17 answers

Getting 6 Year Old to Focus on a Task

We have a 6 year old boy and it is hard to get him to focus on a task from getting ready for school to playing in a soccer game. How is the best way to focus him on one task at a time without going crazy?

1 mom found this helpful

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Featured Answers

Hi Cristina,

Many kids who can't focus or have ADHD type symptoms are allergic to the color dyes in their food. My son was one of them. We took him off all sugar (and thus almost all color dyes) and he changed completely! His anger issues went away also. It was unbelieveable. We also put him on fish oil, as it helps calm the brain and mood swings.

Good luck! Feel free to email me if you have questions.
K. Loidolt
Author, Shopper's Guide to Healthy Living

Have you tried using a timer? See if he can "beat" the timer by gettind dressed for school in 5 minutes, get his hair brushed in 5 minutes, etc.

More Answers

My daughter lost focus easy in class. I met with the teacher and school counselor and we came up with what they call the smiley face method. For every subject she got smileys for doing her work on time, not bothering others and not talking. At the end of the day she took her paper down to the counselor and would get to pick out a treat at the end of the week if she had mainly all smileys. If she came home with a frowny we had to talk about what happened. She went from bringing work home all the time due to not completing it in class to having everything done at the end of the day and full of self pride!
We started that at home. Find out what is causing the lack of focus, disinterest? motivation? or could it be his brain is on overdrive with other things?
Then zero in on what motivates him to try harder and stay on task. Set a timer if you have to for chores around the house, if they are not completed in a reasonable time, then take a priviledge away.
I know my daughter having to do her homework on a pretty Saturday afternoon instead of playing was a huge motivator for her. Going to bed early was something I could use as a bargaining tool for doing what she needs to.
I give both of my kids one task to complete at a time but it is to be done or consequences. Sometimes being too vague confuses a child, be very specific in what you need done and give them a specific time to get it done in. Even making it a game.
As far as soccer, is he really intersted in it? Doee he just want to socialize? If that is the case, maybe finding another activity that he truly rather do instead.
It is hard, it is a daily battle here, but I found myself dishing out instructions then not following up with my kids and then losing my cool because they didn't do what I asked, so I lessened the list of things, go specific and stayed there until it got done. Slowly but surely I am not having to micro manage or stand over them to get it done now. Find what motivates him.

1 mom found this helpful

I had the same problem with my son. What worked for me was telling him 1 task at a time and having him do it and come back to me to tell me it was done and I would give him another task. Ex. Go get your socks on...he would do it..come and show me they were on. Then I would say...go get your shoes on. If I told him more than 1 task at a time he would get side tracked and forget what he was suppose to be doing.

HTH :)


One of our really great friends who is a teacher and a good school said that with boys who tend to have focus issues while they do tests, or tasks they have them chew gum. It helps them focus more on the task at hand. Good luck!

My son does the same thing. It works well for us to make it a game. "I bet you can't get in you PJ's in 30 seconds." Then, "Wow, you did it in 27 seconds." The next night is a challenge to see if he can do it better, of course some nights we alter his time a bit. We don't do it every night but it helps make the longer nights more bearable if it is not every day.

Have you tried using a timer? See if he can "beat" the timer by gettind dressed for school in 5 minutes, get his hair brushed in 5 minutes, etc.

have you tried using a timer? set the timer for however long you think it should take and put it somewhere he can see it counting down. if he finishes before the timer goes off he gets a sticker on a chart or something like that. when he fills up the chart or if he focuses better for a certain amount of time, he could get some kind of reward.

I think I had this problem when I was younger. My Dad would help me by telling me three things I needed to do (three is an easy number). Brush teeth, Brush hair, Get dressed. I remember reciting the three things until I did them all. Eventually it just became second nature. Now I am a list maker and I think I'm pretty organized.
Good Luck.

Could he have A.D.D.? I do, and sadly, it wasn't diagnosed until I was an adult. I would talk to his teachers and possibly have him evaluated. I wish someone had done that for me as a kid--I would have done better in school, and maybe could have learned some ways to deal with being distracted all the time.

Also, there is a product called the Time Timer that allows kids to "see" time passing so they can understand how much time is left to complete a task. You could get him one, and it may help him stay focused.

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