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Decrease Digital Distractions and Increase Productivity

8 Parenting Tips to Help Your Child Focus

I just wrote a blog post about self-regulation, technology, and the importance of managing the environment to set our kids (and ourselves) up for success.

Here are 8 ways to decrease digital distractions and increase productivity:

  1. Cut out background media and discourage multitasking (the exception to this might be calm music for some kids) when your child needs to focus.
  2. Create a tech curfew and stick to it. Perhaps all cell phones get charged at night in the living room?
  3. If the phone isn’t part of a homework assignment (or an important conversation with a friend or family member), turn it off or put it away.
  4. Get rid of alluring cues if they aren’t central to the task. For example, close email and Twitter to reduce the “pings” and “beeps” that alert you to new information.
  5. If Instagram and Twitter aren’t necessary for the assignment, use apps like “Self Control” to prevent usage for short, concentrated work sessions.
  6. Be realistic about how long your child can focus attention. Break tasks into 15 minutes of focused attention followed by deliberate breaks to get up, move around, or check out Facebook.
  7. When your child is online or using a tablet for school work (which is admittedly A LOT of the time) – use Internet history and/or monitoring software as a tool for your teen to reflect on his or her study habits. Which page visits were productive? Which were distracting? How might they improve?
  8. Change the norms around instant connection 24/7. Talk to other parents about the digital curfew in your house and ask if they have considered the same.