and have a strong start in the upcoming school year!

Reflective Talk: Communication is key to understand what everyone is going through during these times. Being able to analyze one’s behavior can help with executive function and emotional coping. Self-inquiry is key. Reflect on the decisions you made today and the results they yielded. Ask the same of your child. How did today go? What is currently on their mind? How could today be better? What are some new things you want to try? Asking questions can effectively open communication to help one cope during these times.

As summer is approaching, use this time to destress and have fun while keeping your brain sharp! Register for our free Virtual Summer Camp and take our Brain Boost Challenge!

Our free Virtual Summer Camp activities will have some video instruction but will then encourage you to unplug and explore, create, learn, and maybe even giggle! Click here to register!