As a general rule of thumb, the average attention span for children is 3–5 minutes for every year of their age. For example, a 3-year-old should be able to concentrate for around 9–15 minutes and a 6-year-old should be able to focus for approximately 18–30 minutes.
Interestingly, junior’s ability to hold their attention can be easily influenced by their:
- Motivation – how much they want to participate in a task, including how much they enjoy it
- Sensory integration – how well they’re able to use the information their senses give them in order to complete tasks (e.g. touch or hearing)
- Self-esteem – how confident they are in themselves and their abilities, and how likely they are to ask for help if they need it
- Language abilities – being able to understand language, follow instructions and communicate
- Practise – the opportunities they’ve had to be able to practise their concentration skills within both quiet and ‘busy’ environments
Your child may have difficulties concentrating if they struggle with any of the following:
- Persisting with tasks from start to finish
- Ignoring distractions (e.g. sounds)
- Completing age appropriate tasks by themselves
- Following instructions or remembering the steps or details of instructions
- Sitting still and not fidgeting
- Coping with multiple tasks (e.g. copying what’s written on the blackboard onto paper while listening to the teacher speak)
- Adapting to change
- Choosing relevant information from a large amount of information (e.g. finding a specific pair of socks in the sock drawer or finding the answer to a question on a page of writing)
PlayBiz has put together an assortment of tips and strategies that will help you help develop little miss or mister’s concentration skills.
Under General Tips are some basic ideas for creating ideal learning environments that foster concentration. Once you’ve had a squiz at these, scroll down to Interactive and Playful Tips for some really fun and engaging ways to help hone your youngster’s ability to focus.
Don’t forget that becoming a PlayBiz member gives you access to a comprehensive library of activities that will help you help your whippersnapper develop their crucial foundation skills!
This includes 2-minute Play-a-Short videos that give you and junior a fun and entertaining ‘therapist style’ demonstration of how to develop specific foundation skills through playful activities.
There are also the 10-minute Play-a-Long combined videos that combine several foundation skills for optimum effect. Picture a fun and educational TV program like PlaySchool crossed with an occupational therapy session that’s chock full of strategies to help develop your little one’s essential foundation skills.
Ready, steady, learn!