What if you could learn how to achieve laser-like focus at will, to switch it on when you want to get stuff done or are under pressure to create something? Not only is this possible, but you can also teach your children to do this.
Doing so will encourage them to develop better focus and the ability to tap into their creative side at school, college, and in their professional lives. This process has been defined as 'being in the zone.'
What It Involves
The capacity to tune out distractions, focus solely on the task at hand and be engrossed in the act of creation, is what has been termed as ‘flow’ or ‘being in the zone.’ Teresa M Amabile, PhD, creativity researcher at the Harvard Business School and author of Growing Up Creative states that high achievers in any field experience this on a regular basis. She also points out that kids who learn how to tap into this are more likely to be happier, healthier, and involved in life.
Why It Happens
Research conducted in this area has discovered that we tend to get into the zone when we find the task at hand challenging enough to keep us interested, but not enough to get us frustrated. Time seems to disappear, and we don’t pay attention to our surroundings.
What Interrupts Or Prevents It
Thanks to the barrage of TV shows, movies, video games, and the internet, our attention spans have suffered. Kids tend to be even bigger victims of this trend, with shorter attention spans, as well as a tendency be passive and get easily bored. Strict deadlines, thanks to a structured education system and a shortage of time in general, means kids don’t enjoy the freedom to get lost in any one task for as long as they want to.
How To Inculcate It In Your Kids
Observe how babies can so effortlessly lose themselves in an activity that they enjoy, whether that means playing with a toy, petting an animal or exploring their own bodies. Successful creative professionals are capable of the same focus because they essentially never lose this very same curiosity and openness. To get your kids to treasure and practice these natural traits, follow these simple steps:
- Stop Interfering: If you see your child engaged in an activity, don’t jump in to help or suggest how they ought to do it. You can gently encourage them or hint at clues for them to move ahead, but only if they appear to be struggling.
- Stop Bribing Them: Resist the urge to always give your kids stuff to do or ply them with toys, books, games and devices. Allow them to discover the joy of letting their imagination loose. Refrain from motivating them to do tasks like homework by promising a reward.
- Give Them The Right Tools: Sometimes just a sheet of paper and crayons, a simple musical instrument or pictures cut from a magazine can lead to interesting outcomes. Take them shopping to craft stores, or browse the art supplies section and point out the different tools and what they’re used for. At the library or online, explore information about pursuits like kite-making, pottery, cooking and puppetry and see if it interests them.
- Teach Them The Value Of 'Free Time': Try and keep some free time dedicated to free styling; having a strict schedule can be confining, so mark this time as open for anything your child wants to explore or talk about. Just sitting and watching the rain can lead to a chat about how the weather works, or a pretty sunset can bring an astronomy lesson to life. Don’t force it, because the idea here is to teach them that they needn't ever get bored or have to rely on something external for amusement.
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