The fast-paced world that we live in is replete with various kinds of distraction. Everyday we are exposed to a vast amount of information that overwhelms our brains and splinters our attention in so many directions that it becomes hard to really focus on one thing. While many adults learn to prioritize things to stay focussed, it is not the same for children. Staying attentive in a highly distracting environment gets especially difficult for your tiny tots who are overly stimulated by sights, sounds, shapes, colours and objects that trigger their senses and demand their attention. This pretty much explains why several times your kids’ focus shifts from one thing to the other within a few minutes. One moment they would be reading a rhyme from their textbook and then suddenly they would start fidgeting with their pencil. Considering children have high curiosity levels, they find it extremely difficult to ignore the information, stimuli and sensations that cross their minds at the same time.
The struggle to stay attentive becomes even more difficult for children in the post-pandemic world. With online learning gaining ground, kids are spending more time during the day at home with smartphones and gadgets. Added to this, school timings of those kids who are attending physical schools are also changing due to the heat waves prevalent in the country. This shift to the new form of home learning that was otherwise alien to them is taking a severe toll on children’s learning capabilities. This is why it is extremely pertinent for parents and teachers to work together to train and improve children’s concentration skills to prevent them from getting distracted, which also ensures the productive use of the family’s time at home.
In this age of enormous distractions, parents have a formidable task of keeping kids focused. This is why it is crucial for them to understand what attention truly means so that they can support their children in developing complex attention-related skills like memory, language, reading, writing and learning. As a textbook definition, attention span is a child’s ability to give undivided attention to a specific task at hand. A good attention span can help children with better planning, organizing, focussing, problem-solving, impulse control and emotion regulation.
While it is a known fact that children’s attention span is much shorter than adults, attention also varies from child to child. Attention is usually governed by several factors like their emotional health of children, the events that have occurred or are occurring around them, biological factors like being hungry, sleepy, or tired, age, familiarity, individual interest in the topic, learning disabilities, mood, cognitive abilities etc. With so many factors affecting attention span, it’s important for parents to analyze their everyday habits and engage in activities that can enhance their attention. Working on a child’s attention span becomes even more crucial considering it helps children learn better in school. Research suggests that kids with attention difficulties are more likely to struggle throughout the course of their school years and are more likely to experience mental health issues and low self-esteem as they develop into young adults and beyond. Further, like most skills, attention is also best developed while kids are young. The earlier parents and teachers are able to attention-train kids, the easier it is for them to learn skills necessary for learning, wellbeing and independence.
For parents, teachers, and guardians looking for ways to improve attention levels in kids and help them develop their skills, there are several easy everyday practices. By following these eight tips, children with attention issues can grow into successful, happy and capable adults.
1. Set some time to meditate
Not many people know that meditation can be a great way to boost attention in both kids and adults. Even if your child is meditating only for 10 minutes everyday, they can largely enhance their attention skills. Ensure that you practise it with them every day by trying out which form of meditation works best for them.
Reading to your children not just improves your bond with them but also boosts brain development in several ways. Tiny tots are extremely curious and soak in everything that you tell them. So, when you are narrating them a story or are reading for them, their minds are at work. Regular reading to your children enhances their listening skills, assists cognitive and language development, boosts creativity, expands their vocabulary, increases their attention span, and also fastens social and emotional development
3. Manage TV time
It is extremely important for parents to manage the amount of time their children are spending watching television. Setting a fixed and limited time for them to watch TV will develop a habit in them and a sense of routine that they can stick to. Excessive consumption of television often lead to learning difficulties in school, attention problems, hyperactivity and behavioral issues.
4. Praise your child’s effort
Letting your child know they’ve done a good job can greatly encourage them and boost their confidence and self-esteem. It is generally observed that children are more likely to repeat behaviour that earns them praise or encouragement. This means that parents can use appreciation to change difficult behaviour that might be impacting their child’s attention. Praise can also be complemented with rewards occasionally for training children subtly.
5. Have a regular sleep schedule
Sleep deprivation is often one of most common causes for attention deficit in children. Disturbed sleep cycles in kids often lead to hyperactivity, emotional issues, and withdrawal. A consistent bedtime routine, apart from relaxing them and keeping them healthy, also instils a sense of routine in childrens’ life. An adequate amount of sleep improves attention, behaviour, learning, memory, and overall mental and physical health.
6. Play focus games
Parents can play different kinds of focus games with their children to boost attention and focus. Currently there are many games in the market that have been specifically designed to build and strengthen your child’s capability to focus for longer periods by working on their concentration level. Crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles and card games are some of the good options.
7. Give your child healthy snacks
The food that children eat goes a long way in impacting and developing their cognitive faculties. Thus, what a child snacks on also impacts overall growth. It is important for parents to give them healthy snacks as they lower anxiety, boost mood and lower emotional distress. By managing kids' hunger, these snacks prevent them from getting hungry and cranky.
8. Use skills learning apps like TALi
Thanks to technological advances, parents can now also rely on highly advanced skill learning apps to boost attention in their kids. Many of these have displayed proven results in attention training and strengthening cognitive skills and behaviour in children. One such company that has been working on developing highly- functional skill learning apps is the renowned tech company TALi. TALi has done some ground-breaking research to assist parents and teachers in training children on their attention building journey. In the last few years, TALi has come up with an all-round solution to take care of rising attention deficit issues in kids through its highly effective attention apps- TALi and TALi TRAIN. Both the apps have gone a long way in improving the learning capabilities of our children by strengthening their attention span and provide a foundation to support effective lifelong learning.
To begin your journey with children, all that you need to do is download the TALi app from the Google Play or Apple App store. Post this, parents and teachers can make their kids complete six engaging activities in the app. These game-based tasks are a fun and engaging way for you to help improve your child’s attention and concentration.
TALi App offers an interactive way to test and understand your child’s attention skills which are crucial to their learning capabilities. After downloading the TALi app, let your child complete 6 fun game-based activities for 20 minutes. Once you receive the personalized report, check out the score to understand if they could benefit from strengthening their attention further with TALi TRAIN - an attention strengthening program that features interactive training activities. TALi TRAIN gives users the feature to regularly check on children’s progress and compare their improvements at the end with a final assessment. With both the apps working in sync, TALi improves early childhood attention, with results visible months after completion. For better training, it also offers a package that includes both apps (TALi App + TALi TRAIN App) which can be purchased through the Parent Portal on TALi’s website.
Designed to develop your child’s cognitive skills, TALi App and TALi TRAIN are easy to use anywhere and are backed by 20+ years of research at a leading Australian University. If you are looking to boost your child’s development and success, TALi is your way ahead.
Source: Times of India