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Simply put, attention span is the length of time for which one can focus on any activity. Each child is unique and special. It is important to remember that attention span in children is as individual and different as the children themselves. Some children will have a very short attention span, while others may have a longer one.
As parents, we can be easily frustrated when children have short attention spans. We worry that this might affect their future academic potential and brain power. If you too have noticed that your baby has a short attention span, the first thing you need to do is stop worrying. Yes, attention span can definitely be improved!
Check out these 7 science-backed tricks to improve your baby’s attention span. They work wonders 🙂
1. NO TV or Mobile Phone Exposure Till Age 2
This is the first rule when aiming to improve your baby’s attention and focus span. We as parents often turn to gadgets to distract and soothe our babies. It’s evident – screen time at this early age only DISTRACTS and does not DEVELOP your baby’s brain. In fact, as per child development experts, your baby must not be exposed to TV, videos or mobile phones for the first two years as it can also have long-standing repercussions on his socio-emotional development.
2. FIND What Catches Your Baby’s Attention Fastest
Does your baby like you reading to her, singing to her, or playing some game? Different babies have different interests, and in order to boost their attention and focus span, you must first find the ONE activity that catches their attention the fastest.
Once you have found this activity that is best liked by your child, slowly increase the amount of time spent on it. So, if it’s music that keeps your baby attentive for more than 3 minutes, increase the time to 5 minutes – slowly. After a few days, you will notice that your child is able to focus better, and her attention span has definitely improved.
3. BECOME Your Baby’s Playmate
Playing has been well established to boost a baby’s brain development. But there is a little trick to make this more effective: play WITH your baby! Researchers have found that play-time immensely boosts a baby’s brain power when the mother also participates! In fact, the more the mother plays with the baby, the better his attention span will be.
Why this happens is simple: your baby is likely to play with a toy for a longer time in your presence than in your absence. Your presence and involvement make any activity much more pleasant and interesting for the baby.
NOTE: You will need to keep your energy levels high to make this possible. Your baby’s brain develops the most in the first five years, and this is also the time when you may feel the most tired out! Doctors recommend that every mother MUST do these 3 things to guarantee her baby’s development. Must keep in mind!
4. KEEP Your Baby’s Surroundings Clutter-Free
It is not just adults who tend to get distracted by clutter, babies hate it too! It is therefore extremely beneficial to keep your baby’s room clean, uncluttered and organized. This will automatically help your baby focus on the activity of the moment. A tidy room creates an environment that is structured and this fosters baby’s ability to increase her attention span.
Tip: Use some of these clever ideas to store your baby’s toys. They will help you keep the room clean without putting in herculean effort every day!
5. REDUCE Distractions During Play Time
This is a sureshot way of increasing your baby’s attention span. If loud music, TV, or other noisy things are present in the background while you are trying to talk, sing or do anything with your baby, it will make him lose focus. The best way to minimise distractions when playing/spending time with your baby is to advise other family members to respect this time as ‘quiet time’. Also consider taking your baby to a distraction-free place such as your bedroom or the balcony where he can focus on the outdoor world without the distraction of a blaring TV!
6. GIVE Your Baby Simple, Open-Ended Toys
We never hesitate from getting our kids the fanciest toys available in the market. However, as per experts, it is best to try and encourage your baby to play with open-ended toys instead. This means simple household objects such as a napkin or spoon, basic pull-along toys, or even blocks, if your baby is older. There is a strong reason behind this.
You must have noticed that babies tend to examine everything very well – they put it in their mouth, wave it, throw it! This is a sign of their curious and attentive brain. But when you give them overly complicated toys that they cannot comprehend, it doesn’t help with their brain development. They soon get distracted – an effect that’s similar to that produced by TV and mobile phones! When in doubt while toy-shopping, use these tips on picking age-appropriate toys for children.
7. MAINTAIN Eye Contact
Final trick, but very powerful – make sure you look your baby in the eye when talking to him or playing with him. Looking into baby’s eyes when you are in the process of building her attention is an excellent way to improve her focus. Try to do this when both you and baby are in a relaxed state of mind. If your child is too excited, he won’t be able focus his attention on the activity, despite the eye contact, and will lose concentration easily.
One warning though, avoid doing this when you are trying to put your baby to sleep. One look at mom’s loving eyes and your darling may be all ready for playtime yet again!
While working towards building your baby’s focus, the most important skill which we need is patience. We must begin with one step at a time and be realistic. It is important to have your expectation set properly; his/her attention span is not going to multiply overnight! But by consistently displaying love, care and patience with your baby, you will surely be able to improve your baby’s attention span and focus.