Many of us become easily distracted when we don’t find something interesting or when we’re bored. Just like adults, children can also find it difficult to pay attention when a subject doesn’t pique their interest. This is why young kids are often restless. In fact, children have shorter attention spans than adults. In order to focus, children need something that will keep them engaged for extended periods of time, something they enjoy or something that will satisfy their curiosity.
It’s not unusual to find your thoughts wandering when your focus should be on something, but a short attention span is something that should be addressed when it comes to young kids. Why? Because significant difficulties maintaining attention may have detrimental effects on children’s overall development. It could impact their performance at school, their communication with their peers, their attention to detail, and their ability to complete important tasks.
Even if your child struggles with sustaining attention, he or she can still be successful at whatever he or she sets out to do. Help improve your child’s attention span by reviewing these tips:
Turn something dull into something fun
It’s no secret that kids prefer to engage in something fun, something that they don’t find boring. Therefore, if your little one finds studying boring, you can look for ways to be creative and inject a little fun into their study routine.
For example, if you’re teaching your child about the letters of the alphabet, it can be more exciting to let them re-create the letters using clay or tracing letters in a sandbox instead of merely writing in their workbooks with a pencil. You can also veer away from the old workbook that some children find overwhelming and create your own workbook by cutting out letters from old magazines. Not only will this make the activity more interesting for kids, but it can also help improve a child’s motor skills.
Determine your child’s learning style
Not all children have the same learning style. Parents and teachers should be well aware of that. Some kids are visual learners, some are auditory learners, while others are more kinesthetic learners. Finding out what your child’s learning style is can help you find learning activities that are best matched with the way your child takes in information, so that he or she will enjoy the activity and stay engaged for longer periods of time.
For example, let’s say your little one is more of an auditory learner. What may work for your child is listening to music or stories. They may also find it easier to follow spoken directions instead of written directions. If you want an auditory learner to learn something new, reading or telling him or her a story is often effective. If your child is more of a visual learner on the other hand, things like picture books and visual demonstrations are the kinds of things they may find more interesting.
Tap into their interests
When a child is interested in a certain topic, they’re likely to be more interested and motivated to stay focused. Try to find out which subject sparks your child’s interest and appeal to that interest. If your child loves science, introduce him or her to more science-related books. You can make learning science more fun and exciting by doing easy at-home experiments.
As a parent, it’s important to pinpoint if something is getting in the way of your child’s ability to focus. There are plenty of possible reasons behind a child’s short attention span, and it may not necessarily be because your child finds a topic boring. Sometimes children are just tired or hungry. Make sure your little one isn’t hungry right before starting a new task. Did your child get adequate sleep the night before? Be sure they’re getting enough rest each night, otherwise being too tired may interfere with his or her ability to focus.
If being too tired or hungry has been ruled out, try to find out if there’s anything else that’s distracting your child. Remember that an environment filled with distractions will stimulate children’s senses, causing them to lose focus. Be sure to create an environment free from distractions and one that is conducive for learning. Find a spot in your home that you can convert into a study area. Surround this area with learning materials such as books and visuals. Make sure it’s cozy and well lit, and more importantly, this place should be free from television, computers and other electronic gadgets.
Break down tasks into simpler ones
Another reason why children may tune out during a task is that they find it too difficult or overwhelming. Try to break down instructions into small steps. Even if it’s as simple as straightening up their room, the task may seem too overwhelming when they don’t know how to start. You can break it down, for example, by telling them to start by making their bed and arranging their pillows… next, have them pick up their toys and place them in the storage box… and so forth
Addressing attention difficulties in children may seem challenging, but with the help of these tips, you can improve your little one’s focus in no time and help them achieve success in all of their future endeavors.
Here at Handprints Academy, we make sure that children are provided with fun and exciting activities that will keep them focused while they enjoy learning. Please feel free to give us a call for more information.