Concerning Kids – Telling a story to kids is challenging
I saw a funny video of a woman who accidently found out herself locked out of the house while she was playing with a child outside. However, she was lucky to have one window open. So, she got her 3-year old through the window and then asked him to pull the chair up to the front door, climb on it and open the door lock. It seemed like a one minute task.
But no, it turned out to be mission impossible. Her kid got distracted more than dozen times and he was forgetting his mission each single time, when he saw an interesting object in the living room and rushed to explore it. Finally, he opened the door. The video became viral and most of commentators said something like, “Are our kids made in the same factory?”.
Distraction is a natural occurrence in children due to biological factors. Children generally have significantly shorter attention spans compared to adults. Their maximum attention span typically ranges from two to three times their age. For example, a five-year-old child would typically have an attention span of around 15 minutes at most. However, my group of 6-9 years old children never give me 15 minutes when I tell a story. After a less than a minute they start interrupting my story by phrases like, “Oh, and my friend has kittens”, and then several others start sharing: “And I have a dog”, “My parents don’t allow me pets”, “I also have a dog, but it is a stuffed toy that looks like a dog”.
After several interruptions I feel the increasing irritation inside, but have to come back to my story again and again. There were cases when I never managed to finish a story, because it was too hopeless with children being distracted.
Neurologists explain that on a daily basis, we encounter a vast amount of information that can overwhelm our brains. While adults develop the ability to prioritize and maintain focus, children's attention tends to scatter in various directions due to the excessive stimulation from sights, sounds, shapes, colors, and objects. This is why our children often shift their focus rapidly from one thing to another within minutes. Furthermore, their natural curiosity levels make it incredibly challenging for them to ignore all the stimuli around them. In the post-pandemic world, with increased reliance on online learning, distractions have become even more pronounced as children spend more time with smartphones and electronic devices.
However, we should teach them to develop their concentration skills. It can be done through reading to the child, managing his screen time, having a regular sleep schedule, healthy snacks, and also playing focus games. Games are a game changer to the distraction problem as the kid will do anything while playing.
Help your kids to concentrate their thoughts upon the work they do. And it will result in another attention minute they give you later. Think progress, not perfection.
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