Anyone who has ever had the responsibility of being a parent or guardian to a small child will know just how stressful, confusing and testing it can be at any given point of the day!
Children are one of life’s greatest gifts, but that doesn’t mean that they are always perfectly behaved. You know that already, right?
One issue that tends to come up again and again with parents and guardians is they find their child distracted and not having a very long attention span. Of course, you can’t expect a small child to be as engaged and ‘in the moment’ as an adult all the time. Sometimes there is definitely a vibe that can be picked up on in which you get the sense that your little one might be more troubled by their distractive nature than others.
There are plenty of different ways for how to help a distracted child, but first of all, it can be helpful to brush up on some of the reasons that this might be happening in the first place.
Why Your Child Might Be Easily Distracted
1. Lack of Practise
If the problem of distraction has been raised by a teacher in school, then it could be that your child hasn’t yet gotten used to the regimented routine that school requires of them.
Little ones starting out in a classroom for the first time can often take some time to adjust to the new way that their days pan out.
Once upon a time all they had to think about was playing and eating; now there are many more and more structured tasks to have to get used to. Being a child sucks, right?
2. Not Challenged Enough
Alternatively, it could actually be the case that your child isn’t being challenged enough in their new environment.
If they happen to be particularly gifted or intelligent, distraction can arise from being presented with work and situations that are too simple for them to get invested in.
Boredom is a key reason why your child is lacking attention!
3. External Factors
A lot of distractions in young children can arise thanks to external factors in the environment around them. Chatty class peers and a cluttered workspace will lead to distraction!
It’s worth considering this as a reason for your own child’s issues.
4. Lack of Motivation
Distraction can also stem from a general disinterest in whatever activity if causing your child’s attention to wander. In these cases, it can be productive to search for alternative activities in order to help them be more invested.
Alternatively, show them a different way to tackle the task to see if you can spark their interest…
5. Sleep and Nutrition
The lack of a sleep routine, as well as nutrition(too much sugar), are responsible for distraction issues. If your child isn’t sleeping enough at night or is a fussy eater that doesn’t enjoy a balanced diet, then it could be a contributing factor to their distraction problems.
So, now that we have identified some of the leading causes in the problem area, what about the solutions?
How To Help A Distracted Child – 5 Rules
Here are some of the best-recommended ways for how to help a distracted child become a more stable and engaged version of themselves.
1. Consistent Schedule
One of the first and most effective things to do is set up a regular and consistent schedule for your child.
Getting them into a routine that they can recognize and start to rely on is a good way to help them with their distraction issues.
The fewer new elements and incidents that occur each day, the fewer possibilities for the distraction there will be.
2. Frequent Breaks
One way to get your child to focus more is to structure their work in shorter bursts. This gives them frequent breaks in between.
When a little one feels like something is going to go on forever, they will automatically start to switch off and wander from the task in hand.
The knowledge that a short break is coming after a period of effort might make them more inclined to stick at it.
3. Remove Distractions
Sometimes you have to take a slightly harder approach to the situation and actually remove the offending distractions from the work environment.
In most cases, distraction tends to come from things like phones, TVs, and game consoles.
Create a space where the possible distractions are few and far between.
4. Talk at Their Level
One of the quickest ways to lose a child’s engagement is to talk to them at a level they cannot yet comprehend.
Do your best to keep things at a level where they can understand everything you say and can find the words to come up with appropriate responses. You know how good it feels to have a really good conversation with somebody, right? So keep that in mind when trying to engage with your child!
Communication is extremely important.
5. Be Positive
Always try to tackle these things in a positive manner. Include references to the distraction issues with your child in a positive way in their presence. For example, rather than telling them off for being distracted, talk to them about the fact that they are interested in too many things at once.
In the long run, positive feedback and reinforcement are much better. It won’t be able to change behavior from bad to good, but simply streamlining it as it already exists.
Frequently Asked Questions
Firstly, you will need to engage with your child’s teacher. They will be trained in dealing with easily distracted children. I would ask the question ‘what can I do at home to help a distracted child?’ Your child’s teacher will be able to give you tips to improve concentration levels at school.
There could be a number of reasons why your child is easily distracted. They could be bored, not interested, or they might have too many things around to distract them. If your child is easily distracted, begin by removing everything around them and work from there.
Not necessarily. Although, if you think your child has symptoms of ADHD, do not rely on the internet, or any quiz to diagnose it. Take your child to see a medical professional.
Hopefully, our brief list of tips and suggestions might be able to help you on your own journey. Resolving your child’s distraction issues is certainly a journey!
I urge parents and guardians not to take a regimented approach to the situation at such an early age.
Attention span is something that very much matures and develops as a child grows.