One of my favorite sayings is "Begin with the End in Mind." What I mean by this is that the best way to start any project - big or small - is with a clear picture of the end goal. And raising kids is definitely a big project!
So, before we dive into tips and techniques for helping our kids focus, let's talk about the end goal. What is it that we really want for our kids? What is this ability to concentrate supposed to be leading to (other than a few moments of peace and quiet!?)
The truth is that we all want similar things for our children. We want them to be happy and healthy. We want them to grow, learn and mature into capable adults that are well equipped to achieve their goals. We want them to be ethical, decent and productive. We want their hearts to be full of contentment and peace.
IN SUM, WE WANT OUR KIDS TO DEVELOP AN HONORABLE CHARACTER AND TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN THEIR WELL CHOSEN PURSUITS.
What does that have to do with developing their ability to focus?
Dr. Montessori herself recognized, as early as 1906, that to develop the ability to concentrate was essential to everything else.
She said: “The first essential for the child's development is concentration. It lays the whole basis for his character and social behavior. … The child whose attention has once been held by a chosen object, while he concentrates his whole self on the repetition of the exercise, is a delivered soul in the sense of spiritual safety of which we speak. From this moment there is no need to worry about him - except to prepare an environment which satisfies his needs, and to remove obstacles which may bar his way to perfection." (Maria Montessori. The Absorbent Mind, 1967).
So, what does that mean, exactly? In short, fostering this ability to concentrate in our kids helps us give our children the gifts we most want them to have.