A Short Attention Span in Children May Be a Sign of Something Greater
We all know that some children are little bundles of energy that can seemingly operate at a frantic pace for hours on end. Short of Spongebob Squarepants, it seems nothing can hold their attention for very long. But for some children, a short attention span could be a sign of an attention disorder like ADD or ADHD, which affects between 3 and 5 percent of children.
A normal attention span is measured at a ratio of 3 to 5 times the age of the child. This means that a child who is 3 years old should be able to concentrate on a certain task for at least 9 minutes. This does not include television watching. If a child's attention span is much shorter than this, it may be a result of an attention disorder.
Some behaviors to look out for include:
Not listening when somebody talks
Not being able to wait for a turn at anything
Not being able to return to a task if interrupted
Some of these behaviors are fairly common in very young children, but if these actions continue through the kindergarten age, it may be time for a visit to the doctor's office. Here, a number of tests can be administered to determine if an attention disorder is present. Remember, early detection and treatment often give the best chance to figure out the proper way to manage the disorder.