Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Positively distracting

I could have written about this before.

I could have started to write about this before and got distracted.

I could have started to write about this before and ended up writing about something else.

I could go on.

The point on those first four poorly constructed sentences is that distraction is very much part of my life.

I get accused a lot of not paying ‘FULL’ attention to things, or to people, on a daily basis.  Folks suggesting I am merely spending my time waiting for folks to finish speaking so I can talk.

Sound familiar?

Thing is, I also have accused my son of the same in the past.

Bellowing in my best Brian Blessed voice:

‘Pay attention to what you are doing’


‘If you’d just put that down for a minute and concentrate on what you are doing it would be done in no time’.

Thing is, I think that’s actually nonsense and absolutely untrue.

I’ve found with my child, and perhaps it’s the same for me, that in order to get the best out of him, I actually need to encourage a certain level of distraction.

What I mean is, that if I ask him to focus solely on a single task at hand – a good example being homework – I get a reluctant, hard-on-himself child, that generally produces crap work as well as lots of whining.

However if I distract part of his mind with something else, perhaps he’s got a Lego figure in his non-writing hand or there’s a Tom Gates book open in his peripheral vision, I get a much happier child, and much better work.

So, to get focus I need to introduce distraction.

Does that make sense?

Not sure what the experts say, or who they even are, but my practical experience is telling me I won’t get the best work out of my child if I fight for his 100% attention.

There’s a line that is forever moving.  Knowing what is just the right amount of distraction to have a positive influence before it starts having a negative impact.

Spelling practice with music TV on, interspersing questions about maths with those about Marvel Superheroes.

Thing is, I’m getting distracted too as he’s distracted.  A formula that regularly works really well for us is that Helen, my beautiful fiancĂ©, asks the academic questions and I provide the distraction by popping in or past with a silly expression on my face.

“You’re distracting him.” Helen tells me.

“I know,” I say “I’m doing it on a purposes, phhaarpp.”

It isn’t a fool proof (more fool laden) practice, but one I think is generally working.  And I’d love to hear if it’s the same for other families and children.

Do you distract your child?  And do you think it is for the greater good?