elementary school child on phone instead of doing work

My Child Can't Focus
on School Work

Your child might have no problem watching their favorite show or playing their addicting games. But when it comes to doing schoolwork, they can’t seem to sit still or get anything done.

For most parents, this can drive you nuts. Some even consider whether their child might have a ‘disability’ like ADHD. It’s important to know that it’s common for kids to have trouble staying focused at school age. Still, that doesn’t mean you just watch them fail at schoolwork.

Signs your child is having trouble focusing on schoolwork

We know many parents can spot a distracted child from a mile away, but when you need to be sure, the biggest signs will be:

  • Low grades on schoolwork
  • Disruptive classroom behavior
  • Dislike for school or classes

Reasons why your child can’t concentrate on schoolwork that has nothing to do with ADHD

Lack of sleep or good nutrition

It’s recommended that children get 8-10 hours of sleep every night to help with growth and mental development. Proper sleep and nutrition give kids energy to focus and avoids distraction due to hunger or not enough sleep.

Just coming off the holidays

Young children can have difficulty staying focused because the school or schoolwork seems like a new environment for them. They might have just finished a long break or holidays with no academic practice.

There’s no challenge

When schoolwork gets boring and doesn’t challenge young students, they can get tired and lose interest altogether.


Being a child can make it hard to focus on when everything can be distracting. Children can get distracted by other kids laughing in the hallway, chatty classmates or siblings, a bird by the window, and so on. They have trouble filtering out these activities and just lose concentration.

Problems learning

When schoolwork gets too tough, confusing, or frustrating you can bet children will lose focus. Your child could have difficulty understanding the material being taught, and this leads to poor grades and disinterest.

How to help your child focus on schoolwork

1. Use physical activity

If you are like most parents, you probably use the promise of playtime to get your child to do things. While playtime can serve as a source of motivation to your child it can have other benefits to improve focus. Physical activity can motivate the brain, get the blood flowing, and help your child focus when it’s time to study.

The activities include anything your child likes to examples such as walking from school, biking, swimming, plying, and sports.

2. Remove the distractions and create order

Distractions are kids’ toughest obstacles. To help your child, start by creating a dedicated schoolwork space or study space. This place should be equipped with a desk, chair, books, writing materials, and anything else needed. The study space should be clutter-free. When it is time for schoolwork, remove all the distractions such as toys, computers, phones, television, and so on. Ideally, the study space should be far from these things.

3. Set goals and breakdown tasks

Not every child can multi-task and with a lot to do at once, your child might be feeling confused or overwhelmed. Help them focus by setting goals and breaking down tasks into smaller parts. Give your child a clear picture of what needs to be done first, second, and vice versa. This helps them navigate tasks and feel a sense of accomplishment when they have reached goals.

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4. Establish consistent routines

Structure is important for children, so set a routine or schedule that states study time, playtime, home activities, and so on. Along with your schedule, be sure to add study breaks to give your child time to recharge and rest.

5. Well-rested and well-fed

Nutrition is important, and so is proper sleep. Establishing bedtime routines is still good parenting. Ensure your child sleeps enough hours at night and feeds well during the day.

6. Get help

When learning seems difficult for your child, you can get help from experienced tutors. The lessons help kids stay active, sharp, and practice schoolwork. This renews their focus, confidence in themselves, and helps students return to school environments without feeling lost.

You can get help from great tutors with us here.

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