Cheatsheet shortcut: Cultivating concentration through consistency, commitment & communication on the parents’ end
If there was anything I learned from my peers as I was growing up, I realised that what mattered was not the amount of time you put into learning but the amount of concentration you put in whilst learning. The higher the ability to concentrate, the more you absorbed, the better you would be in terms of executing that ability.
When Z was 3-4 years’ old, I had sufficient feedback to know that Z had to work on concentration. I emphasised on the importance of concentration whenever I could.
When Z learned to cycle, I told him he had to focus, look straight and balance. He did not and he rode off cycling paths, and fell into bushes.
When Z scooted in the park, I told him to focus and look out for pedestrians. He did not and at times, brushed past people and earned scoldings from both strangers and us.
When Z bladed, I told him to focus on balancing, he did not and fell more times than he ought to.
When Z was learning to swim and had to practise his strokes for tests, he would run around to play instead of practising. He failed 2 tests and had to retake the term, earning tons of scolding from me and threats of terminating swim lessons.
When Z first tried soccer, he was plucking grasses on the field. He did not listen to instructions from the coach and ran aimlessly, and earned a tirade of nags from us.
Through these experiences, Z learned why he had to focus on the tasks on hand. Many a times, I illustrated the excess play time he would have if he were to finish up his reading assignments or assessment work fast, as well as the extra time he had to put in if he was tardy in his work.
It was difficult to explain in abstract terms the concept of concentration. We had to constantly look at what they do and apply. However, the concentration challenge remained a daily renewal task. The good it did for us was that when Z paid attention, we could cruise the learning journey easily. While I did not expect my sons to be genius, I expected them to be serious learners and not dawdle at their study tables.
We had also nurtured a sense of independent learning through this. Hence, doing work independently was less of an issue for us. That was why we continued to train X in this area so that they understood and accepted the concept of doing work at a young age, and also associated doing work as fun instead of laborious and boring. At the same time, they were also able to celebrate the joy of learning when they achieved the right solution.