My son has trouble paying attention --how can I help?

  • My 6 year old son has tremendous trouble focusing in school. I’ve heard that exercise helps adults and children concentrate better and stay focused throughout the day, so I am thinking about starting a morning exercise program to help him get focused and hopefully pay better attention in school. Do any of you work out in the morning with your children? Do any of your children do early morning sports or team practices? 

  • MommyRN4-There are many things that cause trouble focusing, and so I think a really comprehensive look into what is going on would be a good idea. Esp. given that he is now in or entering elementary school and it would be good to help him develop a strong academic foundation, even at this age. There is a lot to be said for the education system not being a great fit for every kid, and that there is a lot of over diagnosis of ADHD. Some kids are just busy, and 50 years ago they could get their education and then go home and work on the farm, before and after school, thus things went better in the classroom. As the country focuses more on test scores there are more hours of standard academic topics and less PE, Art, Music-the stuff that keeps kids loving school. Given all of this I would suggest getting him evaluated for ADHD just so that you can get this off the table, so to speak. Even if he does test positive for ADHD medication is only one route of treatment. There are many other things that you can do to help him focus. Exercise might be at the top of the list! Kids that struggle with hyperactivity and lack of focus are often the brightest kids in the class, and thus sitting around watching what they feel are prolonged explanations of things, when they had the work done 20 minutes ago. Thus in this situation your son may benefit from some extra work, or accelerated classes. I think this situation calls for a phone call into his docs office to find out how to get an ADHD eval done. They may have you wait until he starts school in the fall, as they generally want teachers reports as well. But give them a call and see what is needed. Good luck and keep us posted, jess