Teach Your Kids This Simple Strategy for Improving Focus: Pomodoro Technique | Deborah Farmer Kris | 4 Min Read

“I just can’t make myself get started,” a high school senior told me. She was sitting in my office in obvious distress. College deadlines were approaching, and all she had for an essay were a few scattered notes. 

“Try a Pomodoro,” I suggested. “Right here, right now. I’ll set the timer for 25 minutes. You don’t have to finish your essay — just work on it till the timer goes off, then take a break.”

Twenty-five minutes later, she looked up. “OMG. I’m half-way done. That totally worked!”

When faced with a task you are dreading or that seems overwhelming, the hardest part is usually just getting started. And this is the space where so many of the parent-child homework battles live.

The single most concrete, effective tool I’ve found for starting a task and remaining focused on one’s work is the Pomodoro Technique. Alas, I was twice my student’s age before I heard about this strategy. During an interview with Barbara Oakley —  author and creator of the wildly popular Learning How to Learn MOOC — she shared with me that of all the techniques she teaches in that course, the Pomodoro Method is “far and…

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Deborah Farmer Kris

A writer, teacher, parent, and child development expert, Deborah Farmer Kris writes regularly for PBS KIDS for Parents and NPR’s MindShift; her work has been featured several times in The Washington Post; and she is the author of the All the Time picture book series (coming out in 2022) focused on social-emotional growth. A popular speaker, Deborah has a B.A. in English, a B.S. in Education, and an M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology. Mostly, she loves finding and sharing nuggets of practical wisdom that can help kids and families thrive — including her own. You can follow her on Twitter @dfkris, contact her at [email protected], or visit her website: Parenthood365 (https://www.parenthood365.com/)