Attention Spans -- Increased!

Short attention spans pose problems for many children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) in the classroom. Help your child focus at school and home with these tips to help increase attention spans.

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9+ Ways to Increase Attention Span in Children

Adjust tasks for shorter time frames. Set a kitchen timer for 10-minute intervals. When the bell rings, have the ADD/ADHD student show you his work. This gives him a chance to get up and move and allows you to monitor progress.

Provide preferential seating -- in front of the classroom, within cueing distance of you, and away from as many environmental distractions as possible, including doors, windows, and visual displays. If possible, make sure the child is seated among attentive, well-focused students.

Cut work pages in halves or smaller segments. Pass out one part at a time. This reduces a student’s frustration over seeing a lengthy worksheet.

Give the student some choices. Allow kids to decide which assignments to do or the order in which they want to do them. Choice increases motivation, and motivation increases sustained attention.

Have a student clear his desk of distractions. He should have only the essential items needed to do the task at hand.

Create opportunities for children to respond to the material as it is being presented. Lecture for no more than 10 minutes, then ask kids to comment on the material. Have everybody vote on something, ask kids to write the answer to a question on their individual whiteboards and hold them up, or ask, “How many of you…?”

Cover or remove visual distractions. Erase unnecessary information from the board and remove visual clutter.

Ask kids to track how long it takes to complete an assignment. Have them write down start and stop times for classroom assignments. Then ask them to estimate how long an assignment will take, and to compare their estimates to the actual time.

Have a class discussion about fighting homework distractions. Talk about what the common distractions are, then break up the class into small groups to brainstorm ways to combat them.

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