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  • Demonstrates an age appropriate attention span.
  • Listens with interest when an adult explains something to the group/class.
  • Sticks at an activity and does not get easily distracted.
  • Sees tasks through to the end with a good attention span.
  • Maintains attention and concentration when playing a simple board game.
  • Sits reasonably well without talking or causing disruption when the adult makes a request to all/group of children for their attention.

Ideas to help Develop Attention

  • Turn off the television! Overstimulation and exposure to television, computers, and video games can really hurt attention spans. It is recommended that children have no more than one to two hours per day of total high-quality screen time, including TV, videos, computers, phones, and video games.
  • Make sure they are having enough sleep. Try and have a consistent bedtime and stick to it. Tiredness has a huge impact on your child’s ability to concentrate.
  • Ensure they are eating a healthy diet, and eating regularly. Having a well-balanced diet without too many sugary drinks and sweet foods will help your child to think more clearly.
  • Find the time of day that your child is most alert and use this time to engage in activities that develop attention span. Find a theme that attracts your child to an activity, such as a favourite character like Dora or Fireman Sam and use this to encourage a child to focus on an activity such as a jigsaw or small world play.
  • Avoid taking over when your child finds something hard and wants to give up. Instead try and offer suggestions e.g. “Why don’t you try turning that jigsaw piece round and see what happens?” This will help refocus your child on the task and encourage them to pay attention for longer.
  • Read to your child and talk about the book. Start off with shorter books and slowly increase the length and complexity of the text as their attention span grows. Try listening to books on a CD in the car and at home.
  • Encouraging your child to interact with a pet can develop their attention span as it is often something they are keen to focus on for longer.
  • Engage your child’s interest by planning fun activities such as den building, craft activities, treasure hunts etc. Get involved with your child and use an exciting tone of voice. These will help your child to remain engaged, as well as building your relationship!

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