How to Help a Younger Schoolchild to do Better in Class
May 29, 2019
“Please, help me with advice. My child is 8 years old, in the second year. The schoolteacher complains and the swimming coach complains that he is inattentive and does not remember the explanations. He can do a simple task for 2 hours but he says that he doesn’t understand the topic and can be easily distracted. How can I make memory and attention in him better?”
– Anna, Artem’s mother
The first years of study often become a real test for children and parents. A bright preschooler suddenly turns into a non-achiever. He/she can’t concentrate on the lessons, doesn’t remember what a teacher says and can’t do homework without help. Bad marks and reproaches only make the situation worse. The pupil becomes self-unsure and nervous. “How can you make patience and attention in a child better?” – parents are beginning to panic! Don’t worry! Children just need some help to develop the cognitive processes necessary for learning. How do you do this? Read on:
- Development of attention at the age of 7-11
- Attention and its features
- Development of memory at the age of 7-11
- Development of thinking at the age of 7-11
- Development of imagination at the age of 7-11
- Tests to identify the level of development of attention, memory, thinking and imagination
- Check of attention. Landolt’s Rings
- Check of memory
- Check of thinking
- Imagination test
- Reasons for problems with cognitive abilities among younger pupils
- How to develop cognitive processes in a child: psychologist’s advice
- Development of qualities necessary for study with the help of the 7Spsy behavior modification technique
Development of attention at the age of 7-11
A seven-year-old child can’t concentrate if bored. A first grader needs to be interested and it is important to keep his/her primary attention for as long as possible. Eventually, children get used to concentrating not only on the interesting, but also on the necessary.
While active attention is just beginning to develop, a pupil isn’t able to do homework without assistance and has not yet developed self-control.
Attention and its features
Attention is an ability of the mind to focus on something, without being distracted. The features of attention are closely connected to memory, thinking and perception. In order to develop attention in a child of 7 years and older, it is important to understand its features at different ages.
· The attentional capacity of a 7-year-old child is short – they cannot instantly remember more than 3-4 figures.
· Attention span of a first grader is approximately 7-12 minutes, that’s why long explanations will not work. At the age of 9-10 the attention span of a child becomes much longer.
· Attentional set-shifting – at the beginning of study it is difficult for a child to switch from one activity to another.
· Distribution of attention. During classes you need to write and explain what you write. You need to read the completed task and check it and listen and write during dictations. Until children have mastered the skills of automatism, it is difficult for them to distribute their attention between two different actions. An 8-year-old child is often able to do two things at the same time, but this reduces his/her ability to fully maintain attention.
· Concentration of attention is one of the biggest problems of modern children at any age. Over-indulgence of the use of gadgets develops superficial perception and a clipped way of thinking, concentration of attention is consequently reduced.
Development of memory at the age of 7-11
“My daughter attends the second grade but she doesn’t study very well. The French tutor has almost given up, she says that my daughter has a bad memory and the classes are useless for her. What should I do? How should memory be developed in a child of 8 years old?”
– Irina, mother of Lena, 8
Memory is a mental process responsible for recognizing, capturing, preserving, and reproducing a specific experience.
Pupils at a primary school find it easier to remember something specific such as objects, faces and facts. Their visual-figurative memory is developed much better than the semantic. It is difficult for them to remember logical definitions and to highlight the main thoughts in a text.
In addition, younger pupils have a more developed involuntary memory. They can easily remember what causes strong emotions and what interests them. Communication with feelings is the key to remembering. Therefore, memorizing poems, songs and fairy tales is easier for a child than intricate homework or the multiplication table.
This is confirmed by the studies of psychologists A.A. Smirnov and P.I. Zinchenko. 
In the process of study a child develops voluntary memorization, which requires strong-willed efforts and is necessary for successful study.
How does a child learn to remember randomly and meaningfully?
To master meaningful memorization, teach a pupil to make a plan. How did the story begin? What happened then? What are the main plots?
When a child divides the story into parts and gives them names, he/she learns to remember not just individual events, but how they are connected. It’s easier for him/her to focus on the content, remember it and retell it. Bad memory is often associated with undeveloped attention. 
Development of thinking at the age of 7-11
“My son studied normally until the second grade. Now there are only bad marks and tears and he doesn’t want to go to school. The teacher drew a triangle, circle and square on the blackboard and asked my son what word they can be called. He didn’t know. The teacher says that the problem was with logical thinking. Was it due to poor memory?”
– Petr, father of Sasha, 8
Thinking is the highest cognitive process of a generalized and indirect reflection of reality which develops in a person from birth.
A baby learns about the world through perception and action. Growing up, he/she discovers the connection between words and objects. In early childhood visual-figurative thinking prevails.
Conceptual thinking is rapidly developed in children in elementary school.
• At the first grade it is still closely connected with specific objects and events. Seven-year-old children hardly understand abstract concepts.
• By the age of 8 they are already capable of generalizations and logical conclusions.
• Third graders have often fully developed abstract thinking.
The broader the scope of a child, the greater his/her vocabulary and the faster mental processes will improve. In order to develop a child’s thinking, it is important to teach him/her not only to acquire knowledge, but to individually evaluate his/her work, to look for answers to questions and to think logically.
Development of imagination at the age of 7-11
“My daughter is a liar. I don’t know when she is telling the truth, and when she is fantasizing. I’m afraid it’s become a habit. Either she goes with the class on an excursion that didn’t exist, or she meets a famous singer on the street. The child is 10 years old. Is it normal?”
– Valeria, mother of Katya, 10.
Imagination is the mental process of creating an image of an object by transforming reality.
A small child jumps on a stick and imagines that it is a horse. Thus the symbolic function of the imagination develops. Some objects act as others. With the help of imagination children learn about the world and at the same time protect themselves from injuries and bad experiences.
In primary school a child receives a lot of new knowledge, learns to apply it in life and begins to reflect reality more believably. The imagination of a younger pupil is usually a simple reproduction of the environment. The child repeats in games what he/she saw while watching adults. Gradually, children’s imagination becomes creative.
Children can invent incredible stories and often do not distinguish reality from fantasy. If a child doesn’t misrepresent the facts for some reason (fearing punishment or for self-justification), but fantasizes harmlessly, there is nothing to worry about. Pupils with a well-developed imaginations easily operate with abstract images, but can deeply immerse themselves in a fantasy world and be in the clouds. It is worth paying attention to a child who doesn’t know how to fantasize. And help him/her develop imagination. 
Tests to identify the level of development of attention, memory, thinking and imagination
You can check the level of development of cognitive abilities in your child with the help of simple tests. Do not be upset if the result is low. Just try to teach the child more where he/she fails. Check of attention. “Landolt’s Rings”
Draw a table with two types of rings – with a slot on the top and on the left. A child must cross out as many rings of the same kind as possible within 5 minutes. Older children may be asked to cross out both types of rings in different lines. The more figures crossed out correctly, the higher the child’s attention level. This test is suitable for any age as an exercise to develop attention.
Check of memory
Make a list of 10 simple unconnected words. Slowly read the words out loud and ask the child to repeat everything that he/she remembered. Repeat reading until the child remembers all 10 words (but not more than five times). If the child remembers 4-5 words the first time, and all words after 3-5 repetitions, there are no memory problems.
Logical Thinking Test
Choose the suitable word
1) wolf : jaws = bird 😕
a) air b) beak c) nightingale d) egg e) singing
2) library : book = forest 😕
a) birch b) tree c) branch d) log e) maple
3) bird : nest = man 😕
a) people b) worker c) chick d) house e) clever
4) school : studying = hospital 😕
a) doctor b) patient c) treatment d) institution
If there are less than half of the correct answers, you should pay attention to the development of thinking.
Imagination test: draw something
A child is asked to draw everything he/she wants for 4-5 minutes.
Pay attention to whether there is imagination and emotionality in the drawings. Observe whether the details are carefully worked out and whether the child came up with something original. If in the allotted time the child did not draw anything specific, it is worthwhile to engage in the development of imagination. 
Irresponsibility and laziness as a norm of life: is it possible to change for the better? How to learn to be more responsible and conscious? Laziness as a norm of life.
Reasons for problems with cognitive abilities among younger pupils
Attention, memory, thinking, and imagination are closely related mental processes. It is of concern if a child is inattentive, unable to concentrate on the lesson and can’t remember the material. The lack of new knowledge inhibits the work of thinking, etc.
1. Attention problems usually appear in children whose development has not been appropriately maintained. Children who are not accustomed to independence are often scattered. If a child has a decreased educational motivation, he/she will not be able to concentrate on classes. The reason for absent-mindedness may be the concentration of consciousness on something that he/she finds more interesting.
2. Memory problems arise due to the lack of training at preschool age. A child may not understand what he/she is trying to learn or does not know the rational methods of memorization. The child may have no interest in the outside world and in learning.
3. Problems with thinking. Thinking needs regular exercise, like attention and memory. Mental activity becomes weak because of weak concentration, low memory and undeveloped speech. All this interferes with the development of other cognitive processes.
4. When there are problems with the imagination perhaps there has been some lost time for the development of imagination in infancy.
How to develop cognitive processes in a child: psychologist’s advice
To develop attention in a child of 7-8 years old, it is necessary:
- to study regularly, without long breaks;
- to encourage any active mental activity (generalization and comparison, formation of conclusions);
- during the tuition to protect a pupil from all external irritants, not to make comments, not to prompt;
- to explain the assignment clearly and concisely;
- to play observation games.
Create a daily routine together, including homework. Gradually teach children discipline and accuracy.
Remember that attention and memory must be constantly trained.
The development of memory in a child of 7 years and older can be done in simple ways:
- control whether the child understands what he/she is trying to learn;
- teach him/her to divide the material for memorization into small sections;
- remind him/her to repeat what was learned the previous day;
- advise him/her to read aloud the material to remember;
- encourage him/her to be interested in the information to remember;
- make sure that the pupil does not overwork.
To develop thinking of a child of 7-11 years old, it is necessary to teach how:
• to systemize and combine the objects by their specific features and purpose;
• to understand the meaning of a book and retell it;
• to compare items;
• to make independent conclusions;
• to establish causal relationships;
• to solve problems in the mind.
For the development of imagination, children initially need close emotional communication with parents and any creative activity.
Drawing can be very useful. In addition to imagination, drawing develops memory, attention, speech, and fine motor skills. Drawing, along with a game, is the main way to study the surrounding reality for a child.
Art and didactic games are ideal for the development of creative thinking and imagination. 
If a child has serious developmental problems, and you are not sure that you can cope on your own, you should consult a specialist. The 7Spsy behavior modification technique has shown good results in working with children of 7-11 years old.
Development of qualities necessary for study with the help of the 7Spsy behavior modification technique
Does your child have problems coping with the primary school program? You must act as soon as possible, before low self-esteem has formed and neurosis has developed. Moreover, the gaps at the very beginning of study can cause problems in high school.
The 7Spsy behavior modification technique is a proven, scientifically based method of behavioral psychology. The technology will help a pupil overcome self-doubt, increase motivation, develop logical thinking and other mental cognitive processes. Diagnostic testing is performed before the course. Classes are held remotely. Your child can study at home, in a convivial atmosphere, at any convenient time. Clear psychologist’s instructions and feedback (online chat, email, or phone) make the technique available for independent study, with minimal help from parents. The duration of the behavior modification course is from 2 to 6 weeks. The 7Spsy behavior modification technique will save your child from problems in study and behavior and help to nurture a love of and a desire to obtain knowledge.
Information from this website cannot be used for self-therapy and self-diagnostics.
Institute of Distance Psychology Pte .Ltd UEN 201834385M 4 Battery Road, #25-01 Bank of Chaina Building Singapore 049908.
LLC Tekhnologii Ideala, Center for Research Psychology
TIN 5406976032 / PSRN 1175476058801