Tool #1 for Focus

Being present, focused and aware is the starting point to happiness and greatness. However, we often spend too much time thinking about either the past or the future. When we think too much about the past, it can lead to depression. When we think too much about the future, it can lead to anxiety. Both interfere with you being able to feel and be your best.

Parents and teachers so often tell children to pay attention. But when they do, children often hear it as a command, annoyance or someone trying to control them. This kind of external motivation can lead to a resistance to focus. On the other hand, if children are equipped with a tool that empowers them to see, understand, and experience the benefits of focusing, they will be much more likely to choose to focus on their own.

A River Check-in is a tool with very tangible steps that can help your child focus, refocus and strengthen their attention span. To make it simple and easy to remember, the River Check-in asks children to follow a few steps to check and regulate their 3 Bs, namely Body, Breath, and Brain.

B #1 – Body Check

  1. Spine: Long and strong. If your spine is long and strong, your muscles will be used most efficiently allowing more energy to be available to your brain for focus.
  2. Muscles: Not too tight, not too loose but in the middle like a river. If your muscles are both strong and relaxed, your blood can flow freely and do its job by circulating oxygen and nutrients making you feel awake and alive.

B #2 – Breath Check

  1. Ninja Breathing is one of the most powerful tools to learn and it’s used to calm and de-stress. It’s simply a slow deep inhale through the nose and a slow deep exhale through the mouth.
  2. Fire Breathing gives a quick boost of energy. In Fire Breathing both the inhale and exhale are through the nose, and the breaths are quick, short, and sharp.
  3. River Breathing is for maintaining a general feeling of focus and well-being. It is deep and even from the belly, and the breath is in and out through the nose. At the end of each inhale you feel more energy, and at the end of each exhale you feel more relaxation.

B # 3 – Brain Check

  1. Focus on what you are doing using your brain. Ask yourself a few simple questions. Where is my attention right now? Where is the best place to be putting my attention right now? Can I make the choice to shift my attention?
  2. Focus on what you are doing using your eyes. By keeping your eyes in the direction of your task or activity, your brain can better focus on the important information it needs.
  3. Focus on what you are doing using your ears. Choosing to use your ears to focus on what need to be listening to instead of getting distracted by other noises will have a great impact on your ability to absorb and retain the information you need.

A River Check-in with the 3 Bs helps children to find a place of focus and emotional and mental balance. This ability to self-regulate and to return to a state of relaxed focus and presence will without doubt contribute to their ability to find their happiness from the inside out.

Published on: August 07, 2012
About the Author
Photo of Jonathan Hewitt

Jonathan Hewitt is the founder of Life Ki-do Parenting, Martial Arts, and Life Education. Jonathan has taught martial arts and life skills to children for over twenty years and has a renowned martial arts academy in Austin, Texas. He is the author of Life Ki-do Parenting: Tools to Raise Happy, Confident Kids from the Inside Out.

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