Attention Span

Watch your baby.  She sees something new - say, a cup - grabs it, touches it, feels it all over, turns it round and round, tastes it, sucks on it.  She's so interested in it that she will cry if you take it away before she's done. 

Attention span - we complain that a child's is too short.  

Try letting your baby alone when he is giving his

attention to something.  Don't interrupt him.  Let him

test it out.  Let him try different games without

predicting for him what will and will not work.  Leave

him to explore this exciting new thing - even if it is just a

bucket - until his curiosity is satisfied.  Do this alot, at

every age.  You will soon notice as you do, that you would

naturally cut short nearly all of his attention.  Come to

lunch, don't touch that, we have to go, here look at this

instead.
 
We just do that as part of trying to fit in all we do each 

day.  But then we complain and wonder about a short

attention span.   We train them to have a short attention

span.
 
I read an interesting book once that affected the way I

understood and managed my children.  It was by a

mother who did an experiment on this subject with her 

4 children. She had noticed the intense curiosity and

decided to nurture this to an unusual degree.  She spent

all of her day minding them as she let them explore to the

end of their interest, until they, of their own will had turned away- attention span undisturbed - left to its natural course.  She provided  new objects, information, ideas, nature, and experiences.   Her guiding principle was to let them use and develop their curiosity to its full extent.  She would put them to bed at 7, then do all the housework and cooking so she was free to give uninterrupted support  the next day.  Her children were all apparently geniuses.
 
Now I don't have any geniuses but I was intrigued by the idea.  To encourage a child's innate love of learning instead of stifling it for convenience sake.  

Pre schools and schools promote this fragmented interest.  "First we will be interested in numbers for 10 minutes, then we will talk about animals."  Most kids adapt.  It isn't the best way to learn.  It is the most convenient way to teach. 

 

Self directed learning.  Self motivated education.  High schools try to teach these skills.  It seems like a child HAS these skills, we dull them for years, then try to recover them.

 

At least while they are in your hands, in the early years and in your after school adventures, you can foster this love of learning, this natural curiosity, by just being aware and letting your child frequently have undisturbed attention span.  You provide the time, and environment, then stand back and watch your own genius at work.

-Lisa

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