By Dr. Michelle Alvarez, Consulting Educator
My second-grade daughter has a very hard time listening in class. If she listens, she does her work very well, but she is easily distracted.
My mom, who is a retired teacher, told me that my daughter started school too early and she was pushed too early, so she wants to play now. I tried sending her to piano classes to concentrate and focus. She is very outspoken and loves to dance and sing. Do you think it is the school or she is bored?
The good news is that your daughter does have periods of time where she listens and does her work very well. This is what the focus needs to be as you explore the issue.
Ask yourself : What is happening at the time she is listening and completing her work that could be replicated at another point in the day when she is having trouble focusing? First begin by working with school personnel (teacher, school social worker, school counselor and/or school psychologist) to collect information about the times when she is listening/focusing. This can be accomplished by asking a member of the student services team (school social worker, school counselor, or school psychologist) to do a formal observation of your daughter and have them interview your daughter. Ask the teacher to share a list of the number of completed assignments and those that were not completed.
There are some environmental conditions that could contribute to her inability to focus that may not be present when she is able to focus. Was a window open? Was the air conditioner or heat running? Were other students noisy? Was the class a structured or unstructured class? Was it an assignment that required movement around the room?
The subject matter can also contribute to her inability to focus. Is she stronger in math than reading? Is the work too easy or hard for her? Does she not like gym or art? The time of day can also impact her ability to focus. Is she having trouble right after recess, at the time the class is changing subject areas of study, after movement to another classroom?
Once your team identifies at what time of day, in what subjects or settings she is doing well, you are ready to address when she is not able to focus. The data collected for when she is doing well (how often and under what conditions) can be used to try to replicate her behavior in other situations. Some ideas for addressing the issue include:
After you have tried different methods to help your daughter listen and then complete assignments, go back and repeat the observations and interview to see if there has been any change in her ability to listen/focus. If not, try some other methods of helping her and then meet again to look for change. It is an ongoing process and data collected should help you and school personnel decide what is working and what is not.
Advice from our experts is not a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment from a health-care provider or learning expert familiar with your unique situation. We recommend consulting a qualified professional if you have concerns about your child's condition.
Sign up for our free newsletter and we'll send you
more just like it every week.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to complete your registration.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to submit your review.
Please click on the link in the verification email we just sent you to complete your change of email address.
Whoops! It looks like we still need to verify your email. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the e-mail? Click the button below and we'll send you a new one.
Thanks for registering. Welcome to GreatSchools, the largest online community committed to improving educational outcomes through parental involvement.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! You haven't verified your email address yet. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the email? Click the button below to receive a new one.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
For principals and school officials, we offer a special Enhanced School Profile (ESP) which allows you to update and add information about your school, as well as respond to reviews. If you are a school official, click Continue to start.
Please note that it can take up to 48 hours for your comment to be posted to our site. While you're here, we'd like to invite you to fill out a survey on your school's programs, activities, and extracurriculars. It only takes a few minutes and will help parents get a full picture of your school.
Get started now! You have successfully registered and can now start updating your Official School Profile. The information you provide is extremely valuable in helping parents and students learn more about your school, so thanks for taking the time!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for , including performance data and recently posted user reviews.