We often hear the same thing from parents that how their child has a low attention span and is unable to focus on one activity for long. Most of the young children and preschoolers have a very short span of attention which is quite normal. Keeping this factor in mind short duration activities are designed for preschoolers. Children have an innate desire to learn, explore and experiment. They have a high curiosity and are always bubbling with energy which leaves us exhausted. The main task at hand for parents is to find out effective ways to channelize that energy into meaningful activities. I think it is unfair on children when we term their ‘effervescence’ as ‘hyperactivity’.
But it is a cause of worry when this continues to happen in older children. How do we, as parents, handle the problem of low attention span in school going children? Let’s first look at the reasons and root causes of lack of attention .For Example-Children start doing an activity but after some time tend to lose interest in it OR nothing holds their interest for too long.
Reasons for low attention span-
Natural reasons- It is normal for children to lose interest in an activity in which they are genuinely not interested. It happens with adults too, Like- One can’t expect a Chartered Accountant to be good at writing prose. In the same way children have their own areas of interest and parents must learn to respect these differences. If low attention is displayed repeatedly and over a span of diverse activities then it needs to be addressed.
Over pushy and ambitious parents- Children become irritable when parents are very demanding and want their child to excel in diverse things at the same time. Sometimes I pity those children whose mothers rush them from one extracurricular activity to other- swimming, drawing, piano classes everything to be learnt simultaneously. Children are not robots and we should have realistic expectations from them. Over burdening will result in low attention in every sphere, free play soothes their senses.
Screen time- Increased time spent in front of screen (in the form of TV, computer, video games, mobile phones, tablets etc) makes the child prone to sleep disorders, obesity and behavioural issues. Generally children who have excessive screen time have low concentration ability.
Unhealthy eating habits- We are what we eat. Importance of healthy and nutritious food has been talked about since ages. None of us can deny the adverse impact of junk food on our body. Consuming loads of junk food and foods that are high in sugary content stimulates the senses in undesired manner.
Lack of physical activity– We live in compact houses where there is little scope for children to indulge in some sport. Unsafe environment, spurt in child abuse cases, pressure of studies and lack of time with parents makes the situation more miserable. Physical activity is like a long term investment for a healthy future of child.
Types of toys/gadgets- what happens when your family visits a mall over the weekend? Children are instantly attracted to a bright coloured musical toy or a battery operated car/robot. They use all possible tactics from sulking, howling, stamping foot to lying on the floor. Parents are very vulnerable to these antics and are left bewildered with no choice but to buy these things. Research shows that excessive use of battery operated toys and gadgets leave no room for creative thinking. Rather it is better if you give open ended toys to your child where he can be constructively engaged in creating something. Example- building blocks.
Unhealthy lifestyle Rightly said- ‘’Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy and wise’’. Children need loads of sleep, ample physical activity and a set time schedule for everything. Lack of proper sleep or watching inappropriate content on television can result in an attention deficit.
You can read about 11 tips to improve attention span in kids in the next post .
Whether you like, dislike, agree or disagree with my views please write in the comment box below. I would love to know your views.