One of the questions parents ask us most frequently is how to improve their child’s attention span. Teachers too feel the burden of this, maybe even more than parents as we have specific tasks to complete usually in a tight time frame. Generally speaking the younger the children, the worse the problem. We have previously discussed how to help attention span in the classroom, but how do we help with overall attention issues.
The first thing we need to realise is that biologically it’s very normal for young children to struggle with attention. In fact it would be more bizarre if a three year old was concentrating for long periods of time. The general rule seems to be a child has the attention span of its age, meaning a five year old child has a span of approx. five minutes, a nine year old nine minutes, so on and so forth. The take away? Children can’t give their full of attention to one thing for very long so manage your expectations.
Also there are a wide number of factors that can affect the ability to concentrate. A major one is motivation and interest, if we are interested in what we are doing then we are more likely to concentrate for a longer period. Another is personal circumstances, if we are preoccupied with something happening in our personal life or at home we will find it harder to concentrate on specific tasks. Understanding is another major one, if we understand the task at hand, naturally we can focus for longer. Things like environmental circumstances can play a role too, and as covered in one of our previous blog posts diet is a major contributing factor to how well a child can focus.
Alongside these factors, there are also some more serious conditions that can affect the ability to concentrate. Often children with learning difficulties will find they concentrate for shorter periods of time than their classmates. Conditions that can affect concentration include, ADHD, Autism or learning difficulties such as dyslexia. These naturally present a greater challenge to the parents and sometimes unfortunately they can go undiagnosed.
For more advice and guidance on this topic or for a free assessment please contact any of our friendly staff. We would be happy to talk you through any of our programmes and inform you how we can help your child engage in classroom activities that will hold their attention and improve their overall attention span.