Discussing Attention Span for Kids With ADHD
There are a few relatively well-known symptoms that tend to accompany a diagnosis of ADHD in most children, and one of these is a shorter attention span than average. This is a symptom that parents and caregivers should work to understand and find solutions for, and there are a number of approaches out there for this important area.
At Learning Technics, we're here to help. We offer comprehensive ADHD behavioral therapy programs that help kids and parents alike manage their condition and its symptoms. What's behind differing attention spans for many children with ADHD, and what are some ways these can be addressed within various settings? Let's take a look.
Why Kids With ADHD Often Struggle With Attention Span
There are a few primary reasons why children with ADHD often have difficulty paying attention over an extended period of time. First, many kids with ADHD experience an overload of stimuli and become easily distracted. This often manifests itself in behavior such as fidgeting, daydreaming, and not listening to instructions.
Second, ADHD often comes with a decreased ability to delay gratification in favor of long-term outcomes. This can make it hard for children with this condition to focus on and complete tasks that don't deliver instant rewards or results. They may become easily bored or frustrated, and in some cases, this can lead to aggressive behavior or other difficulties.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, many kids with ADHD struggle with executive functioning skills such as planning, organizing, and setting goals. These are all important for successful completion of tasks and activities, so the inability to effectively manage these processes can certainly contribute to a shorter attention span as well.
Luckily, both children with ADHD and their various caregivers can work toward solutions for these attention span issues within daily life. Our next few sections will go over some of the common settings kids are in, plus how to approach them in terms of attention span.
While at Home
Whether engaging in studying activities or any others, there are several ways to help improve focus and attention span in children with ADHD while at home:
- Simply be around: It may sound overly simplistic, but being in the same room as your child while they’re doing homework, or whatever other activity, can help them focus better. Even if you’re not actively participating in what they’re doing, it can help create a calming and productive atmosphere that encourages attention.
- Break down tasks into smaller components: If an activity seems too daunting in its entirety, break it down into bite sized chunks. This can make it seem less overwhelming, plus help children focus on one task at a time and develop better routines that encourage attention.
- Set up rewards: Whenever possible, give kids rewards for completing tasks or other activities within specific time frames or goals. Choose something age-appropriate but also something that provides genuine motivation.
- Schedule breaks and movement time: While it’s important for children to stay on task and work toward their goals, you should also allow them periods of breaks or movement time. This is especially important with kids needing to sit still in order to do schoolwork or other activities.
While at School
Within a school environment, there are several strategies that can help support children with ADHD pay better attention.
- Find a buddy: Encourage children to find someone they can work with, collaborate and focus on tasks in class. Having a friend around to keep them accountable and engaged can be very helpful.
- Encourage the teacher to use visual aids or other tools: Many teachers are aware of the difficulties students with ADHD can have and will often try to create activities that make use of visual aids or other tools. Ask if they might be open to this kind of approach, as it can certainly help keep kids engaged.
- Consider medication: Depending on the situation, there may also be potential for medication to help children focus better. It’s important to consider this as an option and talk to a doctor if you feel it would be beneficial in your child’s case.
Other General Tips
While the two above sections may cover some of the more specific strategies for tackling attention span issues in children with ADHD, there are a few other general tips that can help:
- Create structure and routines: Routines and structure can be integral to helping kids focus. If possible, create a specific schedule each day so they know what’s coming next and how long they need to stay on task.
- Limit distractions: If possible, limit as many distractions as you can by turning off the TV and other technology when kids are engaging in activities.
- Encourage positive reinforcement: Finally, don’t forget to give reward and praise for accomplishments. This is a great way to motivate children and help them focus better in the future.
Overall, a shorter attention span is just one of many symptoms that may accompany a diagnosis of ADHD in children. Fortunately, there are ways to help kids focus better and develop stronger routines while at home or school. With the above strategies in mind, parents and caregivers can be well-equipped to tackle these issues moving forward.
For more here, or to learn about our cognitive behavioral therapy for ADHD and other conditions, speak to our caring staff at Learning Technics today.