Toddlers are curious little people.
They learn through play and discovery and often this can feel like they never really do one thing for very long.
But how do you know if your toddler can’t focus or if they are just being a normal, curious toddler?
Hopefully, we can offer some insight.
Recognize Toddler With Bad Concentration
Toddlers generally do not have a very long attention span, and most will get easily distracted. They are high energy, and this is often why they will jump from one activity to the next quickly.
While this is normal, your toddler should be able to concentrate on one thing for between 2 and 3 minutes before they get distracted or want to move on.
If your two-year-old is still not able to play with one toy for at least 2 minutes or you are unable to find something to hold his attention, you might want to chat to a professional.
Best Things to Do When Your Toddler Can’t Focus
As a parent you want your child to succeed.
It can be hard not to worry about your toddler concentration but getting your child to focus and concentrate will take time and a patience.
There are a few things you can do to get toddler to focus.
Encourage Them to Search for Someone or Something
Find something that is interesting to your toddler. Hide it away and then encourage your toddler to find it.
Don’t make it too hard otherwise they will definitely lose interest. When they start to wonder off, remind them what they are looking for and offer them a clue or a suggestion.
As the parent, you will need to have a lot of patience for this because your child might get distracted along the way and want to play with something else, gentle remind them and get them back on track.
Even if they do lose focus, continue on to find the object, so they learn to complete a task.
Kill the Noise (TV, Radio, Music)
When you want to work on an activity that requires concentration, like building a puzzle or playing a game, remove obvious distractions.
Switch the TV and radio off as this will definitely keep pulling your child’s attention away from the task at hand.
That said it is also a valuable skill for your child to learn to focus with distractions around but when they are still small it is best to keep the TV off while you are focusing on completing a task.
Don’t Forget Healthy Food – Vegetables
The food your child eat definitely plays a role in their ability to focus and concentrate.
It is advisable to limit or eliminate completely processed foods from your child’s diet. Good nutrition is essential for healthy brain development.
If you are worried about your child’s concentration, have a look at their diet – it should include good, healthy proteins like legumes, fish, beans, yoghurt and poultry, vegetables, and fruits as well as other complex carbohydrates like oatmeal and wholewheat bread.
Avoid refined sugar and processed foods as these will impact on your child’s ability to focus and concentrate.
Focus Games for Toddlers
Games are a great way to get your toddler to focus but make sure you find age-appropriate games that will engage them.
If the games are too hard, they will lose interest very quickly and the same applies if they are too easy.
Also look for games that you know will hold your child’s interest – some children enjoy board games; others prefer active games like hide and seek or tag.
You could play simple games like sorting blocks into colors, naming items around the house, finding objects that are a certain color – all of these will help to develop your toddler focusing skills.
Focus Activities for Toddlers
Teaching your child how to concentrate doesn’t have to be a chore or something you actively set aside time for. It can include things like helping around the house.
If you are tidying up, ask your toddler to pick up all of their clothes or look for any dirty cups.
When you go to the shops ask your toddler to help you look on the shelf for the items you need. Get them to water the plants or feed the animals daily. All of these activities require concentration.
Avoid Sweet Drinks & Sugar in General
We mentioned this early, but it is best to eliminate sweet drinks and sugar all together if you want your toddler to focus.
They are not healthy for your child (or for you as an adult) and research has shown a direct correlation between low concentration and sugar intake.
There are many treats you can make or buy for your toddler that do not contain sugar and there is no reason your child needs a sweet, sugary drink – water is absolutely fine and healthy for them.
Positive reinforcement is so important whenever you are trying to get your toddler to do something new.
If you have asked them to do something, be generous with your encouragement and praise.
This encouragement lets them know they are on the right track and will motivate them to keep going and try some more.
If they are struggling or make a mistake, encourage them to try again and remind them it is ok to make a mistake.
How long can a toddler concentrate?
Generally, a toddler should be able to concentrate for 2-3 minutes at a time.
How do you discipline my toddler who doesn't listen?
The best thing to do is to get down to your child’s level, make eye contact and issue the instruction again, calmly, and gently.
What are the best focus games for toddlers?
Age-appropriate puzzles, hide and seek, Simon Says and obstacle courses are all good focus games.
What is the attention span of a 2 -3-year-old child?
Children aged between 2 and 3 years of age have an attention span of roughly 2-3 minutes.
Toddlers are very busy, they do run from one thing to the next, it is how they are learning and growing.
This means their ability to focus, and concentrate is limited, hopefully this article has helped put your mind at ease about when to worry if your toddler can’t focus.
If it was useful, please share it with your family and friends.