Most children start off with short attention spans. Their ability to focus develops as they grow older. Here are a few suggestions for helping your child strengthen this ever-expanding skill:
- Move slowly. In the early years, children tend to move quickly from one activity or point of interest to another. Try a "slow motion" game where you ask your child to slowly and deliberately walk to an object, pick it up, and bring it to you.
- Encourage him to notice each step and action, increasing the complexity of the tasks every time. This helps him to become more aware of his thoughts and movements.
- Watch and listen. Two of the most important ways children learn to focus is by strengthening their senses of sight and sound. Take a silent "listening walk" around the house or the neighborhood, pointing in the direction of sounds to help your child concentrate. At the end, talk about what you heard. Next time try a silent "watching walk."
- Take turns. Play board games or tell stories at the dinner table, encouraging each family member to pay attention when another is in the spotlight. It's a fun way to help your young one hone his focusing skills — and some of the older participants could probably benefit from the practice, too.