Fun Activities for Increasing Attention Spans for Children

By Tess Thompson

Despite the fact that the condition is hard to confirm, in recent years, there has been an inexplicable hurry in diagnosing (or misdiagnosing) young children with attention deficit disorder (ADD). The condition is marked by a short attention span. Even after being labeled with it, there is no surety whether the symptoms of a short attention span are actually due to ADD, or non-medical reasons like inadequate parental care.

You have obviously heard or read about organizing, setting routines, avoiding distractions, counting techniques and various other ways to increase attention span of your child. You may also have heard about medication and herbal supplements to help concentration abilities. There are also some simple fun activities that help in focusing the attention of your child.

Involving the child in arts and crafts usually always helps the child to focus. However, this is true only if the child is interested in a specific activity. For example, a child may remain focused when it comes to observing you when you are feeding the pet or watering the plants. The same child may, however, seem distracted when you are trying to show him how to paint between the lines or play with clay. Instead of repetitive activities, introduce new ones all the time. Simple building blocks or drawing may soon lose flavor. Try certain high level activities for a change - activities that involve just that little bit of extra attention. These could be fun activities that require a little bit of effort on your part. Try a colorful cross-stitch project or aircraft and car models that have minute design details.

Another approach can be to get an interesting audio story book. Let your child listen to it in a distraction-free environment and ask the child to retell the story to you. Take this opportunity to discuss additional ideas with the child to stimulate the brain.

Having a pet at home is probably one of the best fun ways of improving concentration in your child. Let the child discuss various benefits of bringing home a pet with you and other members of the family. Make sure that you bring home a pet that you can afford, considering availability of space and the time that you can afford for upkeep.

Acquaint the pet with the child by letting the child brush the pet for a reasonably long period. Once it becomes a routine, let the child assume certain responsibilities of caring for the pet. Within no time, you will find that your child has at least been concentrating on pet behavior when he comes to you, and tells you how the pet behaves when it is angry, pleased or otherwise sulky. You can later ask your child to observe more closely and see how the pet behaves in various other situations. Over time, the child will have things to tell you that even you had not observed before. Gradually, this fun activity of observing by focusing on one thing at a time tends to become a habit and increases the attention span of your child.

It is true that most children find it difficult to focus on one thing for long and tend to be distracted easily by something in the environment or something that catches their fancy. It is also true that most of them overcome this tendency with age. Even if there are some minor child concentration problems, these can often be overcome with informed parenting techniques.