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Any advice to improve concentration at school for "distracted" 1st grader?


Anonymous January 7, 2009

My 6-yr old daughter is one of the youngest in her 1st grade class (July bday). Her teacher is very concerned that she is so easily distracted in class. She is worried if we don't address it now, she'll have a lot of trouble keeping up in 2nd grade. The teacher said that she knows my daughter is capable of doing the work, but she has to constantly remind her to get on task. The teacher (a 20-yr veteran)doesn't have any suggestions for me to try at home.

At home my daughter eats and sleeps well (in bed at 7:30/sleeping by 8, and up at 7am). She is a very creative and mostly loves to play building imaginary buildings/machines or play mom/princess or run around. She does not like as well doing coloring or playing a board game. She says she doesn't like school, but she doesn't complain too much about going. She just says it's all work and not fun like kindergarten.

Any suggestions to help build her concentration or do you think it will develop naturally with age?

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healthy11 January 14, 2009

juleswt, I don't know if you're aware, but there are several different types of ADHD, and one of them, the "Inattentive" kind, does not involve hyperactivity or behaviors that usually bother or disrupt classmates. It is characterized by descriptions of "daydreaming" and lack of focus like you describe:

Very bright children with attentional and/or learning difficulties are also called "2e" or "twice exceptional" and I've listed many resources about them at


nibor476 January 27, 2009

My nephew also was in class w/ this teacher. We had meetings and the only suggestion she had was medication. to me thats the easy solution. As an aunt i asked for suggestions as far as helping him keep his focus. Much to my distress, the only solution offered was medication. I understand he may have distracted the other children from learning, and im so not defending him or his behavior. However, instead of making him feel slow, or humiliating him in front of the class, he should of had a sit down in private. All he received from that teacher was that he was a distraction and not wanted. Its truly sad.On that note.. his reading and spelling was above average. Of course he was never praised for that.


vero18 February 4, 2009

wow, I just came from meeting with my daugther's teacher regarding her focus problem. I am going through the same situation with my 2nd grader. She does not focus in class, and even worst she was caught cheating on a math test. I am so frustrated with this situation because the only thing that she suggested was to get her a tutor.


Sarah28 February 4, 2009

My son is also in first grade and having similar problems. A friend of mine is a teacher for that grade level and she suggested switching teachers. She told me, "Not every teacher is suited to fit your child needs, and alot of the time older teachers just get set in their ways, they often do not go the extra mile for kids who are more active, and or are always trying to tell the child to do the opposite of what they like to do instead of trying to find a fun way for the child to do what they want them to do that adjusts to the childs needs. Sorry for the run on sentence! I thought this was good advice and I am seriously considering trying. My friend is 26 and has her masters in teaching. So I just think she has alot of recent training and is more up to date then some of the teachers who have been around forever. My son's teacher has been teaching for 24 yrs. And yes that's a great acheivement but it doesnt mean what worked on 6 and 7 yr olds then will work now. Well thats my suggestion, hope you find an answer!!!


kiwibirdmom February 5, 2009

I have had this problem with my daughter. She is one to daydream and dawdle. She always seems to be on her own time, rather than the world around her. Going into 3rd grade, her habits became worse. She had several failing grades on her first progress report. With FCAT starting in 3rd grade, I knew that she has to buckle down. I came up with a simple card that I call "FOCUS FIVES". I staple one in her planner daily. I created them to be small like a business card. Along the top is the numbers 1-5 for "points". If the teacher has to remind her to focus, or to get on task, she will mark out one "point" each time. Her teacher has been wonderful with helping me out with this! I keep track of how many "points" she has earned at the end of the week. She gets a reward at the end of the week, and the prize depends on how many "points" she earned. Like if she earns 20-25 points, she gets a trip to Dairy Queen that weekend, or something equivilent. 15-19 points she gets a trip to the dollar tree to pick out 1 toy, you get the idea. There is also a "4week" goal, which is if she earns all 25 points every week for 4 weeks in a row, for a 100 point total, she will get her choice of movie at the theater, with popcorn, and candy.
Yes, it does cost me a couple dollars a week, but her focusing had dramatically improved. To me, it has been worth it. She has made A-B Honor roll on her first and second nine weeks report card. She still has bad days, but this gives her a clear cut reward system, that she has total control over. Yet still gives her the "cushion" if you will, to let her be a kid. I did explain to her that she would not always have this. She understands that this was just to get her on track.
I don't know if this will help your 1st grader, but maybe you could sit down with her, and together come up with a reward system that will "inspire" her! And don't forget those hugs! Those are always important!


RainbowPony February 17, 2009

I have found this topic to be very interesting. We too, have a six year old son in Grade 1 who tends to "daydream", is easily sidetracked and often "forgets" what it is he is supposed to be doing. Ie. Putting pyjamas on, getting his shoes, etc. At home and within the classroom he needs to be reminded 4 or 5 times what it is he is supposed to be doing. He is extremely bright, he has the reading level of a Grade 3 student, he also does well at maths and writing and spelling. All are well above the average for his Grade requirement. He is quiet, well mannered and has a mild temperament. He appears to me to be a tad behind his peers socially, perhaps, although he seems to enjoy the regular things kids his age do. Ie. Lego, Ben 10, computer games, etc. Social wise though, I can't be too sure without speaking in more detail with his teacher.

I'm wondering whether or not to be concerned about it all. Especially as we have a nine year old son with Autism. Not that i am thinking our six year old has that as well, but I do wonder if perhaps I am missing the signs of another underlying condition. But then maybe I am being overly anxious after the frustration we went through early on with having our Autistic son diagnosed. I thought to myself "I should have noticed this" and "How could I have missed that?" etc etc. I do not want to make those same mistakes again.

Coming on here though, has made me think that perhaps it is just him!! Just a part of his beautiful nature. He is a wonderful and loving little boy : )

What do you guys think?

It's been great to hear all of your stories about your own experiences, and even better to know we are not alone with our daydreaming darlings!!


healthy11 February 18, 2009

Rainbowpony, we obviously don't know your son as well as you do. He sounds like a very nice boy who might have ADHD inattentive, but I'm just a mom who has participated in parent support groups for many years; I'm not a psychologist. People mistakenly assume that all kids with ADHD are hyperactive, but that is NOT the case for the Inattentive type. You can read more at
I do know that when one member of a family has a diagnosed mental health condition, the chances are increased that other kids may have issues. The fact that your son's teacher and you have to give him frequent reminders to refocus means that it is significant. Why don't you mention your concerns to your son's doctor?
Kids can be gifted and have ADHD and/or LD's, and they're known as "2e" or "twice exceptional." My son is that way. I've assembled a lot of resources at


RainbowPony February 24, 2009

Hi healthy11, and thanks for your response, it could certainly be something worth considering.

I had a call from the school recently to say they have finished assessing our son's literacy and numeracy skills, and he is presently 4 years ahead of his age requirement. That was a large surprise, even to me, as I knew he was ahead but had no idea just how much. This, I am told, puts our son in the "Gifted and Talented" category. So from here, he will be assessed by the relevant party to gain an understanding of his level of iq. There will then be a program put into place to cater to his academic needs. He still has his tendancy to daydream, although I don't believe this affected his testing, His teachers aren't too concerned with his social skills, they tell me he appears to be on par with his fellow classmates. However, I think a far more thorough look at things will hopefully answer any questions or concerns we have.

juleswt, the book you suggested "Dreamers, Discoverers & Dynamos: How to Help the Child Who Is Bright, Bored and Having Problems in School" sounds like a worthy read. Did you find this book in your local bookstore or did you order it online?

I'd love to hear how the rest of you are going with your children. There has been a lot of great advice and ideas put forward in this forum and it's always good to hear how others are faring.


healthy11 February 24, 2009

Rainbowpony, the Gifted Group at Greatschools, which you might like to join, is at


chiaqx August 16, 2012


My gal also facing challenges in concentration. Her attention is so short and it affect her school performance. The first half of the paper, she did very well and the last half she just scribble. I purchased this product called superfocus and it works well on her. just 2 days i saw a difference in her attention span. You might want to check out


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