If your child is involved in organized sports, you’ve probably noticed that at practices and games, some children are focused, listening to the coach and doing what they are asked, whereas other children seem to be doing anything but - daydreaming, fidgeting, watching the birds fly by or picking dandelions. What allows some children to stay focused and on task despite all the distractions?
When my daughter wakes up in the morning and gets out of bed, a small ruckus of howls, barks and a tap dance of doggy toenails on linoleum begin downstairs. If you ask Samantha about it, she smiles knowingly to herself. Her dogs, Daisy and Izzy, are over the moon to greet her every morning. This type of unconditional love is what most parents are after when we imagine what it might be like to introduce a pet into our home. Just don’t expect this type of happy harmony to happen overnight.
Recently, I have had a slew of parents contact me about their three year olds. The email is always about the same: “Can you give me some advice about my three-year-old son? He has always been a great sleeper, going right to sleep on his own and staying in his bed until it was time to wake up. This all ended last week when he suddenly refused to lay down unless my husband or I lay with him. When we get up to leave, he will wake and scream for us. The other night, we put him back to bed over 20 times and it was so exhausting that we ended up just letting him stay with us. It was horrible as he was so upset. He still naps so we talked about taking those away. What can we do?”
We are living in an age of constant interruption. So when it comes to setting and accomplishing goals in the future, kids who learn how to concentrate and focus will have a distinct advantage over those who cannot. We need to help our children learn how and when to put their blinders on so they can apply focused goal-setting to challenges of their own choosing. Achieving personal goals helps kids channel the energy they have today productively, and inspires them to become more confident action-takers in the future.
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