5 Common Distractions for Kids Who Struggle With Focus

By Amanda Morin
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Trouble with focus can affect kids in lots of ways in and out of school. It can even be little things that other people might not even notice. Here are five common distractions for kids who struggle with focus and concentration.

1. Things They Pick Up or Touch

Some kids who struggle with focus are hyperactive, too. Kids might pick things up all the time and fidget with them without even knowing they’re doing it. Giving kids an “approved” fidget like a stress ball can help them cope with this distraction.

2. The Phone Ringing

Kids might have a hard time figuring out what information to tune into and what information to tune out. This isn’t a choice. The part of the brain that filters information may be smaller in kids who have focus issues due to ADHD. Turning the ringer down on the phone or putting the phone in a different room when your child has to concentrate can reduce the distraction.

3. Itchy Clothes

Some kids with focus issues also have trouble with sensory processing, which means their brains react differently to sounds, sights, touch and other sensory information. Kids who are sensitive to touch can be bothered by the way something feels on their skin, like itchy socks. They can become focused on that itchy feeling, which can distract them from other things. Buying soft clothes and removing tags can help. Another simple calming technique is to turn down the lights in a room so it’s not as bright.

4. Someone Walking Past the Door

When kids with focus issues see movement out of the corner of their eye, it’s hard for them to ignore it. Finding a place for your child to sit that’s away from windows or other high-traffic areas can help him stay focused on what he’s doing, whether it’s studying for a test or playing a board game.

5. Their Own Thoughts

Kids with focus issues aren’t just distracted by the outside world. They’re easily distracted by their own thoughts, too, and may often end up daydreaming. Checking in with your child to make sure he understands what he’s supposed to be doing and breaking tasks into shorter chunks can keep him focused on the task at hand. Playing music and using timers could also help your child “stay present.”

About the Author

About the Author

Amanda Morin 

worked as a classroom teacher and as an early intervention specialist for 10 years. She is the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education. Two of her children have learning differences.

Reviewed by

Reviewed by

Jenn Osen-Foss, MAT 

is an instructional coach, supporting teachers in using differentiated instruction, interventions, and co-planning.

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