Habit of attention

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  • moralesml

    Good morning!

    I’m wondering what kinds of things you may do to help teach your children the habit of attention? Thank you for any ideas!



    Mine are young, 5.5, 3.5, and 9m so attention for us is coming when I ask them to and looking Me in the eye while I give instructions. For the 5 year old that is enough. For the 3 year old I have him repeat back to me what I said.


    Mine are pretty young too (almost 7, 4.5 and 2.5), but we work on attention from a young age with continuing to play with the activity I give them. So my 2.5 year old has table time for about 20 minutes with one activity. She has learned that she won’t get something different if she complains so she generally makes the best of it. I think attending to activities tends to carry over to attending during read alouds in my experience.


    Look me in the eye when I’m speaking or giving an instruction.

    Gentle questions if I see gazing off or dawdling. “Do I have your full attention?” or “Are you giving your math your full attention right now?”

    Having the child repeat back any instructions that were given.

    Working on good narrations to challenge them to give their full attention.

    The natural consequence of dawdling over school work or other tasks that ends up wasting time is that they lose free time later to complete it. If they waste 15 minutes of my/their time because they weren’t giving full attention, then I cut into their free time by 15 minutes to make sure they are giving their full attention to the task. 

    Watching them carefully and stopping when attention wanders off. I try to catch them before this happens.

    Varying the order of subjects, a la Charlotte Mason.

    Enlisting the child’s will to give their attention. Giving them the challenge and encouraging them to do it, because I know they can. 

    Not expecting them to give more than they are mentally or physically capable of. This means that my 10yo can sit and listen longer than he could when he was 5. And I expect that now, but at 5 I would have been asking him to do the impossible.


    Thank you for your replies…. All these years you’d think we had this figured out….I have been doing most of these @LindseyD, but probably not as diligently as I need to. It starts with me! Thanks, again…


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