9 Practical Tips To Increase Your Child's Attention Span
In this era of distractions, attention spans are shorter than a light fuse. Increase your child's attention span with these tips...
In this age of instant chat and social media, constant distractions are de rigeuer and attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. Sorry, what were we talking about again? See, you get the picture! If us adults fall prey to Facebook while in the midst of crafting a report, imagine how your five-year-old feels when tasked to sit still and focus on his letter-writing exercise. His toys in the playroom are calling! Yet getting your child to sustain his attention is not an impossible task. We feel these simple tips can help you increase your child’s attention span.
1. Comfort? Check!
While many are of the opinion that furniture and decor do nothing to increase your child’s concentration, we feel that one should never discount the value of a conducive environment. Having the right gear such as a proper ergonomic chair and a well-lit table can do wonders to increase your child’s attention span. If he’s stuck in an uncomfortable environment, he’d definitely want to escape, as soon as possible! If it’s a hot day, make sure the fan is blowing or the air-conditioner on. But he shouldn’t be too relaxed either – don’t let him do his worksheets or homework on his bed or near his toys, no matter how much he begs!
2. Set manageable goals
One WHOLE hour of writing and Math?! That’s a surefire way to instigate a rebellion. A kid at a tender age of five is unlikely to manage a single task for such a long time duration so vary the work you give into smaller, bite-sized goals that can be completed between 10 to 15 minutes depending on age. This way, every finished task is a milestone and every milestone reached is an accomplishment to be proud of. You can then celebrate these small successes with a little reward or a two-minute stretch break.
3. Focus, focus, focus
According to our very own readers, the best way to increase your child’s attention span is to sharpen their focusing skills. Reader Danielle Niam posted on our Facebook page her recommendation to increase focus in kids. She suggested that learning abacus is a great way to improve focus. She believes that it helps train young minds to focus as well as concentrate. Additionally, it improves problem-solving skills too.
4. Set a schedule
At the start of every week, sit down with your child and plan out a schedule for the week. It’s important that you do it together and that your child has significant input in the schedule. In this way, he is taking responsibility for the work he wants to do for the week. Then paste this somewhere visible such as on his study table or on the refrigerator door. This could help increase your child’s attention span as he is clear on his schedule and constantly reminded of what he needs to do.
5. Play mind games
Games are a great way to promote concentration and focus. Make sure that they are hands-on activities such as puzzles or board games such as snakes and ladders, checkers or chess – if they can handle it! Activities that have a clear objective and needing follow-through will help children concentrate better and increase attention span.
6. Distraction central
The idiot box, aka the television, iPad and smartphones have become major players in distracting the average adult and the technologically precocious child. This constant visual stimulation through such devices can actually erode a child’s attention span and thus their use should be kept to a minimum. So keep these distractions away when its time for your child to deal with schoolwork, chores or other responsibilities.
7. It’s about sacrifice
Parents, we too have to sacrifice to help our children increase their attention span. As much as it may be painful to those of us addicted to our Instagram accounts, let’s refrain from watching television or using smartphones and tablets when our child is trying to do his least-favoured tasks that need extra effort and focus. It’s no fun working while someone else is playing! Also, this sets a good behaviour example for him and reduces distraction.
8. It’s in the food
Food can be a strong factor in affecting our children’s ability to concentrate. According to some of our readers, traditional supplements such as fish oil and essence of chicken can do wonders to increase children’s attention span. Other than supplements, parents should prepare small nutritious meals – rather than big heavy meals – with complex carbs and lots of veggies for their kids. This will improve energy levels overall, which would certainly help with those longer learning sessions.
9. Find alternatives that work
When traditional methods fail, try to step out of the box. For example, if you observe that your child’s mind is wandering after about 15 minutes of additional work, re-engage him by using a different way to count, say with blocks that he can build up as structures.
Did you find these tips useful? Do let us know if you are planning to try any of these suggestions and whether they work to increase your child’s attention span.