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


How to Increase Attention Span in Children?

By Andrew Loh

Everyone knows that attention is an extremely important and critical skill. Attention is a life skill to achieve success too. Someone needs to focus their minds on a given task or work to achieve the desired levels of success. To reach some goalposts, one may also need to resist the mind's inflexibility and restlessness, drive away doubts and avoid shifting focus from one area of thinking to the other.

Attention is an absolute necessity in everyone's life. Every task demands a minimum level of attention span to achieve desired results. Take any work for example - talking, working on a small task, playing or studying- each one of these task need some attention so that you can finish them with desired effect. A baby, when it is born, does not possess the art of paying attention. A skill comes at a later stage in life. A young boy or girl may never possess the attention that you and I possess and display. Young children are notorious for their fickle minds and wavering thoughts. However, as they develop, they start fine-tuning the art of paying attention to a specific task or work. In other words, the level of attention that children possess is just not enough to get the desired result.

So what exactly is attention and why is that a term called attention span is so important

According to Psychology web site, attention is “Attention is a concept studied in cognitive psychology that refers to how we actively process specific information present in our environment. Think of attention as a highlighter. As you read a section of text in a book, the highlighted section stands out, causing you to focus your interest on that area. Attention allows you to "tune out" information, sensations and perceptions that are not relevant now and instead focus your energy on the information that is important.”

On the other hand, Wikipedia, in its article on attention span, defines it as “Attention span is the amount of time that a person can concentrate on a task without becoming distracted. Most educators and psychologists agree that the ability to focus one's attention on a task is crucial for the achievement of one's goals.”

The power of attention in a child is as good as the span with which she or he pays attention to a specific task. In other words, the benefits of attention will accrue only when a child shows enough attention span to work on the task. Experts believe that the average child's attention span is notoriously short and it could be as high as five minutes or as low as a few numbers of seconds. It depends entirely on the age of the child; as the child grows older, he or she starts to build the art of attention. A normal child would possess an attention span of a maximum of 20 minutes at a stretch.

Do you want to know more about attention and its span? Click here to see an amazing source to learn more about the subject.

This article series helps parents to learn more about attention, attention span and in what manner they can enhance attention span in their children. Changing a child's behavior is a slow and gradual process. Attention is an in-built skill that should come automatically to children. However, enhancing attention span among children is a highly technical process that parents need to study in detail.

Attention span is the quantum of time a person can concentrate on a specific task and the term span means the time for which the person does not get distracted. Attention span is very low among children and parents may need to enhance this time to improve attention in children. In other words, the attention span differs among different children and it depends on their age. Shorter attention span is disadvantageous to children and some of them are as follows:

  • Shorter attention span means decreased academic performance and classroom performance.

  • Children with shorter attention span may not develop the academic skills required to succeed in the classroom.

  • Shorter attention span makes children impossible to concentrate on their studies.

  • Such children are always impatient and intolerant.

Most young children possess focused attention, which is short term in nature in clear response to an external stimulus that attracts their attention almost immediately. For example, a sudden noise made by a toy grabs a child's immediate attention that is always short lived. Soon after the effect of the distraction recedes slowly, the child will look away and concentrates on some other activities. On the contrary, sustained attention is the level of attention that is long standing in nature and that provides better results in any type of task performed. A child, that holds a colorful and vibrant toy that also produces music and sound, displays better attention spans. On the other hand, an adult working on a project report will get out of the desk only after completing it. It means that he or she will possess better and longer attention spans.

Continue to read How to Increase Attention Span in Children - Methods and Tips.


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