It’s just sooo hard to keep their attention!! Or is it?

One of the main questions I get asked on a regular basis is about the attention span of children. Teachers complain pretty much in every corner of the world about how low the attention span of the children in their classes actually is. The younger the children, the worse the “problem”.

Now, the “problem” isn’t really a problem in itself. It’s actually a normal biological thing going on. It’s more about how we handle it as teachers. In general you can say, that a child has the attention span of it’s age.. That means a 5 year old child has a span of 5 minutes. An 8-year-old would have a span of 8. Some sources say it’s the age +1 minute, but let’s be honest, that doesn’t change very much for us. So, biologically, children CAN’T be concentrated and full of attention on one thing much longer than that.

What’s funny  is that most of our lessons are 45-60 minutes long. For some, it may even be longer. Why is that when children can only focus for such a short time? Even adults have an attention span of approximately 20 minutes, just we are able to reconnect pretty fast again once we lost our attention. Children are different though. And we still wonder why “they don’t get it” or  why “they can’t stay calm and learn”. Well, let’s just say biologically this is not quite possible yet.

Of course, I hear those of you that say “but they can paint or colour or play for like half an hour without any problem, so it can’t be really true what you are saying here!”.
What do you think, why is it easier for them to “work focused” on such things? It’s actually quite simple. Ask yourself this question: Do you really have to stay focused and concentrated aaallll the time when you are painting a picture, playing with play-doh or legos? The answer is no. Your thoughts can wander off without anyone noticing it. The child could be not focused after 5 minutes of play and wander off with his mind, going to Disney land. Then, after a while his mind comes back to the game .. and you wouldn’t even notice. Am I right?
It’s a completely different story than having to listen to the teacher intentionally, having to keep things in mind and being able to repeat and answer questions and so on and so forth.

This is all nice and dandy, you might say, but what can I do then about my lessons?! I still need to teach them somehow! So in the next post, I’ll give you some tips that I always share with the teachers (and some of them with parents as well !!!). Don’t be afraid to give advice to parents and tell them what they could change at home to get their child to be more focused. Some points may surprise you …

See you next time 😉

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