By Teacher Ravisara
What is an Attention Span?
Attention or concentration span is a child’s ability to give attention to the specific task. It requires blocking out all distractions and other stimuli – such as sound (from the room next door), visuals (things hanging in the room, or anything outside the window) or unnecessary information (text on the board, or technology).
Children at a young age often struggle to pay attention. When they receive a task which they find difficult, they often choose to give up rather than give it a go. If you notice your child regularly losing focus, here are some strategies that may help increase your child’s attention span and improve their overall performance.
- Include Physical Activity
Children who struggle with focusing on a specific task often do better if they are given breaks for active play in between their activities. Taking a break to bounce on an exercise ball, running & playing catch, a quick stretch, can all help the attention-challenged child stay focused. Have the child start with 15 minutes of active play before starting a task, have them take a quick 5 minute in between and have them end with an active task. This will surely help the child stay more engaged & motivated throughout.
- Have ‘ Attention Breaks’
Teach the child how to pay attention, give them a brief description of the word attention and what it means to pay attention, a visual example at this point would be great. Allow the child to practise attention behaviour. Include a timer, have a signal go off during the work period and make sure the child can mark themselves as to where they were in the activity to see if they were paying attention. This can help train the child’s brain to understand what attention is and how they are in control to disengage.
- Remove Visual Distractions
When a child struggles with a task they tend to look around at the clutter and disorganisation in the classroom. They control their brain to focus on a space in the room with the most objects. When they focus on these objects they tend to take time which removes time from participating on their actual task. Remove the unnecessary clutter and visual experiences from the area. This will allow the child to have fewer distractions from focusing on the task.
- Play Memory Games
Memory isn’t all muscle, but it surely improves focus. Memory games help the child to focus in a fun way which allows them to concentrate when anything challenges them. Add memory games during the child’s free play to engage this type of muscle memory in the required space. Memory games do not have to be complicated, a simple red-green-light (placing our coloured circles and having your child match them), number matching (have them collect two of the same numbers), or i-spy (having them find an option in the area).
These activities and strategies may help your child to concentrate and focus which allows them to learn and have fewer distractions. Increasing their attention spans with puzzles, breaks, memory games & other engaging activities will help them focus better and it will equip them with the ability to have control over their brains in terms of engaging and disengaging movements.