How to Help Distracted Toddlers?
Toddlers can get easily distracted. Toddlerhood is a stage when kids start learning to concentrate on a single activity for shorter durations of time. Here are a few tips on how you can help your toddler stay focused.
Distraction as a parenting strategy can work very well for dealing with undesirable behaviour in toddlers. When it comes to distractions, there are some kids who seem to struggle more than others. As a child grows up, distraction can turn into a problem if he finds it difficult to focus even for shorter periods of time. Concentration is an important lesson he needs to learn at this stage.
Some Tips to Deal with Distracted Children
1. Limit Media Interactions
Modern technology is all great; in today’s times they can add on the score of distractions for children. The first step you need to take is to limit your child’s media interaction time. Cut down on his screen time, as well as his every day television viewing and mobile phone usage. Pediatrics caution parents about early exposure to television and its association with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children. Passive viewing and constant buzz in the background can further distract an fidgety toddler from concentrating. Whether he is busy with building blocks, looking at a picture book, playing with dough or putting together simple puzzles, background noises can be quite disruptive. You must also avoid installing a television in your child’s room.
2. A Peaceful Home Environment
Make sure your home environment isn’t noisy or turbulent. This means less yelling between adults at home. A calm environment will help your child focus, though it is easy said than done. Toddlers can literally try out your patience. If you yell at them, do not forget to apologise later, and also explain why you did it.
3. Praise your Child More Often
Positive reinforcement works well for children. Each time a child completes simple tasks that require some amount of concentration, do not forget to praise him. A happy and secure child is less likely to get distracted.
4. Ensure that your Child does not Suffer from an Eye/Ear Problem
Get your child’s eyesight and hearing tested. Lack of hearing or clear vision will result in him losing interest, and it can lead to a loss of interest in every day activities.
5. Give Clear and Short Instructions
Toddlers are in their learning phase of listening to, and understanding instructions. Talk to them in short and firm sentences so that they clearly understand what you expect out of them. Too many instructions bundled up in a sentence will only serve to confuse them.
6. Set Aside Special Time for Your Child
Set aside some time every day when you are able to give complete attention to your child. Listen to him talk, read a story or play a sport with him/her.
7. Make Physical Activity a Part of Daily Routine
Enrol your child in a physical activity class. Playing a sport has multiple benefits. Most importantly, it helps an active child channelize his excess energy, ensuring better focus when he gets back to more passive pursuits.
8. Be Consistent in Enforcing Discipline
Nothing is more confusing for a child than a set of changing or conflicting rules. Have a few rules, but stick to them. Also, make sure you and your spouse or other caregivers enforce the same rules with the same amount of firmness. Any kind of ambiguity will lead to confusion in the child.
Not only is a distracted child more difficult to handle, but distraction is also a huge impediment to learning at different stages of life. By making a few lifestyle changes, and following some simple rules without much of a budge, you can ensure that your child learns to focus better, which in turn will help your child in the long run.