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Inside Kendall

How to Keep Kids Focused in the Classroom

Maybe your kids were expecting a snow day. Maybe summer break is just a couple of days away. Whatever the reason, sometimes your students will have trouble paying attention. Maintaining focus is an integral part of teaching preschool and kindergarten.

Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to keep your class focused. Whenever your kids are becoming unruly, try some of these focus exercises for kids to get your class back on track.

Focused Student

Avoid idle time

The best way to keep your kids engaged in the lesson plans and activities during the day is to pre-plan your breaks so there’s always something actively happening in your classroom. When kids have nothing to focus they can collectively disengage, making the process of refocusing an entire classroom difficult.

Make time for breaks

As PBS suggests, allot 5-minute play breaks and snack breaks throughout the day. Come up with fun games to play during breaks so that children keep their focus in a group activity. Snacks help students recharge and avoid the lethargic afternoon tendencies that can break their concentration.

The Association of American Educators recommends that teachers incorporate Brain Breaks throughout the day to get kids up and moving after lessons that involve minimal movement. GoNoodle is a terrific resource containing plenty of videos that encourage mindfulness and increase focus through movement exercises and games.

Build a repertoire of activities

As we’ve mentioned, idle time is the fastest way to disengage your students and lose focus, but how do you fill a class with a shorter-than-average lesson plan? Build out your own arsenal of activities so you always have something to fall back on when there is a natural lull.

Mix it up between team-based activities that require cooperation, individual activities that allow for reflection and creative thinking, and full-class physical activities that help release pent up energy.

Change up your teaching style

According to, a seamless way to keep students focused is to alternate your teaching style so students don’t get accustomed to a pattern. For example, if your standard lesson is teacher-based, switch to active learning that is student-centered for a few lessons to keep students engaged in the subject matter.

Keep them on their toes

Use a randomization method to choose what student answers each question you ask the class. One method is to write each student’s name on a Popsicle stick and place it in a cup. When you ask a question during your lesson pull a name from the cup. This way, students will stay engaged throughout class in case their name is called.


Keeping your students focused may seem challenging at first, but with this variety of exercises and actions you’ll ensure your students are actively learning. Focus isn’t just for students. Learn how earning a degree in Early Childhood Education from Kendall College can put your career on track.

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