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Children who can focus at a young age may be more successful later in life.

Children who can focus at a young age may be more successful later in life.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2007, parents in the United States reported that 9.5 percent of children between 4 and 7 years old had been diagnosed with ADHD. However, while some children may have attention-related conditions that require treatment, others may simply need a bit of coaching and a brain-boosting diet to be able to concentrate better.

Teaching a child to focus has far-reaching benefits that extend beyond keeping a preschool classroom under control. A University of Oregon study published this month revealed that children who are better able to stay mentally engaged at a young age are 50 percent more likely to succeed in higher education.

Child development researcher Megan Mcclelland and her team came to this conclusion after monitoring the academic progression of 430 preschoolers. The subjects were assessed at age 4, 7 and 21 to gauge their math and reading skills. Additionally, parents were asked to rate their child's "self-regulation," which means being able to listen, pay attention, recall instructions and complete set challenges.

According to a university article, the study showed that a child's self-regulation at age 4 was the most significant indicator that he or she would complete a bachelor's degree.

Unlike some genetic-based facets of intelligence, researchers have found that these skills "are malleable and can be taught," the source states. In fact, McClelland explains that even a simple game of Simon Says can help increase these abilities.

Focus-based activities are not the only way to boost a child's attention span. Pediatric behavioral nutritionist Janice Baranowski from Baylor University told LiveStrong that eating habits can play a key role in this development, explaining that certain nutrients like iron and omega-3 fatty acids contribute directly to brain health and concentration, so incorporating them in a child's meals may help improve their self-regulation.

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