Most parents understand the pressures that are placed on children at school, whether it is homework, exams, deadlines, or even just keeping up. Often when a child is not coping many are sent for educational assessments, as learning disabilities seem to be on the rise in the classroom. However, not every child requires an intervention, and often it is just a case of boosting their concentration and memory.
“When a child is believed to have concentration problems in the classroom the common signs associated with this include low marks, a dislike for school and disruptive behaviour in class. However, these signs do not automatically mean that your child has a learning issue and therefore requires an assessment,” explains Rashmita Davechand, brand manager for Tibb Health Sciences Xcel. “Other factors need to be taken into consideration as to why your child is behaving in this way.”
Davechand recommends looking at the following factors to identify the reason for a child’s poor behaviour and performance in class:
- Your child’s sleep routine and the chance of a lack of sleep. Should a child not be getting the recommended 8-10 hours of sleep per night, she won’t be able to concentrate in class the way as she is meant to.
- Diet is very important when it comes to concentration. Should there be a high amount of sugar and fat, and very little nutritional food in a child’s diet she will not be able to concentrate. Also, skipping breakfast before school is a big no-no, as a hungry child cannot be expected to perform their best in class.
- Excessive screen time, especially before bedtime will also affect school performance. A study by the National Institutes of Health showed that children who spend more than two hours on their screens per day have a lower thinking/reasoning power and language processing ability. Children who spend seven hours on their screens showed that their brain cortex which is responsible for reasoning and critical thinking is much thinner.
- Children who are experiencing traumas at home, such as divorce, death, or domestic violence, can have issues performing in class, and will possibly not form any attachments to teachers or peers to confide in. These types of traumas have shown to negatively affect concentration, memory and the organisational and language skills needed for successful schooling.
- Medication and illnesses such as low thyroid function and iron deficiency can cause problems with schooling. Knowing about these and how they can affect your child in the classroom needs to be communicated to their teacher.
If a child is assessed according with these factors in mind, and it is found that their poor performance in class is associated more with their environment and not due to a learning disability, there are many ways in which to try and help the child succeed in school.
A few simple and effective changes to their environment to aid with their schooling issues include:
- Ensuring they are in bed at an appropriate bedtime. By doing so your child will be more likely to concentrate in class without feeling tired.
- Change their diet to include more healthy options such as fruit and vegetables, and limit sugar options in the house. It may be difficult in the beginning, but soon your child will become accustomed to it. Children also follow by example, so this is a good time to change the family’s diet at the same time.
- Adding an additional supplement to their diet can help them get the nutrients they need to help them concentrate. Xcel from Tibb Health Sciences is a multi-herbal formula that can assist children in improving concentration, enhancing memory, and combating mental fatigue. Available in syrup form and tablets, Xcel is suitable for school going children aged 6 and up.
- Limit screen time. Researchers at the Witwatersrand University, together with researchers from around the world conducted research that provided the following screen time guidelines: children under two years old should avoid any screen time; two to four years olds should not exceed one hour per day; children from the ages of five to 17 are allowed two hours of screen time per day.
- Unfortunately, trauma is experienced by many children, and finding ways to get your child to open up to you may be difficult. Children need to feel safe in their environment in order to express their feelings, and a safe space where they know there will be no judgement needs to be created and respected.
- If your child is on a medication or has an illness that affects their concentration at school, report it to their doctor who may have another suggestion. Their teacher should also be kept informed, so that added pressure is not put on them to perform due to a circumstance that is out of their control.
“Providing your child with the tools to succeed in school without the added stress of lack of concentration and memory gives them the opportunity to enjoy their time at school and work to their potential,” comments Davechand.