As we embark on this 11-day journey through the “non-academic” skills all children need, starting with the skill of paying attention, I just want to remind you that these shouldn’t be complicated. Don’t get overwhelmed, just do what you can. And – if you have questions, make sure to reach out! I’m ready and available to support you during this unexpected break from school!
Download this article as a PDF to read later. Find it HERE.
Skill #1: Paying Attention
Though it might seem fairly self-explanatory, paying attention can look very different based on the environment and expectations. For example, some teachers define paying attention as: in your seat, facing the teacher, with needed work out and ready. Other teachers may define it as facing the teacher, raising your hand to speak and answering questions. How you define paying attention isn’t important. What is important is actually defining it and having your child practice it as you want them to.
Hint for Teachers: If there is a way that you want parents to practice paying attention, let them know!
How to Practice Paying Attention
- Reading stories aloud
- Having them do online activities that require you (or an online instructor) give them instructions
- Teach a new game
- Go over the schedule for the day
- Introduce an art activity
- Cook together (paying attention is so important when following a recipe)
- Imaginative play
- Introducing chores
- Tell a story
- YouTube videos that teach a new skill (for example; doodling, drawing, sewing, etc)
Reinforce the Skill of Paying Attention
Setting up a simple reinforcement around this particular skill can be very simple.
Step 1: Define the behavior clearly. Make sure your child knows exactly what you want paying attention to look like.
Step 2: Decide when you want to work on the skill. There is no right amount. Ultimately, your goal should be to make this time doable for you and your child.
Step 3: Decide what kind of reinforcement you want to use and how often they receive it. For example, you may offer a sticker or some other kind of reward for paying attention for a certain amount of time.
Step 4: Discuss what the plan is with your child and then stick to it. Consistency is key when it comes to reinforcing behavior!
TIP: Figure out what you and your child can handle and don’t push past that. Even a little bit of time spent on these skills can bring big changes!
Find More Resources
No matter what your goals are for this time, make sure to check out the other resources I offer for parents and teachers. Then, come back tomorrow and let’s talk about the next skill all children need to know!