About the speaker: Dr Valerie Muter is a consultant clinical psychologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital where she specialises in working with children with both developmental and neurologically based learning disorders. Visit Val's website at www.psykidz.co.uk.
Further information about this Talk
Visit Val's website at www.psykidz.co.uk.
To get hold of Valerie Muter's and Helen Likierman's latest book on how parents can prepare their child for school please click here.
Key Points Covered in This Talk:
- It is critical that children learn to sit, listen and to attend to what their teacher says and children also need to be able to compete activities that they are given. If your preschool child is struggling with concentration then it is important to set-up a routine to give your child plenty of practice and opportunity for building up their concentration skills. The following tips will help preschool children develop a good concentration span in readiness for starting school.
- Set up an action plan: On a regular basis (nearly every day if possible) parents need to set aside a time so that you and your child can sit together at a table and work on some sort of structured play activity.
- Building up concentration span: Parents should gradually build up their child's concentration span in short steps. If you think your child can concentrate for three minutes then start with that as a baseline. Then over time you can build up or extend your child's concentration span from three minutes to five minutes then to eight minutes and to ten minutes. It's really a question of regular practice and lots of experience in concentrating.
- Rewards: It is important to reward your child for concentrating, staying on task and completing activities. You can do this in very simple ways by praising them for concentrating and also using simple sticker and star charts. If your child does concentrate for the time period that you want them to concentrate for then they get a sticker or star on a chart which they can exchange for a more concrete reward like extra TV at the weekend, a special treat, a little outing or a small reward.
- Doing this should ensure that your child's concentration skills develop and by the time they start school they should be able to sit down and concentrate and complete and activity in about fifteen minutes.