With it being completely normal for most children to have fairly short attention spans, it’s still important to take the time to try to strengthen their focus and concentration levels. In fact, according to a new study from Microsoft Corp, it’s common for most people (including adults!) to generally lose concentration after eight seconds. That’s not long at all! So, if you notice that your child is regularly losing focus during everyday tasks, here are some ways that might help increase their attention span.
Have A Quick Physical Activity Break
Kids who tend to struggle with attention often do better if they have a physical activity break. Taking a break to play outdoors, doing some jumping jacks or run around with a football, can really help them stay focused and more engaged.
Break Down Tasks Into Smaller Chunks
If you find that, no matter what you do, your child just can't seem to stay on task, it may be a good idea to break the task into smaller chunks. This way they can aim to concentrate long enough to complete a part of the task, then take a break, coming back to finish it. Children with attention struggles may actually perform the requested task faster with this strategy than if they simply tried to finish it all in one sitting.
When a child is struggling with their attention span, remember, they may be easily distracted by visual clutter or screens surrounding the area. This can make it almost impossible for them to keep their brain where it needs to be. Remove unnecessary clutter and screens from the area they’re sat.
Keep Instructions Simple
In general, try not to overwhelm your child with too many instructions at a time. The more instructions your child receives in one go, the harder it may be for them to follow, especially if they are struggling to focus. Break down the instructions and keep them concise so that it’s easier for them to follow. Also, remember that the best way to convey instructions to your child is to be physically present near them.
Children with a short attention span tend to do well with a set routine laid out for them. You can do this by allotting specific time periods for your children to work on different tasks such as spelling or drawing- this way they know what’s expected of them in that time period.
Play Focus Games
Children tend to learn a lot through play. Engaging them with fun focus games can really help to increase their attention span. Memory games or more simplistic choices such as, spot the difference, tongue twisters and Simon Says are great choices that can help your child focus on thinking, planning, and using their memory. They also double up as excellent concentration exercises for kids, as they increase brain power and improve focus by strengthening mind-body connections.
Finally, positive words and encouragement will go a long way when it comes to motivating your children to work on improving their attention span. We recommend letting them know how you’ve noticed their efforts to stay focused, recognise their actions and reward them accordingly.