Being a teenager is a busy time of life. Between school, extracurricular activities, social obligations, home life and online life there just seems to always be something going on. With everything that happens day to day, how can a teenager be expected to keep up with everything? In order to make sense of it all, you just have to look at what takes the bulk of any teenager’s attention – social media.
Social media is not limited to pages and profiles. Now there are online communities dedicated to almost any offline activity. Your teen likes to dress up and attend conventions of their favorite show? Costume play, or cosplay, has as many online sites as there are fan clubs for a specific activity. Now instead of going out to smaller local conventions or group meetings, your teen spends all of the time in the online community typing away about their favorite show. How do you convince your teen to move offline?
Time management is the single most important technique to develop. With the proper time management skills, your teenager can focus without distractions that will waste time. Have your teen log how much time they spend doing every activity for one week, then analyze the time dedicated. If you notice there are large gaps of wasted time, here your teen can dedicate the time to another activity that didn’t receive as much attention. When making a schedule, remember to break up time spent on each activity into increments. This simple tip will help them focus and dedicate their attention properly to both on and offline activities.
Most teens are unable to focus due to tech distractions, which leads to a sedentary lifestyle. One way to break up the tech monotony is to add a regimen of physical activity every day. I’m not saying turn your teenager into a gym freak, but a short 20 minute walk around the neighborhood park every day will help with their attention span. Your teen will find it much easier to focus on [boring] schoolwork and will have more energy to chat with friends online.
Another way to help your teenager improve their attention span is to give them a different type of mental activity. Yes, going online makes things much simpler, but there is nothing wrong with a good old fashioned paperback. There are some great authors out there for young adults. Choose one or two, and purchase their works in paperback form only. This will help wean your teenager offline, and the physical act of picking up a book and turning its pages stimulates the mind in a different way than an eReader would.
Sometimes, simple quiet time helps improve attention span. Have your teenager take 5 minutes every few hours to sit quietly and do nothing. Yoga and meditation positions help relax the mind, which in turn focuses it. When your shoulders or back is tight from stress, you can’t focus on anything else. When your mind is tight from too many distractions, you won’t be able to focus on anything. Clearing the mind allows the important things to take precedent.
Finally, a proper vitamin and nutrient filled diet will help your teenager focus. How many times have you been unable to think properly because you were hungry, or coming down from a sugar high? Your teenager would have the same experience. A proper balanced diet will not only give your teenager the vitamins and nutrients needed to maintain a healthy life, but will have the side benefit of giving your teenager one less distraction. It’s a win-win situation.
Teenagers have busy lives filled with distractions. Social media and other technology driven platforms can distract your teen from so many other facets of life. With a balance of different stimuli and proper nutrition, you can help your teenager improve their attention span and lead a more enriched life. All it takes is a little bit of focus. Be well.