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Carla Grobler


Occupational Therapist

Pr No. 0660000080136

 10 Starling Street/Straat                                                                                                                   084 581 0644         Phalaborwa                                                                                                            This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Why do some children struggle with concentration?


Concentration difficulties may be due to the following factors:

  • Tiredness
  • Hunger
  • Emotional components(maybe something happened that upset the child)
  • Hyperactivity
  • Distracted by internal (thoughts / ideas) or external (sounds / movement) stimuli
  • Physical illness
  • Pain
  • Diet (some types of food causes bursts of energy e.g. sugar / preservatives / oily food, etc.)
  • Anxiety
  • Boredom
  • ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) or ADD (attention deficit disorder
  • Etc.



Ideas to improve concentration


It is important to let the child concentrate actively (not watching TV / playing PSP). 

Start with a time that is according to the child’s current ability, increase the time with a few minutes every week.


  • Place items on a tray, allow the child to look at it for 15 seconds, cover the tray and ask the child to recall the items.  Start with 3 items and add items as the child’s ability improves).  Shorten the time the child looks at the objects as his ability improves. 
  • Play a memory game

Use picture-cards (2 of each picture).  Place the cards upside down on the carpet, each person gets an opportunity  to turn 2 card. The aim of the game is to find two cards that are the same, return the cards to the face-down position if not the same.

  • Mazes (booklets available in CNA/Spar/Google)
  • Dot-to-dot tasks(booklets available in CNA/Spar/Google)
  • Sudoku (booklets available in CNA/Spar/Google)
  • Find the differences between 2 pictures (booklets available in CNA/Spar/Google)
  • You say numbers / words and the child must repeat it (start with 2 numbers and progress to more numbers)
  • Tell a story and ask the child questions about it
  • Tell a story and the child must re-tell the story
  • Word puzzles
  • Word sums
  • You count and the child must say the number that you intentionally skipped (count in 2’s, 3’s, 4’s etc. for older kids)
  • Find a certain letter on a page (give the child a paragraph and tell him to circle e.g. the letter a)
  • Let the child build a puzzle without providing her with the picture  (show the completed picture to the child for 1 minute, then take it away and let the child build the puzzle).
  • Build words with letters, let the child have a look, child looks away, you take 1 letter from the word and the child must say which letter.
  • You say a word and the child must call out the opposite
  • Let the child repeat tongue twisters

E.g.  She sells sea shells by the sea shore
        Rubber baby buggy bumpers
        Betty bought a bit of bitter butter

  • Due to poor concentration kids usually don’t finish tasks in time;  time your child’s tasks / activities and reduce the time limit set as the child’s concentration span increases.
  • Place coins / blocks / objects in a certain sequence, let the child look at the objects for 5 seconds, close the objects and let the child copy it


Other guidelines

  • Set a structures routine at home;  children with concentration difficulties function better in a set routine environment
  • The place where your child does his homework and / or studies should be free of distraction - some kids find it easier to study when reading out loud
  • Let your child takes short breaks while studying – do not study for more than 45minutes at a time without a break
  • Be patient with your child


Acts 18:16 - "And he drave them from the judgment seat."

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