The moment your little one steps out of the first year of her life, she will begin to explore a lot of things around her. Some of them will excite her and some will not be interesting enough for a second look. It is extremely cute to find her noticing things you have grown up to take for granted. But every now and then, you must have realized that this new-found curiosity is short-lived as they move from ‘interesting stuff #1’ to ‘interesting stuff #2’. At this point, you wonder how can you help develop a sense of focus in your toddler. If only babies came with the ability to be attentive!
The ability to be attentive can be harnessed in your little star from a young age. In fact, experts say that an ideal situation has a 4-year-old child’s focus span as much as 2 to 5 minutes times the age of the child. So, a 4 year old can focus for as much as 20 minutes at a go. While attention span is generally elastic, it is very much a subject of practice. Basically, there are five rules to make its easier for your child to focus better.
1# Pay attention to her
You have to listen to child and pay attention to her cues. A child learns what she observes. So, lead by example and teach her what it looks like when someone is paying attention to another person. If you have a busy schedule (which is true for mostly all parents), you need to prioritize time for her. Setting aside time to listen to how her day went might be a good idea to begin with.
2# Word Games
The best way to teach a toddler is through creative activities. Find fun games which can be tweaked everyday. Take a story book and ask her to find out how many times she can spot the letter D or how many colors are there in the picture in front of her. While on a road trip, ask her to count the number of red cars passing by.
3# Interest Specific Activity
The best thing is to start with an activity that piques your little one’s interest. My cousin loved cars as a toddler and his parents used to ask him the name of the car’s model every time they were on the road. He could spend hours playing that game. Once on track, the child can learn to sit and pay attention to other activities as well.
4# Reduce Distractions
Attention deficit behavior does not always stem from a child’s interest in a particular thing or activity. It can be catalyzed by factors beyond her control such as hunger, diversion from routine or need for sleep. Whenever your child shows unusually disruptive or random behavior, you can look for such reasons. A distraction could be in the form of siblings around, in that case you could go for a separate room.
5# Reduce Screen Time
Research has shown that kids who spend more time in front of TV screens or tablets, end up having decreased attention span. Limiting the screen time for kids can be a refreshing change for everyone in the family including the kids. Fast paced cartoons tend to decrease focus in children. You may want to replace them with slow paces shows.
Hope these work for you. I am seeing more results from these rather than some other tricks I tried in vain. All the best!