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May 26, 2018

I NEED HELP FOCUSING IN CLASS!

Hey Brandon, 

I’m a daydreamer, so I have the hardest time focusing in class. Sometimes, my teacher calls on me and asks me something in front of all my classmates. Because I’m so distracted, I don’t hear what the question is. Then my classmates laugh at me! Any advice for how to stay focused?

Dorky Distracted Daydreamer

Hey Dorky Distracted Daydreamer,

Oh man, I hear you. Especially in history class. It’s a total snooze fest. 🙂 

Like you, sometimes my mind just wanders. It’s all too easy to find something more interesting to think about than stuff from out of a school textbook. 

But, I still want to do well in school so that I can make my grandparents proud, get into a good college, learn stuff and be a well-rounded person. So, here are a few things that have helped me. Maybe some of them will help you, too. 

  1. Get good sleep, eat healthy food, and drink lots of water. These are basic ways to stay healthy, but they’re important for fueling your brain, too. You’ll be surprised how much different you’ll feel if you eat a healthy breakfast instead of a doughnut. Same with getting a good night’s sleep and staying hydrated from water.
  2. Engage with the lesson. Even if it doesn’t seem super interesting to you, try to ask questions, participate in discussion and stuff like that. Take notes, even if it’s not required.  Actively writing down what your teacher is saying means you have to stay focused on what they’re saying.
  3. Get rid of distractions. Classrooms are very distracting places. There are people all around, lots of movement, and tons of things happening. But there are ways to cut down on distractions. Sitting in the front of class is a good one. When there’s not much to look at besides the teacher, you might have a better time concentrating. If your class has assigned seating, you may need to ask your teacher to move you away from the window or to the front row. If you explain why, they’ll be happy to help you. They want to make sure you stay focused, too!
  4. If allowed, use a fidget tool. Fidget spinners were actually developed to help people with autism or ADHD, because doing something with their hands can help them focus. Fidget spinners aren’t the only things you can use for this purpose, though. There are other things that are made to be fidget devices, including pens with various buttons and switches, etc. But you don’t even have to have a special “fidget” device! You can use silly putty, a bracelet with beads you can move, a smooth stone in your pocket, rubber bands on your wrist, or a balloon filled with sand. 

If none of these things help, there could be a medical reason for your inability to concentrate. Sometimes problems with hearing or vision can make it really hard to focus. If you have something like ADHD, there are a number of ways schools are required to make accommodations for you.

So, talk to your parents about how you’re having trouble concentrating, but make sure they know you WANT to concentrate better. You just need their help. Together, you guys can figure out what will help you most. 

I bet you’ll get some ideas in the comments, too. Readers, have you found something that helps you concentrate in class? Tell us down below!