Thursday, April 6, 2023

When do children learn to concentrate / focus?



The ability to focus:

The ability to focus is gained over the years and the brain matures. Find out at what age children learn to control their attention.

Some disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are on everyone's lips today. It seems that the percentage of children suffering from it is increasing, which may worry parents. Some fear that their child may suffer from this kind of problem. That is why it is important to know when and how children learn to focus.

Perhaps your child can't stand reading for more than a few minutes, gets distracted while doing homework, or spends little time on an activity. Before you get upset, ask yourself what his skills should be based on his age.

What is focus and how does it develop in children?

Focus is the ability to direct and maintain attention on relevant stimuli. It is a complex and deliberate process: one must not only choose to focus, but also be able to ignore other, irrelevant stimuli.

This milestone is associated with the development and maturation of the brain. Newborns often focus on the faces and voices of their caregivers, but their attention is very fickle. They will react to any stimulus in their environment.

As the child grows, he not only learns to direct his focus voluntarily, but also acquires the ability to stay focused for a long time. This is where the prefrontal regions of the brain mature.

Remember, these structures don't end until after adolescence, so there's still a long way to go. Let's take a look at the developments that occur in each era.

Children's ability to focus by age:

It may vary slightly from one child to another. They should know and take into account what to expect at each age:

  • During the first year, the child's attention is fleeting and unstable. Easily distracted by new and startling things in the environment. His attention cannot last more than 4 or 5 minutes.
  • Between 1 and 2 years old, children focus on what attracts them, pleases them, and attracts their attention. But they will not hold it for more than 6-8 minutes.
  • Between 2 and 3 years voluntary attention begins to develop. The child controls where he directs his attention. However, he is easily distracted and does not stay focused for more than 15 minutes.
  • Between 3 and 4 years old, the child has better control of his attention. He can keep it for 20 minutes. However, he usually wants to change his activity when he starts to get bored.
  • Between 4 and 5 years old a child can maintain focus for 25 minutes and even pay attention to several aspects at the same time. For example, he can hear and understand your instructions while drawing.
  • 6-7 years old, attention control is more important. The child can focus on a task, even if the task does not appeal to him very much. Focus periods last between 40 and 45 minutes at 9 years of age. However, if the task seems boring or annoying to him, he will get distracted after 15 minutes.

What is the use of knowing when children learn to focus?

Taking into account the abilities present at each age is essential to the pedagogical process in the classroom. However, for parents, this knowledge is also fundamental. This will allow them to organize the tasks they do with their children, to adjust the time intervals, to plan adequate breaks, and above all to determine if there really is a problem.

As mentioned, we sometimes think a child has ADHD when they are just a child. Even in the medical community, there is overdiagnosis. We cannot ask young children to be adults, that is, to sit and concentrate for a long time and obey without moving their eyes.

A child with attention deficit disorder will find it difficult to interact with peers of the same age. Not only will he be easily distracted, but he will also make many rash mistakes, forget things, and lose various things. In these cases, it is necessary to consult a specialist and apply the appropriate instructions at home and at school.