The Focus Trap:
Parents come into our Naperville and Chicago learning lab all the time expressing concerns about how distracted their children are. There is rampant concern about focus throughout our society. Whether a child is diagnosed with ADHD or not, parents may be all-too-quick to assign the label, nonetheless. But, why? When there is a diagnostic label, then there is a treatment for it, right?
Let’s pause for a moment. Think about those devices that are practically attached to our children’s hips—those pesky smart phones. Isn’t it interesting how the smarter our phones become, the less adept we become in using our brain? That is the distraction. As long as children have Google and the clever apps for performing various functions, guess what is not happening. You got it! Children are not thinking for themselves.
At both our Chicago and Naperville locations, we have begun to implement a program on mindfulness. It is something that we utilize before beginning a session of Fit Math or Fit Reading. This enables us to promote a more focused climate before starting the learning process. Whether the child’s mind is still engrossed in frustrations from the school day or wondering what they may be missing on Snapchat, our mindfulness program provides an opportunity to unwind. Furthermore, a child’s executive functioning (organizing the brain) is dramatically improved with the addition of a mindful start to the learning process.
We spend so much time dwelling in the past or thinking about what may lie ahead, but there’s one thing we all seem to struggle with—being present. Author Eckhart Tolle is among the biggest proponents of being present, having said, “The past has no power over the present moment.” By taking measures to bring our students to a “present” state, we have been able to greatly increase the child’s focus during his or her learning session. Our professional staff in Naperville and Chicago are all well-trained in our mindfulness program and all have sited significant session improvements with the mindful start than without it.