Attention, Focus, Teens and School!

Attention and Focus

As I write this the scenario for many teens is:  

  • class on the computer from 9-3  
  • homework after classes
  • 10+ hours sitting inside on the computer
  • often in bedroom
  • multiple tabs open 
  • phones, pads, games nearby

Is it messing with their ability to FOCUS and maintain ATTENTION?  

How are they managing EMOTIONALLY?  

Are they feeling ANXIOUS and/or DEPRESSED?  

Are they CHECKING OUT during classes?

What about the students previously identified with attention and focus issues in a physical classroom? 

And the students that perhaps struggle with how to advocate for themselves to ask for help, repetitions, clarifications?  

These are the teens that each day quietly sink deeper into the quicksand. The ones that will slowly FALL BETWEEN THE CRACKS.

Attention is the executive function skill that allows us to focus on the present moment, to details, to people, and for a span of time.

Limited attention skills can present as laziness, opposition, rebellion, exhaustion.  For many students, this is a legitimate struggle, they simply “can’t” attend.  It’s not that they “won’t”, they truly “can’t.

The breakdown of attention spills into other executive functioning skills such as time management, organization and emotional regulation.  All of this can wreak havoc in academic and home settings. 

Some students might have a diagnosis that is concomitant with the executive functioning struggles. Regardless of a diagnosis or not there are issues that exacerbate limited attention:




Hello most teens! 

Those with IEP’s/504’s need to asses the accommodations or modifications as they may not translate to virtual learning.  Observe and communicate with your student and their teachers about what is and isn’t working. Determine where the breakdowns are and look outside the box to advocate with your student and offer suggestions.  

Teachers are doing their best

Support them while you work together to create solutions. Use your voice to request what may serve your child best. For example: 

  • If they can’t focus from 9-3, prioritize the classes that need to be done online and suggest skipping the online presence for the others 
  • Take a critical look at the assignments and determine if there is work they can be exempt from

Supporting students where they are, with what they need for mental/emotional health is essential. 

And as always...take care of YOU, set the model for self care! 

Check out my resilientAF midlife mamas group in Facebook to dive into radical self care and support  

Categories: executive function, mental health, parenting, stress