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How to Enhance Your Child’s Attention and Concentration?

June 2009

Attention is the mental activity of concentrating on a person or a thing. A child’s attention is a prerequisite for learning. It allows a child to be taught, to process and apply what was taught.

Of course, not all children are as attentive as others, and they are not equally attentive to all of the same subjects. However, some hints can help you increase and encourage their attention span.

Enhancing Your Child’s Attention Span

  • Maintain a quiet environment, limiting sources of unwanted noise.
  • Warn your child how activities will unfold so that your child may have some points of reference.
  • Facilitate the transition from one activity to another by informing your child about the changes to come (for example, say: “we are going to finish this game in 5 minutes, and then we will do...”).
  • Set a fixed amount of time for the activity according to your child’s age and attention span.
  • If your child is no longer concentrating and exhibits annoyance, it is preferable to stop the activity and resume it later if necessary.
  • Between learning activities, ensure some breaks during which your child can move around and spend energy.
  • Rely on your child’s abilities and favour activities that correspond to his/her interests.
  • Avoid pointing out too many of your child’s failures. Reinforce your child’s efforts in a positive manner by saying, for example: “Very good! I can see that you have made an effort. Maybe you will get it the next time around”.
  • Favour the game approach, one game at a time.
  • Try to establish eye contact with your child in a way to catch his/her attention (touch your child’s arm, if needed).
  • Give clear, simple and coherent instructions with gestures or visual support, if necessary.
  • Encourage and congratulate your child with words (“(Bravo!”, “I’m proud of you. Keep it up!”) and/or by establishing a reward system (for example, allow your child certain privileges).

Children with Special Needs

Children, who are deaf, blind, or who have motor disabilities, cranial trauma or special needs, require adaptations to their environment according to the degree and nature of their disability.

In order to stimulate your child, to develop his/her attention and to enhance his/her learning, we invite you to consult your treating rehabilitation team in order to determine suitable intervention methods.

Attention Deficit Disorders

If your child’s constant agitation and lack of attention become obstacles to his/her ability to learn and to the completion of daily activities, and hinder on your child’s quality of life and on those who surround him/her in school and at home, we recommend that you consult your doctor to verify whether or not your child may have an attention deficit disorder (with or without hyperactivity).


We would like to thank Claudie Charron, Psychologist, Program for Motor Disabilities of the CRME service centre in Laval, for her close collaboration in producing this capsule.

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Updated on 3/20/2015
Created on 1/20/2015
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