Ten Ways to Improve Attention in Children

What's going on with children and attention in the digital age? Video games, texts, whirling toys, and non-stop entertainment have made it hard to strengthen children's focused attention systems. Here are some suggestions:

  • Give babies only a couple toys at a time, so they learn to focus on one.
  • Limit television, video games, and movies in the room where children play so that they aren't distracted.
  • Let your children "figure out" problems on their own. If you help, ask "How can we fix this?" or "What is the next step?" rather than solving it for them.
  • Card games and board games require taking turns, setting goals, planning, and strategy without the distracting special effects.
  • Read out loud to your kids and ask them what the story was about.
  • Play chess, scrabble, puzzles, and more. Look for these kinds of games for your kids' phones or tablets.
  • Establish routines so that your child knows what to expect, knows where homework is done, and where to get homework supplies.
  • Set up a low distraction homework space for your kids.
  • Come up with a set of time limits around screen and entertainment media.
  • When your kids use media, encourage tools and programs that reward thinking, planning, and strategy without too many bells and whistles.