What is a reasonable attention span expectation for a toddler?
It seems to be widely understood that the child's ability to pay attention is extremely important in learning.
Not just paying attention but a "stick to it" sort of attitude.
It's important to note here that children can be at different developmental levels/stages even if they are the same age. There are many different factors to take into account. So, even though it's very very difficult not to..Try not to compare your child to his/her peers.
But, are there some ways to assist your child in developing a strong attention span?
YES YES YES!!
There is something magical that happens when the adults in the room become stationary. The child sees that you are NOT going to "chase" after them (which is quite a fun game when you are 22 mos. old).
But, I know it's easier said than done.
You are hoping to engage with your child, however, sometimes the best thing you can do is to take a step back and trust.
2. Observe More, Do LESS.
One of my favorite quotes by RIE Educator Magda Gerber.
Now, that I have you sitting down...It's time to observe. It can be very difficult to not talk to the other adults around you...BUT, take this opportunity to really focus YOUR attention on your child.
Through observation you will begin to learn about your child's interests and it will prompt you to understand what your child's learning needs are.
To truly observe your child, try to leave all judgement and WORRY out of the equation. Because, those 2 things will skew your observations.
Instead, focus on your child's hands and eyes. Where are they looking? What are they touching? How are they moving?
The Do-Less part of the quote is key. Try not to intervene. Constantly interjecting with "Share" "Try this" "Don't do that" will STOP attention spans and instead begin a Game between you and the child.
Sometimes, if your child is having difficulty settling in...your sitting down and demonstrating some possibilities for play (appropriate for your child's developmental level, please ;) can help them to understand what this place is all about.
So, Pinch off some clay and play around with it. As your child's sees your curiosity and appreciation for new materials and experiences, they will also begin to be curious.
Give your child the gift of time. Time to take a look around at all the possibilities. Time to just be. Sometimes they need 10 minutes to go through this process of "testing" out all the different possibilities for that day before they can really settle in.
Sometimes, they need weeks or even months to get used to a new social learning environment.
Be willing to take the journey with them without rushing.