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Your guide to a successful education in Africa.

7 Effective Ways for Increasing Your Child's Attention Span

Focus is not only important for your child to complete their homework, but it is also key to a successful life. Being focused will help your child have a purposeful direction in their education and their life in general. Having better results can help your child feel motivated and be more satisfied in life. On the other hand, children without focus are usually agitated when working on a task, less motivated, and tend to get distracted easily. These are the children said to have a poor attention span. Experts advice that attention spans are elastic and so parents should expect to see a variation in their child’s attention span as the days goes by. There may be nothing wrong with your child’s attention span if they seem to get distracted easily right after getting up in the morning or after completing a heavy task. However, if you find that you need to remind your child to get back to a task more often than not, then read on to learn how you can support your child to be more focused.


Here are 7 effective ways for increasing your child's attention span:

1. Be creative

Most of the things we need our children to focus on are not necessarily fun or meaningful to our children. In fact, more often than not, those things are more important to us while the child may not immediately understand their importance. That is why it is possible to find children so focused on a game while the situation changes completely when it comes to working on their homework. To keep them focused, incorporate things they like to do or ideas they find interesting. For instance, to get your child to write a story, begin by discussing a topic they enjoy. Once they are into the topic, ask them to write a story about it. If they have a prescribed topic, they could use characters they like such as a cartoon character or a sports champion. Children love their toys and will often spend tremendous amount of time playing with them. To get your child to work on numbers, find a way to use the toys as their math tools. Another idea is to ask your child to choose a toy that will work together with them to complete a task, as long as the toy does not end up distracting them. The idea is to turn something dull into something meaningful and fun for the child.

2. Give attention to get attention

It is not uncommon to find that a parent has a couple of other things they are working on as they work with their children on another task such as homework. Your child will not only pick the wrong signals from you, but you will also not be focused enough to give your child the attention they need to stay focused. Children work well with clear and concise directions. To be able to do this, you need to be physically close to your child, close enough to maintain eye contact. However, it is OK to leave your child alone if the nature of the task allows it. Also, be sure to let your child bring out their own ideas and thoughts; be cautious to not over guide the child, instead, maintain a directing role.

3. Eliminate distractors

Distractors can get in the way of your child’s attention. Do not blame your child if they cannot stay focused when their favorite cartoon is on a screen in the background. Also, being hungry or tired can reduce your child’s attention span. While some kids can focus well in relatively noisy areas, others cannot. Giving breaks in between structured tasks such as homework allows your child to relax enough to be able to focus. As you work closely with your child, you will learn what distracts them and what kind of environment supports their attention span.

4. Give clear instructions

Children will often dismiss tasks if they deem them to be too difficult or if they do not understand what they are supposed to do. Keep the instructions simple and easy to understand. If necessary, break down one task into several parts and dispense the instructions one at a time. For instance, to help a 6 year old write the digits 1 through 10, start by asking them to write digit 1 first. After they have completed that, ask them to write digit 2, and so on. Some tasks may even require you to illustrate them to ensure your child understands what they need to do. After giving the instructions, check to see if your child has understood.

5. Exercise works

Research shows that children who take breaks to do some physical activity have a longer attention span. Organize your child’s day such that the schedule allows for physical activity.

6. Give positive reinforcement

Let your child know when they have done something well. In fact, letting your child know that they can do something they like after they have completed a task can greatly motivate them. Also, keep on reminding your child of the importance of staying focused. After they have successfully completed a task, show them the results and point out that such an achievement was possible because of the effort they have put in staying focused.

7. Start early and be consistent

The earlier you start training your child to be focused, the easier it will be for you and your child. Also, follow the measures you apply consistently to avoid giving your child mixed signals. Consistency also ensures lasting results.


Apply these tips consistently and you will definitely see improvement in your child's attention span.

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