Simple Tips To Build Your Infant’s Attention Span
Sometimes an infant's attention span is very less. Some infants get easily distracted from what they are doing and shift their focus onto something else. An infant will give attention to a task only if he enjoys doing it. Many infants struggle with their focus when asked to do something that they do not like.
Is an infant attention span problem the same as ADHD?
It's important, though, that you be careful about assuming that your child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a syndrome usually diagnosed in early childhood that is characterized by impulsivity, over activity, inattentiveness or a combination of all three. ADHD may not always be the root cause; there may be other influencing factors. If the child is diagnosed with ADHD, you should work with a mental health professional to develop a plan that will help increase the attention span.
The parents should be aware of what is bothering the infant and making him lose focus from what he is doing. Some infants get unfocussed because they are tired or hungry. The hungry infant should be fed with healthy foods and not foods rich in sugar and fat. A good night’s sleep also helps regain the lost focus in an infant. Some of the infants need downtime. They cannot focus properly if they get overscheduled with tasks. They need little breaks to regain their energy and focus with their entire mind on the task again.
Ways to build the infant’s attention span
We don’t think twice about interrupting infants and toddlers, mostly because we don’t think to value what they are doing. At the same time, we want our children to be learners and achievers. We want them to be able to listen patiently in the classroom and have the tenacity to solve difficult problems and pursue their dreams. The first years of life are formative for developing focus and concentration. Some of the ways to do so are as follows:-
Minimal Entertainment and Stimulation
Babies are creatures of habit and can become accustomed to expect entertainment rather than occupying themselves with their surroundings. Constant stimulation leads to an exhausted parent and an easily bored, over-stimulated child. Babies are entranced by the way their bodies can move, and the sights, sounds, smells of life that we take for granted. They need uninterrupted time to experience those things.
No TV or videos for the first 2 years
TV and videos are the most drastic ways to undermine a child’s developing attention span because they engage and overwhelm the attention rather than encouraging him to actively flex his focus muscle.
A safe, cozy “YES” place
A baby must have a safe place. This can begin with a crib and grow with him to be a playpen and finally a gated play area. A too large area where there are unsafe objects available to him is not the relaxed environment he needs for extensive concentration. Infants cannot play for a long time if they are distracted by the tension of parents worried about their safety and the interruption.
Simple, open-ended toys
Babies are inclined to examine every inch of a simple object, like the pattern on a cloth napkin, and then experiment, that is wave it, mouth it, place it over their faces, and scrunch it into a ball. Those toys grab the child’s attention rather than strengthening his ability to actively focus and investigate, similar to the way TV and videos do.
Observe and do not interrupt
Observing the way babies choose to spend their time makes us realize that they are not just lying there but actually doing something. That something might be gazing towards a window, at the ceiling fan, or grasping at dust particles in the sunlight. Every time you interrupt your infant’s wishes, you are in a way discouraging his concentration.
Baby gets to choose
Infants are more interested in the things they choose than the things we choose for them. You should let your baby choose what to do in his play time rather than telling him to do something of your choice as this would better engage his interest, focus, and concentration.
Don’t encourage distraction
It is a common practice to distract your baby with a toy on the changing table to “get the job done”, but this trains babies not to pay attention. Diaper changes, bathing, and feeding are not dull, unpleasant chores for babies. Babies are interested in all aspects of their lives. They want to be included in each step of a task that involves them and be invited to participate as much as they are able to.