It is not uncommon to hear parents ask us how to help their child improve his or her focus. There's no one magic sliver bullet for this, as there are many factors to consider.
But what we can tell you is that giving them structure tends to help. Having a specific schedule of activities (they don't necessarily need to be too complicated), but just a schedule and adhering to it tends to help.
We recommend taking some time and doing structured activities with them, such as building something, practicing Kung-Fu moves together with a designated amount of repetitions, or reading to each other.
It takes more effort and time, but you are instilling a sense of orientation towards a goal. And when that becomes the culture of your household, it does tend to rub off on the child.
A couple of cautionary notes. It could very well be that your child has a neurological condition that inhibits his or her ability to focus. If you have suspicions, by all means, get your child evaluated. Not to say a structured environment won't help, it probably will, but there may be deeper issues that need to be dealt with.
Another cautionary note is to keep as cool and as positive as possible when creating a highly structured world. If you keep yelling at them, and/or berating them for losing focus and not adhering to the structured task at hand, then resentment will form. Instead, tell them how much you love seeing them do xyz.
Sometimes you might get some resistance and attitude. Again, try your best to keep your cool and be positive, and talk to them about how to express their frustration without being too negative. Maybe it is something you can work a compromise with. Or, maybe it is a non-negotiable, that you acknowledge their feelings, but it is extremely important to you that they do xyz. Use bribery rewards sparingly.
An over reliance on rewards has them focusing just long enough to get the prize, but then it's all over after that. They might just do the bare minimum, just to get the reward. So, like I said, use rewards sparingly.
In another post, I'll talk about strategic games you can play with your child to help them prepare for more structured activities like going to our Kids Kung-Fu class! =)