Tips for Gaining and Maintaining Attention in Children

No matter how well you know your stuff, sometimes the hardest part is just getting kids to pay attention long enough to learn something. A few helpful tips to maintaining your students’ attention are:

Reach out

Instead of calling out to a child across the room, try going to them, positioning your body at their level and requesting in a firm but friendly voice to look at you before beginning your discussion.

Use attention grabbers

Use sensory motivational devices with varied colours, textures, shapes, movements, smells or sounds to help them focus. Warm, soft colours and an orderly environment can help with kids who may get over-stimulated.

Be playful

You can use a dramatic voice, sensational hat, clapping, a secret hand sign for them to duplicate or rolling a ball to each child to keep them alert.

Describe what you see

Refocus their attention by labelling activities or objects and talking or asking about the similarities and differences.

Be clear and specific

Keep directions short, direct and simple. Avoid saying ‘don’t’ statements, instead clearly say what they need to do.