Helping Support the Focused Student


With a little preparation and planning, we can make a big difference in helping our children succeed as focused, productive students.



I wouldn’t say that we get all “loosey goosey” around here in the summertime. We maintain pretty stable bedtimes and eat three regular meals each and every day. Still, there’s no denying that summer has a whole different feel to it than the school year.


  • Kids get distracted by pretending they’re pirates during breakfast? Who cares if the meal takes over an hour? It’s summer!


  • Plans to do a read-along of Charlotte’s Web fall through the cracks? Just renew it and try again later– it’s summer!


  • Friends invite us to their campsite and we don’t stagger home until 10:30 PM? Oh, well! It’s summer!



Such is life, even with a pretty consistent regimen like ours


It’s time to get it together, though, and that means coming up with with some tricks and techniques that will really help our children stay focused as they face busy school days.


Here are some things that we (try to) implement around here to make things as smooth as possible:


Healthy, balanced breakfasts at predictable times


During the summer, my son might have his oatmeal at 7 AM and the girls might not stumble to the table until close to 9. And that was fine. Now that school’s back, breakfast will be on the table by 7AM and I’ll expect all of them there by 7:15. Protein will make an appearance alongside fresh fruit and grains to stick with them through their busy mornings.


Consistent, routine bedtimes


Even though we never abandon bedtimes altogether, we definitely loosen up in the summer. During the school year? Our children will be in bed by 8 PM every night. (I have young children, remember– all eight and under.) We try hard to keep a standard routine of supper, shower, game, stories, bed every evening. That predictability helps everyone settle down and prepare for rest. Bedtime routines aren’t just for babies!


A place for homework to happen


These days, there are tips and tutorials for some of the cutest little homework nooks you’d ever want to see. If I was a swoon-y, squee-ing kind of girl, I’d likely be all giddy. The fact of the matter is– different kiddos need different things. One child might thrive at the kitchen table, in the midst of all the food prep and chaos, with you at the ready to assist. Another might make stellar progress when given a quiet, private spot to work. What really matters isn’t WHAT or WHERE we use– it’s just that we find the right fit.


A focused mama


Here’s the thing– at the end of the day, having all the routines in the world in place isn’t going to help if I’m scattered and off-track. If I want my children to be able to be focused and on-task, I need to be able to do the same. This requires that, like them, I be well-rested and well-nourished. I don’t need to be perfect, certainly, but it sure helps to be organized and to start the day with a plan.


Those are a few things that work well for us. What are your best tips for supporting your children in being focused students? 


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2 comments to Helping Support the Focused Student

  • Susan

    I completely agree with you. Our 12 year old goes to bed by 9PM most nights (even on weekends and summer.) Then, he wakes on his own by 6:30AM or earlier. Even on non-school days, it doesn’t vary by more than a half hour. He eats breakfast every day. Now that we have to leave the house by 6:45AM, sometimes breakfast is on the run. This morning he ate waffles, sausage and milk in the car, on the way to the bus stop (15 minutes away.) I also pack an afternoon snack that he can eat on the bus on the way home. Homework is typically done at our kitchen table or in the family room (next to the kitchen.) The TV is always off until homework is completed. It works for our family and my son is an “A” student.

  • Kathy

    We do a lot of the same. My little one is in bed by 7:00. The 9 & 10 year old by 8:00. I did some research on sleep after a couple years of teaching. I felt like most of my students were always tired. I looked up recommended hours of sleep for kids and found that most of my students were not getting any where close to that. My kids don’t always get the recommended amount but we are not way off. We also follow a routine. I have to stay at school for 30 minutes by contract, so my kids do their homework while they wait for me to be ready to leave. Then when we get home they do chores and then pick a preferred activity. We are consistent all week in an attempt to stay on track. I do have to say it is very hard to stay consistent when society tries to invade on family time.

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