One of the most common questions we get is–can my child have ADHD? He can sure concentrate on video games! (or TV, movies, etc.) Remember that everybody’s attention span is better or worse for some things. I can concentrate pretty well at work, but if you put me in front of an organic chemistry lecture, I will be checking my phone and thinking about my grocery list…
Remember that concentrating means that one thing is prioritized in your brain, and everything else becomes less important. In other words, your brain is seeing one thing as more important than the rest. Right now, I’m thinking about this post, and not thinking about other things I have to do (although being at home, I’ve already been interrupted three times since I started to write this).
Lots of things can affect your attention span. If you’re interested in what you are doing, your attention is better. If you really don’t want to do the thing, if you are bored by the very idea, your attention tends to be worse. If you genuinely have too much to do, you may not be able to concentrate on any one thing very well, because your brain may see lots of items as very important all at once. If you are sad, you can’t concentrate as well. If you are worried about something, it makes it hard to concentrate on other things. If you are tired or hungry, it’s often best to forget about concentrating!
An athlete needs to have his focus in place to do well. The best athletes are motivated. They love the game and find it interesting. Just like all of us, a sad, bored, or worried athlete will not perform at their peak. Athletes without proper sleep or nutrition perform less than optimally. Their coaches help them work through all these issues that can affect their attention span.
Consider these issues if you are trying to improve your child’s attention span naturally. Try to get your child interested in the thing they have to do. Something about it could possibly increase interest, whether it is doing it as fast as possible, or for a reward, or thinking about if you can find some interesting aspect of the homework or chore. Consider if your child is sad or worried or bored, and whether that could explain a lack of motivation. Is your child sleeping well? Coming to school fed or “I didn’t want to eat breakfast Mom.” Our book helps you consider all of these factors that can affect attention span–so you can teach your child to use them in his own best interest.