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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Improving Your Child's Attention Span

By Andrew Loh

What is Attention?

....... "The process whereby a person concentrates on some features of the environment to the (relative) exclusion of others" " Princeton University

What is attention span?

....... "The length of time you can concentrate on some idea or activity." " Princeton University

Every child is unique and special. Every child is his or her own individual as well. By birth, young children are extremely fickle minded and possess a short attention span. It is normal for a child to behave in this way. However, when children show excessive signs of loosing their attention span, it becomes a big problem. Attention span in children is as individual as they are. Some children will have very short attention span, while many others will have a very long attention span. Parents can feel utmost frustration, when their children possess very short attention spans.

Parents of school going children will feel the maximum heat, because it becomes very difficult for them manage their children, either in their daily routines or while helping with their homework. The most common complaint that most parents make is that they cannot make their children concentrate on one area of activity. Children with short attention span always get bored very easily. Distraction is another negative character which children with short attention span tend to display. Short attention span in children could be a dangerous sign. Children with short attention span display several visible signs. Some of these signs are as follow:

  • Cannot sit down in one place

  • Extreme agitation and nervousness

  • Lack of motivation and self-initiative

  • Cannot focus on a particular activity

  • Loss of interest in studies

  • Extreme impatience

Usually, a child's attention span relates to the age. According to experts, the degree of attention span between children varies from two and five minutes for every year in child's life. It means that an eight year old child can focus on any given job at hand for about 45 minutes. However, if the child in that age bracket fails to focus on any given task for 15 minutes or more, then there is something very wrong with the attention span.

Children with short attention span always fail to finish an assigned task at hand. In fact, they may never be able to finish the task very easily; parents may need to cajole and urge them to make their children sit down in place and work on the task. Children with short attention span are objects of extreme criticism. Their perceived inattention and errors or mistakes will eventually lead to feelings of self-destruction, shame, frustration and resentment. Children with short attention span often struggle in their classroom. Failure to focus on lessons and to do assigned tasks may work against such children. Such children may also fail to mingle with their peers.

Short term attention spans could arise because of many psychological problems. Is it possible to overcome these problems? Yes, only when parents try hard to train their children to focus and concentrate on given tasks. Parents may think that lack of attention between their children is a serious issue. It may not be a serious issue, especially when there are so many techniques and methods of teaching children, how to develop concentration and focus.

The overall length of a child's attention span depends on the type and character of home life. In reality, your child's brain starts developing its pace from birth until the age of about ten years. Attention span in children always depends on type of programming the brain receives during this time period. Today's lifestyle is very quick and fast paced. Dynamic TV programs and ultra-quick video games are the norms of the day, when children love to indulge in those activities. TV viewing and playing video games help a child develops short term attention spans. Excessive TV watching or video games may result in lack of attention and focus.

A child could also be simply disciplined and unruly. It is so common to label this child as someone who lacks attention. If this is the case, you may need to make some serious corrections in the way you work with your child. Proper disciplining may help you teach how to develop attention and focus. If you think that your child is finding difficulties focusing on some tasks, do not despair, because changes are definitely possible. Sheer determination and hard work will pay off in the end. If you are consistent with the attention span building activities, the neuron network in the brain will start connecting themselves almost automatically. Long term attention spans are possible, only when you learn the techniques and methods that relate to focus, concentration and attention. Contine to read Increasing Your Child's Attention Span - Useful Techniques and Methods.


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