How To Be Great At Paying Attention

Paying Attention Is Easy When You Are Doing Something Fun

Most of us want to get better at paying attention, but no matter how hard we try, distractions abound. From work to life to play, we find it very difficult to remain focused – and research has shown that our educational style and system is largely responsible. 

You see, we learn to drive by staying on the road, meaning that the more we engage in activities that captivate our attention… the more we are practicing paying attention… and so the better you get at it. The western education system is all about training kids to pay attention by forcing them to practice paying attention to things they are not interested in! Fixing this, and our inability to pay attention can be done through self-directed learning.

In addition to school work, we need to create spaces that encourage kids to be self-directed learners because it is one of the most important skills that anyone can develop. In today’s world, self-directed learners are becoming increasingly rare. We need to champion the development of people that can learn on their own and develop their own unique ideas about learning. But, making these changes as adults can be hard – let’s make it easier for kids.

It's Easier To Trust Kids Who Know How To Pay Attention

Below, we’ll go into how you can help your kids to become self-directed learners.

Stop Interrupting

A lot of adults seldom let their kids play on their own. They are always interrupting their kids play and trying to take control. Kids are smart enough to entertain themselves. They find fun in a lot of things. If you keep on disrupting their play, you are preventing them from developing their self-directed learning facilities. You also prevent them from developing their focus and attention. Only interrupt if it is necessary for you to do so.

Let your kids explore

Kids should be allowed to explore unencumbered and undisturbed. Provide your kids with toys that teach them to be creative. Give them tools that will inspire them and unleash their creativity. Loose parts and putting things together can make them creative as kids learn a lot through open-ended play.

Encourage Independence

Ensure that your home is set up in a way that encourages your kids to be independent. Your attitude is the most important thing in setting up a self-directed learning environment. Stop being frustrated by little things, if kids see that you don’t like them exploring, they won’t be as creative as they should be.

Trust your kids

Because we love our kids, we are always quick to jump in and help – slow down, let them try. Because it is from trying and sometimes failing that we learn. When you do something wrong and try to fix it, you teach yourself to learn. Allowing kids to try things out themselves, even if they fail is a great way to encourage self-directed learning, and to improve their ability to pay attention.

Blog Post by Adam Brock
Youth Coach, Teacher, Digital Media Specialist



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18 Replies to “How To Be Great At Paying Attention”

  1. I don’t have kids on my own, but I agree that learning to learn and focusing on self-directed learning is the way to go to arm our children with the best tools for the future. Exploring, researching and analyzing is the best ways to learn.

  2. These are all excellent tips for parents. I love the part about not interrupting them and letting them explore. Getting them outside and giving them many opportunities to explore is so key.

  3. These are really good advises. It’s important to trust your kids and give them trust that your parents are always with you no matter what happened. I don’t have kids but my parents are always give me a trust and supports me in exploring myself and exploring other things.

  4. Your post has come to me very well! I really have a problem sometimes to concentrate and pay attention. I’m not a type of controller and I do not get into the kids’ games. It often happens that children are looking for my attention and that I am not concentrated enough to play with them.

  5. These are some really good parenting advice. It is so important to listen to your kids, spend time with them and give them independence to make mistakes and learn from them. There is no need to be a Helicopter parent!

  6. I admit I have a hard time interrupting. I think it was because as a child I had to deal with my brother who could talk over everyone and never stop talking. So the moment I get a thought in my head I want to get it out for fear of not being able to state it. I know it’s not good though.

  7. So good! I think this applies to my younger brother who is 8. We need to encourage independent learning/play and not interrupt as much but also try to develop is creativity as right now he is obsessed with gadgets and tv! Thanks for sharing, great post.

  8. One of the things I always try to remember is simply waiting for my turn to talk. Not thinking of the next thing I’m going to say, but being quiet and truly taking it in. I also always try to focus in the things in the conversation where I know we agree. When it’s my turn to talk, I’ll find a way to lead with the things we agree with. xx

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