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11 Ways to Maintain a Child's Concentration

How can we really maintain a child's focus within learning environments? What does it take for them to remain engaged with what we are teaching? Discover the secrets of the strategy used by nurseries, childminders, teachers, coaches and parents alike to successfully learn with young children.

1. Make it exciting. Your own energy and enthusiasm will rub off on your child. The more excited that you seem by it, the more exciting they will find it.

Tots in Sport tip: Using exclamations such as "wow!" can help things sound exciting.

2. Make it achievable. Toddlers love to be able to achieve something. It doesn’t matter to what level of expertise, if they can do it, then practice will make perfect.

Tots in Sport tip: Always start off simple, so that they can achieve something straight away.

3. Don’t overload them with too much information at once. Chose one activity at a time and keep it simple.

4. Allow them to sometimes become distracted. This may seem like a contradiction to our goal, but distraction is part of a child’s learning journey, so make it fun, not frustrating. For instance, if your child becomes distracted by an aeroplane in the sky then acknowledge it. Wave to the aeroplane and talk about where the people could be going. Once your child has processed the distraction, they will refocus their attention on the activity in hand.

5. Set a time limit on an activity. The trick is for you to stop the activity before they do. Short bursts of learning will be easily remembered.

6. Finish an activity on a high. This could be as simple as lots of praise. A positive experience at the end will result in your toddler wanting to do it again soon.

7. Feed the body and mind. Regular food and drink breaks will help boost their attention when they return to the activity.

8. Ensure they don't overheat. Direct sunlight will affect your toddler’s ability to maintain their body temperature and focus. Try to keep them in the shade during outdoor activities, or introduce regular breaks inside.

9. Ensure they aren't too cold. If a child becomes too cold, they will lose their ability to concentrate. Ensure they are suitably dressed for the activity in appropriate clothing for the weather. Read more about our tips for playing outside in the winter.

10. A demonstration says a thousand words. Instead of talking too much, show children first and have them follow your example.

Tots in Sport tip: Demonstrating is particularly helpful for children with learning difficulties.

11. Give a helping hand. It goes without saying that a child will quickly become despondent if they are struggling to do something. Helping children will develop your bond and enhance their concentration and willingness to try again.

So, there you have it, our top tips for maintaining a child's concentration. You now have all the tools needed to capture attention and maintain focus and you are now ready to start learning with children in a successful and engaging way!

We implement the above methods when we are delivering our sports programme to children in nurseries. Are you interested in delivering a sports programme to preschoolers, that benefits their physical development, as well as grows their interest in sport? You can sign up to our programme and start teaching now! Find out more.

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