Concerned About Your Child’s Attention Span? Here Are 6 Helpful Ways To Improve It

Sarmistha Neogy
·5-min read

Focus! 5 more minutes and then you can take a break!” Have you struggled to get your child to concentrate? Have you found yourself analysing this through a child attention span chart? Well then, you are not alone.

It is not a secret that kids have a short attention span and their concentration flickers. But if your

To know if your kid’s wavering concentration is an issue, a child attention span chart can be very useful. It can help you develop age-appropriate expectations about attention spans. Let’s take a look at how this works.

Child Attention Span Chart: What Parents Must Know

child attention span chart
child attention span chart

Image courtesy: iStock

Attention span refers to the amount of time a person can focus on one activity without losing focus. Childhood development experts say that a child’s attention span increases by 2-3 minutes, per year.

This is how a child attention span chart looks:

  • 2-years-old: four to six minutes

  • 4-years-old: eight to 12 minutes

  • 6-years-old: 12 to 18 minutes

  • 8-years-old: 16 to 24 minutes

  • 10-years-old: 20 to 30 minutes

  • 12-years-old: 24 to 36 minutes

  • 14 years old: 28 to 42 minutes

  • 16 years old: 32 to 48 minutes

While this chart is informative, remember, that these are general markers. There are a lot of external factors that also come into play when it comes to a child’s attention span.

For instance, how hungry or tired your child and how interested your child is in the given activity. However, if your child’s attention is shorter than average, then it needs to be addressed immediately.

A child attention span chart will help you set realistic expectations and alert you of the times you may need to intervene. Here are some easy tips that you can use to improve your child’s attention span.

6 Tips To Improve Your Child’s Attention Span

child attention span chart
child attention span chart

Image courtesy: iStock

1. Get creative

Try to be creative to engage and involve your child. For instance, your child may not be fond of doing math, so let him work out problems in finger paint. Usually, kids don’t have the attention span to complete the work which they dislike. So, try spicing up the mundane tasks.

2. Make them feel comfortable

When your kid is working on a difficult task, check on them frequently. If he/she kid looks confused by the project at hand, they will also get distracted. To start with, help them identify the potential stumbling blocks. Then solve the first problem and allow your child to work on the next.

3. Praise your child’s effort

We often praise the outcome of the task but may forget to praise the effort. It is very important to let the kids know that they have done a good job and how. It will not only boost their confidence but encourage them to try something new again.

4. Break down the task

To help him or her tackle the project at hand, deliver the instructions in small steps. You will find it works better than giving long-winded explanations, guilt-tripping, or yelling.

For instance, if you find your kid’s room dirty, instead of telling your child to “clean the room immediately!” You can tell him, “Please clear all the toys from the room and I will come back in 30 minutes to check.” Then after you come back, give the second set of instruction like “Please also clean your study table.”

5. Give attention to get attention

Neal Rojas, M.D., a developmental-behavioural paediatrician at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, in San Francisco, feels that for kids to give attention, it is important for them to get attention.

Dr Rojas says, “It’s easy for a parent to get stuck in a rut. Our attention is often scattered. But if our attention is scattered, and we can’t bring ourselves back to the moment, we can’t expect a child to be able to do so.”

To help your child follow your instructions better, stand near and look into their eyes.

6. Combat hunger and fatigue

If your child is hungry or tired, he or she may not be able to concentrate on the given work. So, you need to be aware if something is coming in the way of your child’s attention span. If he/she is tired, ask them to take rest, probably a quick nap or play to freshen their mind.

To help them combat hunger, give them a snack before they start their homework or any task. Make sure it is a healthy snack and is not loaded with sugar and fat.

When Should You Seek Help?

child attention span chart
child attention span chart

Image courtesy: iStock

While you have the child attention span chart to help you understand the situation better, you may find your child’s faltering attention span could also indicate some underlying issues.

They can be as serious as mental health conditions or learning disorders. Hence, measuring and mapping your child’s attention span is one way to understand the problem at hand and help address your child’s needs better.

Even though we understand that every kid is different, there are some red flags, which you shouldn’t ignore. If you notice of the following, it is advisable to reach out to a doctor for further treatment.

  • Constant trouble staying affixed to a set activity for a while

  • Requiring constant guidance and reviews

  • Shifting from one activity to another

  • Extreme mood imbalances

  • Being inattentive

  • Consistent poor class performance

  • Inability to control impulses

Remember, every child is different and so is their attention span. You can use the child attention span chart as a reference to check if your child is moving along the normal curve. But, if you find any deviation, work on ways to improve your little one’s attention. Happy parenting!

Source: Brain Balance, TOI


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