Do you have a son who lacks concentration? Are you frustrated by his short attention span? As a general rule, the attention span of boys tends to be shorter than that of girls. Obviously, this varies with each child. There are more boys who suffer from ADHD. And even boys who have wonderful powers of focus still have a tendency to move, bounce, fiddle with objects, look around, and generally want to be on the move.
Fortunately, it is possible to promote increase the attention span of boys. Providing a healthy environment for your boys will set up the right conditions for to helping to improve their attention span.
Average Attention Spans
Generally, children are able to focus on activities for about 1 minute for each year of life. If a 5 or 6-year-old is interested in an activity, that time can increase up to 10-15 minutes or more. A child who is in kindergarten or first grade can engage in a single activity for 15-30 minutes if it’s something that interests them.
Sometimes, the problem is that we expect too much from our children or we want them to act in a way that is above their maturity level. If your son is struggling to maintain focus on an activity for a reasonable amount of time, there are ways to help him improve his attention span.
Increasing Attention Span with Lifestyle Choices
Organize your day
A consistent routine is good for all children and especially for boys and/or those who might struggle with ADHD. Children especially benefit from regular nap and meal times. Knowing what to expect next helps our kids to feel secure in their environment.
Turn off Electronic Devices
Keep TV watching and listening to the radio to a minimum. Children need quiet times without background noise in order to think, listen, and to reach their full potential. Electronic devices tend to deliver instant gratification and almost constant stimulation. Our kids need to spend time unplugged from these devices.
Set an early bedtime, one which will allow your child to get plenty of sleep. If your child is getting 8 hours of sleep per night or less, he is NOT getting adequate rest at night. Children need a surprising amount of sleep – probably more than you think! See the chart below to determine what time your son should be getting to bed each night for optimum performance.
Some experts say that some kids need even more sleep than this! And in my experience with my own sons, they’ve definitely required even more sleep than the above chart states – especially during the tween years. My boys frequently slept for 10 hours during that season of life.
Make sure your child has a hearty breakfast and a multi-vitamin. Having a well-balanced breakfast will help them to think more clearly and not get as tired during their studies. It’s also important to be sure our boys are eating enough fat for their brains to function properly.
Increasing Attention Span with Teaching Techniques
It’s natural for boys to want to be on the move! All children benefit from being able to take breaks between topics. Allow your boys to get up, stretch, run down the hall, even run a few laps around the house. Including some activities for boys such as these will allow them to release their pent-up energy will go a long way towards helping them to stay focused while they study.
Change it up
Boys get easily bored with the same information or the same methods. If they understand a topic, move on. You can go back and review later to make sure that they fully grasp the information. If you review over and over with boys they will become bored and their minds will disengage. Also, try new techniques with boys. If you usually do math worksheets, try having them answer orally or on the computer. This will help them to remain interested and will certainly increase the attention span of boys.
Boys love to feel that they have at least some control over their studies. Give your sons several choices that you would be happy with and let them make some of the decisions. Or let them decide which subject they are going to tackle next. When boys are given this kind of freedom, you will find yourself struggling with them less throughout the day.
The greatest motivator for boys is to teach them something that interests them. Let your boys pick topics they are interested in and then allow them to explore them fully. They can do this in addition to their regular studies or during breaks. Their excitement for all of their studies will increase when they are allowed to pursue things they love as well.
Give your boys objects that they can taste, touch, smell and see. Boys learn well with tactile and kinesthetic learning; so, the more of their senses you can incorporate into activities for boys, the more understanding and enjoyment they will have for their lessons.
Ensure lots of opportunities for movement. Boys have lots of energy. If you allow them to expend this energy in accepted ways, they will be less likely to act out when it isn’t appropriate.
Rather than keep your boys confined to a desk, let your boys spread out at a table, on the floor, or on the couch. If boys are allowed to move around a bit while doing their book work or papers, you will find that they will get their work done more quickly and with less resistance.
If you’re finding it hard to hold the attention of your sons, try speaking in a silly voice or acting goofy as you are presenting the information. Injecting a little bit of unexpected humor into your presentations can really grab and hold the interest of boys.
Provide frequent talk breaks for your boys to minimize disruptions. Boys have lots of questions. Make sure you give them opportunities to ask these questions and to probe as deeply into a topic as they would like.
Use lots of visuals to maintain interest. Most boys learn visually, so seeing the information will make it easier for them to learn that just hearing the information.
Incorporate these tips into your day and watch the attention span of boys in your house increase. With a little bit of creativity, we can help our sons to increase their attention span and to love learning!
Question: Do your boys struggle with a short attention span? Do you have any tips you’ve learned for increasing a child’s attention span? Please leave a comment below.