By Coach Chris Beacom, M. Ed.

One of the challenges faced by coaches and parents alike is teaching kids the skill of “focus.” Too often, we ourselves are distracted or fractured in our thinking and doing, and we unwittingly model such behavior for our children. Who hasn’t tried to type an e-mail while talking on the phone? Read the newspaper while watching the television? Whatever your philosophy about multi-tasking, our behaviors are noticed and imitated by young ones around us.

So, when it comes to making “focus” an important part of what we do, we might need to slow down and consider the level of attention we pay to even the most mundane tasks. By teaching our children to bring 100% of who they are to all that they do, we are doing them a favor and training them to pay attention even when their interest wanes. Like when their room needs to be picked up … or the dog needs to be walked … or the math problems need to be completed.

One final thought about “focus” and how we as parents can teach it to our children. Make sure to praise your children when they do bring 100% concentration to their work or studies—or anything else for that matter. Let them know that you value their effort and willingness to TRY and “focus.” In doing so, your positive reinforcement will further establish the fact that “focus” makes a difference!