One very effective strategy we’ve found is to simply find a quiet place for them. When we’re upstairs in the schoolroom, my son will often go to the guest bedroom upstairs and work there. If he’s still getting distracted by us, we’ll shut the doors to both rooms. (And to be fair to him, it’s hard not to be distracted when your little brother is running across the room and doing flips into a beanbag chair.)
My daughter will sometimes go out into the hall into a little green chair to study her Awana verses away from us.
Things that typically make a good quiet place:
Nearby me, but in another room. This way I can check on progress every fifteen minutes or so.
Away from any toys. For this reason, sending my kids to their rooms would not work.
Away from distractions (like windows). If we are in the kitchen and I have my son go to the dining room, I face him away from the window. Fewer squirrels to watch.
I heard of a kid that did some schoolwork in the bathroom—very few distractions! My kids will sometimes work in the hallway outside the bathroom while I give my toddler a bath.
Other ideas we have not done, but could be used to minimize distractions:
- White noise machine (or fan) to block out sounds
- Ear plugs or headphones to block out sounds
- Tri-fold posterboard thing like you’d use for a science project to put around their work area to cut down on visual distractions
- Sticky notes over the other areas on the page they haven’t gotten to yet (to help them focus on the problems they are on)
Other great ideas for highly distractible children can be found at: http://www.westfieldacademy.org/adhd/ (This is Carol Barnier’s SizzleBop information.)
What quiet places work well for your kids? Or can they actually concentrate with everyone in the same room together?