Some days I look around the playroom and wonder how two toddlers can create such a disaster in so little time. In these moments I am reminded of how toddlers seemingly shift from one activity to another every few minutes. Some days you can barely get through a single story or you find yourself pulling out all the stops to elongate a project. Fortunately, what we are experiencing is completely normal and we are not crazy for feeling like our toddlers are shifting from toy to toy at an exhausting rate.
Throughout toddlerhood new activity, events, or noises will easily distract your child. This is normal and you will likely notice that different children can tolerate different levels of noise as some children are more sensitive to sound than others. When it comes to attending behaviors, here are some rough guidelines:
We can help our toddlers develop their attention span by attracting their attention to things we hear or see, introducing new activities, and providing occasion for independent and group play. Here are a few other strategies for engaging your toddler and helping to develop their focus:
If you have unrealistic expectations of your toddler's attention span, it can lead to frustrating moments for both the adult and toddler. Since toddlers cannot easily express their thoughts and feelings, or even identify them to start with, you will likely find yourself managing a tantrum if you expect too much. Furthermore, an overtired, hungry, or sick toddler is likely to exhibit less than usual length of attending behavior. Be mindful of your toddler's overall mindset and adjust your expectations appropriately.
Questions or concerns about your toddler's attention should be raised with your pediatrician. Make a list of examples, noting length of time or the behavior your child exhibits (e.g. tantrum, etc.) if possible. If your child is with other adults on a regular basis (e.g. a grandparent, caregiver, or preschool teacher) make a point to seek their observations and feedback based on the interactions in other environments as well.
ABOUT CHRISSY K
I am mom to three boys (one with several life-threatening food allergies) who will never own too many picture books or create Pinterest-worthy snacks. Simply Chrissy K is a place to find helpful tips on parenting that stem from my work with families as an educational consultant and parenting coach.
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