Children need an attention span to learn new things but each child’s attention span will differ. For instance, a three year old will only be able to focus on a task for a few minutes, whereas a five year old should be able to focus for longer. Gender also has an effect on attention span.
Girls are often more capable of holding focus than boys at a young age. Between the age of three and seven, young boys are full of testosterone which makes them want to be active rather than sitting still to learn. Every child is unique so if you’re looking for some tips that could help to improve your child’s attention span, take a look below.
Keep Learning Spaces Organized
It can be difficult for adults to concentrate in a cluttered work space so we can’t expect it of children. If you put a child in a space that contains lots of toys or objects to pick up, it’s inevitable that they’ll become distracted. If you want your child to concentrate on a particular task, the space needs to be devoted to the task.
For instance, if you want to focus on creating some artwork, clear the space entirely and place only art tools in it. This could be a blank canvas, paint, brushes, and anything to make texture on the picture.
Plan For Lots of Breaks
Prolonging your child’s attention for too long won’t do either of you any favors. Young children need lots of mental breaks to come back to a place where they can focus again. It’s worth bearing in mind that play is work for children.
When young children are engaging with their peers and role playing, it is all part of their development. So, while playing may not look like working to adults, it’s exactly what your child needs to grow and learn.
Plenty of Rest
When your child is tired, you’re unlikely to get the attention span you need from him. Whether it’s a few hours at school or out on a family adventure, those few hours will take it out of your child. If you push your child to continue to work when he’s overtired, it could result in an accident.
Children who are overtired are prone to becoming overactive, unbalanced, and very emotional. It’s why CPR training for schools is essential. When children are tired, they don’t see danger. Make sure your child gets the rest he needs to manage his load.
This applies to children of all ages. For young children, it’s easier for them to focus on something when they’re seeing it, not just hearing it. It’s why many teachers use puppets when telling a story in the classroom.
For older children, visual learning is just as important. It’s clear that not every child learns well with words on a page. Visual learning allows them to understand the subject without having to read text and take it in.
Perhaps you feel like you’ve tried everything to hold your child’s attention span. You won’t be the first or the last parent to worry about your child’s learning. As a parent, you have a unique opportunity to help your child learn because you know him so well.
You may feel that your child needs to be active while learning. You may think that your child needs to use his hands or watch real life demonstrations. Find what works for you and don’t be afraid to be creative with learning.
Give Your Child Some Control
Whether your child is at school or at home, it can help to know what is happening and when it’s happening. We often take for granted that children know what we know. Try using a clock or stopwatch to help your child understand the length of learning.
For example, set the stopwatch to five minutes and read together for that amount of time. When the alarm sounds, your child will know it’s time for freeplay and the task is over. It’s a great way to let children know that the tasks they don’t want to do won’t last forever.
Motivation and Incentives
Helping your child to get motivated can be tough but it’s so worth it. If you think about it, adults don’t work for nothing. We go to work to get paid and, hopefully, some job satisfaction. Children need incentives to focus on their tasks but the incentives don’t have to be huge.
A simple sticker, certificate, or even praise will suffice. It’s vital that you tell your child how well he’s doing and how proud you are if you want him to see the value in what he’s doing. Your praise will motivate him to continue working towards his goals.
Practice Attention Boosting Games
Everything takes practice, including focusing on tasks. When you want to boost the attention span of a child, try using games as a way to introduce the concept. For instance, the game ‘Simon Says’ is a great way to keep children focused on what is happening and react accordingly.
They’ll need to watch you to complete the game successfully. There are many other games you can play together that allow your child to practice focus without putting too much pressure on him.
Stick To The Same Instructions
As you go through tasks with your child, it’s important to give clear instructions. However, it’s even more important to stick to them. If you start bending the rules, your child will think he can too.
If your child has no respect for the rules set out and the instructions given, you may have a hard time getting tasks completed as they should be. Children benefit from these guidelines because it gives them parameters that they can rely on as they work and develop.
You may have noticed that there are some tasks that your child simply isn’t interested in. Every child has areas that aren’t their strong suits. If you notice that your child isn’t interested or refuses to attempt the task, disengage.
Allow your child to take a breather and return to the task when the child is in a better frame of mind. If there are tasks that your child is insistent he doesn’t want to do, you may need to play the long game. It could take you a while to meet your goals but with perseverance and patience, you’ll both get there.
Time outdoors is good for everyone but especially good for children. For young children, a lot of learning can be done outdoors. It’s a great way to learn about seasons, wildlife, nature, and much more.
In addition to this, being outdoors is a good way to reframe your thought pattern. For children, it’s an excellent distraction from different types of tasks. It’s a chance to get some fresh air, play, climb, and get a good dose of vitamin D.
Several Levels of Guidance
Children need constant guidance to get a task done. The first level of guidance should be explanation. Verbally give your child instruction on what you want him to do.
The second level of guidance should be visual. You can show examples of the task completed so your child gets a more in-depth understanding of what to do. As your child begins the task, offer reassurance and praise where you can to boost confidence.
Every child goes at a different pace. Some are high-flyers while others take their time. If your child is finding the pace difficult, you can adjust it to suit his needs.
You may find that reducing the workload gets better results. Shorter stints of attention may produce higher quality results than if you were to prolong the task. As your child becomes more able to pay attention, you can gradually increase the workload.
Avoid Getting Angry
It can be frustrating to help a child who isn’t paying attention. Please remember that this is often because the child can’t pay attention, not because the child doesn’t want to. Even when you know your child is capable of performing the task, there may be something getting in the way, like tiredness or distraction.
If your child sees you get frustrated or angry at the lack of attention, it could make things worse. Try to keep this time as positive as possible so your child doesn’t see attention challenges as a negative experience. Your child will be less likely to want to work with you if the experiences are always negative for you both.
Be a Role Model
It’s essential to lead by example where kids are concerned. They will copy everything you do. So, if you’re picking up your phone in the middle of a task, why shouldn’t he get distracted too?
Demonstrate how to concentrate on one thing, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Show your child that you’re willing to go through it all with him.
If you’ve found this article helpful, take a look at the others.