If you have been pulling your hair out trying to get your child’s attention to do a certain task, the good news is that you’re not alone. The bad news is that this problem has become so widespread in the digital age where online games and social media have taken over a huge chunk of your child’s attention. But hey, there’s a solution. Think of your child’s attention span as a commodity. They run out, but they also replenish at certain times of a day. They get distracted when their minds are overstimulated, yet sometimes they can hold it for hours. It’s crazy. But the key is finding a workaround to get them focusing more on important tasks. Observe when your child’s attention is at its peak and setup environments to bring them in the zone. If you’re a parent and your child’s short attention span is becoming a concern, try out these 5 tips to help your child focus.
Have them complete one task at a time
Children are easily overwhelmed by instructions.Give them one too many, and notice how they tune out and take their attention elsewhere. If the task sounds complicated, break it down into bite-sized, actionable steps. What’s good is that these steps are aimed at completing the goal through a series of simple tasks which they can focus on one at a time. You’ll be grateful for how much progress they’re making because of the confidence boost each little task they complete gives them.
Sprinkle some quick reminders
Constant verbal reminders can oftentimes get lost and forgotten in a sea of distractions. But reminders don’t always have to be verbal. Leaving a quick reminder note or posting a visual reminder on a wall can help make stronger impressions without annoying your child with repeated verbal instructions. But when and if you have to, make your reminders easy for your child to take in, by keeping them brief and concise. No nagging or yelling. Just a quick and gentle reminder that comes from a place of respect and love.
Praise your child’s efforts instead of focusing on their mistakes
Mistakes are normal. Though these mistakes are not acceptable at times, your child won’t do them on purpose. Scolding does no good. So instead of focusing on what they did wrong and whose fault was it, show them how it’s done. Search for opportunities to build up their confidence by praising their efforts and acknowledging their good work. Focus on the positives and they’ll focus on the tasks better to get your approval.
As a rule of thumb, child development experts suggest that kids can keep their focus for two to five minutes times the year of their age. But this varies. Your child’s attention span is dependent on various factors—their environment, the activity, people around them and even their learning style. You can’t change all of them but take note of the areas where you can do something. If your child starts to lose attention doing tasks after a while, it might be time to schedule them some downtime. Give them limited breaks at certain intervals just to break off from the task and reset their mood. If you’re working with siblings who distract each other, move them to separate rooms doing different things and just go around spend some one-on-one time with each of them. Another way to curb distractions is by setting rules. As an example, set rules for them to finish a task before watching tv or playing games. This is part of their discipline and helps them build routines.
Sleep, Snacks and Exercise
A short attention span may be a problem but it can also be a result of something that your child is missing. Making sure that your child is getting enough rest at night and getting naps scheduled during daytime significantly helps in keeping their attention on tasks longer. Is your child hungry? Give them snacks before working on tasks to help them focus better. And as much as you can, opt for healthy snacks. Slices of fruit are better than sugar-loaded snacks.
Kids who have a short attention span get better as they mature. Help them focus better on tasks with these tips. And If you need more tips to help guide you through the wonderful journey of parenting or are looking for the best quality preschool for your little one, please contact The Pillars Christian Learning Center.