Friday, January 15, 2010

Children Who Struggle To Pay Attention and What You Can Do To Help Them

Does your child have trouble paying attention? Do you find yourself repeating directions over and over?Do you hear teachers saying your child has difficulty staying on task or following directions? 
Being the mother of a very active four year old boy, I have heard and witnessed this behavior.
   First, I do believe that this is normal behavior,especially for boys. I am not stressing out about this. However, if there are things I can do to help my son learn to pay attention it will save myself and his teachers some frustration.
  Here are some fun ideas you can do at home that will improve listening skills. I found a cool website that had a lot of games to play with your kids. We modified it a little to work on listening skills.

Make A Trail of Shoes-

The game involves you using a laundry basket and all family members shoes.( you don't have to use all just some) You make a trail out of shoes and then gather them one pair at a time and put them in the basket. You can count how many pairs there are or gather them by color. We actually got a piece of paper and made a chart. Each family member had a certain color and we made marks for how many shoes each family member had. At the end we would see who had the most. Now here comes the paying attention part. When I explained the game to my son he got so excited that he would not be listening. First he started just grabbing shoes and throwing them in the basket.......wanting to get to the end of the trail to see where it went. I had to direct him to slow down and chart each pair of shoes on the chart. This meant he had to take time to look at the color of each person and mark the chart with the appropriate color. It was all he could do to slow down long enough to make those marks. I also told him from the beginning that he has to make sure he took the laundry basket with him as he moved. He would get so excited he would move on without it. I would say what did you forget? The first few times he would look around until finally he remembered to move it along with him. It was fun to watch him process. 

Picnic Time

This was another really fun thing for us to practice his listening skills. We had an indoor picnic because the weather was so nasty. he was in charge of setting things out. I was very specific with my directions. I had him get out four pieces of bread. It took him a while to get the bread open and by the time he did in his excitement he had forgotten how many pieces I told him. Rather than just tell him I would have him think real hard. He remembered on his own. I asked him to put the bread one the counter when he was finished with it. He tried to put it in the pantry. I stopped him and asked him if that was where I had asked him to put it. He had to think before he finally remembered. Every time I explained why it was important to listen so you could follow directions. I had him set the tablecloth a certain way and put the food a certain way. I wasn't trying to drive him crazy, just get him to listen to what I would say. If he got it right at the first I would praise him for using his listening ears. He never got frustrated because he was so excited about the activity and it was a lot of fun for me as well. 
   In the future we will doing a lot of these type activities to help with his listening ears. I'll post on here if I start noticing whether his attention and listening skills have improved.


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