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Yetty Williams: Here’s How to Help your Children Improve their Attention Span

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When kids have a short attention span, they have trouble staying focused on a task for an extended amount of time without being distracted, and find it difficult to perfectly execute a task. With the invention of technological devices, video games, the internet and the world becoming fast paced, children’s attention span have been drastically shortened. Parents have started to notice that their children are having difficulty concentrating and focusing on tasks, and it’s having a negative impact on their performance in school and their ability to understand things quickly.

A recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center revealed that 87% of teachers believe modern technologies have resulted in a generation of people with short attention spans. A lack of concentration can have dire effects on the ability of a child to focus, learn and retain knowledge. This is because our brains are not used to being constantly bombarded with information and stimuli. And as a result, we may struggle to focus and concentrate on tasks for long periods of time. For example, the constant need to check our phones and other devices can make it difficult to focus on one thing at a time, which can lead to a reduced attention span.

Although technology reduces the attention span of our children, the solution to this problem can be found in our own homes.

I have received many questions on this recently and will share what parents can do to help increase concentration and what could make it worse. With the right tools, parents can increase the attention span and concentration of their children.Let’s explore some ways parents can help their children develop and maintain a healthy attention span and concentration.

Reduction of screen time attention

Parents need to set screen time limits in place to ensure that children are balancing their online and offline time. For example, after 25 minutes of screen time, your children should do other activities that will take them away from their screens for 5 – 10 minutes. The idea is to get them in the habit of taking breaks. It is important to use technology but also in moderation. Parents need to be intentional about it and decide ahead of time how long you want your child or children to spend on screens. For example, rather than binge on TV shows, decide on which shows you want to watch and then shut off the TV once it’s completed.

Balancing nutrition effect

Nutrition can have an impact on children’s attention span. It is important to provide your child with a well-balanced diet to give their brain the nutrients it needs, help regulate their blood sugar and improve their attention span. Eating a healthy, balanced diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids and whole grains. They provide the nutrients that the brain needs to function at its best. 

Additionally, staying hydrated and avoiding sugary drinks and foods can also help maintain focus and concentration. So, if you want to improve your child’s attention span, making sure they are getting the right nutrients through diet can be a good place to start.

Exercising and spending time outdoors

It’s important to make exercise a part of the children’s daily routine. This would create some sort of distraction to engage other things and keep focus. Keeping body active helps in keeping the mind sharp. Consider taking a walk together after dinner as a family for some quality time, and get outside as often as you can. 

Adequate Sleep 

Try to keep your child’s sleep schedule consistent. Getting the right amount of sleep is important for a child’s overall health and well-being as it can help improve their mood, and their concentration and learning ability. The amount of sleep that a child needs can vary depending on their age. For example, infants and toddlers typically need between 12 and 16 hours of sleep per day, while school-aged children and teenagers typically need between 9 and 10 hours of sleep per night. 

Getting less than the recommended amount of sleep can lead to a number of problems, including finding it difficult to concentrate, poor memory, and a reduced attention span. If you want to maintain good mental health for your children, it is important to make sure they are getting enough sleep each night.

Model the right behaviour 

Technology has increased the allure of always being connected and distracted from the people in front of you. And your children are watching and learning. If you are always on your devices when they are trying to talk to you, they are watching and will try to emulate you. 

Be a strong role model for your child by emphasising the value of focus. Put your phones down, make eye contact and prioritise quality time. Too much stimulation can affect the ability to stay focused and build the ability to concentrate. Pay attention when they share details about their day at school, it will give them a chance to feel heard and understood. 

Overall, parents can set up their children for success by creating a positive environment and ensuring they have adequate sleep, nutritious meals and limited screen time. It is also important for parents to model the behaviour they want their children to emulate. With these in place, parents can help their children develop the skills they need to focus and stay attentive.



Photo by Katerina Holmes for Pexels

Yetty Williams is a social entrepreneur, coach and the founder of LagosMums, the leading parenting resource and community for parents raising digital citizens. As a speaker, she has been invited to speak several times on Parenting, work-life balance, digital media, and entrepreneurship at various companies, schools, company retreats and many more platforms locally and globally. She is a co-host of the Parenting Today show on LagosTalks 91.3 FM on Thursdays at 12.30 pm where she delves into various parenting topics. Yetty has won many awards over the years some of which include, being announced as the winner in the Social Media/Online media category in the ELOY (Exquisite Lady Of the Year) 2015 Awards and was a nominee in the Digital Media Entrepreneur category in 2019. Yetty was recognized as a conversation starter in the YNaija 100 media list and in 2021 was named as one of the Top 500 Most Influential Africans in the World (Tropics Global Business and Lifestyle Magazine) and in 2022 was listed as an Eko Women 100, recognised by the Lagos State Governor, for her work with Women and Girls among many others. LagosMums through the Google Online Safety Roadshow workshops and as one of the winners in the Africa Online Safety Fund, set up by has successfully trained over 2000 students, and educators in the community and schools on online safety and being responsible digital citizen. Yetty's focus as a parenting coach is particularly focused on raising children in the digital age and ensuring that children and families are using digital for good and raising responsible digital citizens. She holds a certificate in Keeping Children Safe Online and Child Protection from the NSPCC Connect with Yetty: LagosMums on Instagram: @lagosmums Linkedin: LagosMums Parenting Website: Yetty's Website: YettyWilliams on Instagram: @yettywilliams Clubhouse: @yettywilliams

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