How Long Is Your Preschooler’s Attention Span?

As a parent, there are many discoveries you will make as your child grows. No two children develop in exactly the same way so it will be a unique journey — but don’t worry, there are still some common issues that all parents face.

One thing you will have to deal with is the attention span of your child. This post will help by answering such questions as how do you gauge your child’s ability to carry out different activities, and is it better to measure your child’s attention span based on age or developmental stage.

To start off, let’s look at what parents can generally expect when it comes to the attention spans of preschoolers and toddlers:

Toddler Attention Span…What’s Normal?

All toddlers have notoriously short attention spans.

For those of us who work with toddlers with developmental delays, it feels even shorter! Shorter as in, one to two milliseconds, before a little friend decides he needs to move on to something new.

It leaves us wondering… what’s normal for a toddler’s attention span?

Several years ago, I found a study (Gaertner 2008) that said the normal range for a toddler’s attention span is 3 to 6 minutes. Any longer than that and a child requires full adult support to stay with a task. Read more at Teach me to Talk…

According to the experts, it is more realistic to gauge the attention spans of toddlers based on their developmental age rather than chronological age. This is because each child has a unique development path.

There are certain practical steps that can be taken to help a child’s attention span improve gradually over a period of time. The following post discusses these strategies:

In this post I am going to give you some ideas of how to develop attention and listening skills in a pre-school child. By this, I mean children up to about 4 1/2, though of course some children in this country start school when they are only just 4! At this age I would not expect them to have fully developed skills in this area yet. However, at around this age children are usually able to focus for a while on one thing, and switch their focus from one thing to another and back again without too much support.

If your child is struggling with attention and listening in the early years, here are some strategies to try:-

Start where the child is at. If your child (or the child you are working with) is only able to attend to an activity for a few seconds, don’t expect them to go straight from there to listening for 5 minutes. Read more at Speech Blog UK…

As you see, you can help improve your child’s attention span. Just remember to start with realistic expections and work with activities your child will enjoy.

A major factor that influences attention span is sleep. While this is so for individuals of every age, adequate sleep is particularly important for children. The following post discusses in detail the value of sleep in relation to children’s attention span:

Afternoon slump? Naps can improve a preschooler’s attention span

Naps improve the attention of preschool children which could lead to more success in their learning, found a study in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology this month. The nap versus no nap battle has played out in sleep research over the years, with some suggesting that nighttime sleep is more consolidated and important, and other research leaving it based on total number of hours children clock in based on their age in a day.

What new information does this article give us? Should our preschool aged kids nap especially as they start to age up towards Kindergarten? The good news is that science keeps evolving and giving us new information to consider as parents. Of course, sometimes that information is confusing. This new research gives us more to consider as parents of young kids.

Increasing your child’s attention span for better learning and development is vital. It’s important to enroll your child in a preschool that supports your efforts at home and has the expertise to deal with your child where they are while helping them advance.

Spanish for fun! is an accredited preschool that is committed to offering quality and holistic education. Our play-based teaching method and educational philosophy are successful and clear:

At Spanish for fun! we utilize a combination of Spanish immersion curriculum, international curriculum and the early education creative curriculum of North Carolina. This has been developed around a play-based philosophy as well as paying close attention to each child’s social emotional state by exposing them to all 5 love languages (based off of the research done by Dr. Gary Chapman). A play based philosophy means we believe that children naturally engage in and enjoy play as a way of learning on their own terms and at their own pace.