Hi. I am posting on behalf of a friend who has a five-year-old girl at school in another European country and asked me for advice. I really had no ideas, so though I would open it up to the collective wisdom on MN.
"Today was X's medical check up at school, the doctor spent about 45min with her only to conclude that all is normal but it is pity that X lacks Concentation!, she does not think before answering a question. Is there anything we can do to help X to pay attention a little longer and to learn to think?"
Hi - sorry you have been ignored so far, and I thought I should take pity on you!
I am a retired TA (male) and worked with primary age children for twenty years.
Obviously 'concentration' is not something one can teach or enforce, and possibly the life-style in other countries may be different from the UK, which may result in young children behaving differently.
When our son was little (30 years ago) he had both parents at home most of the time, so received a lot of attention, playing-with, conversation etc. Also, unlike many households we never had the TV or radio on, except when we were actually watching/listening. Although I have not heard this proposed elsewhere, I have always considered that the constant background of TV/radio does not benefit children. We live in the country and when DS was in his pushchair we often walked near a little stream; he would watch the flowing water, and we would stay as long as he wanted to, maybe 10 or 15 minutes or more.
Music and TV were things he enjoyed as a treat, and even before he could talk he would point to the tape recorder and go "Ooo-ic, ooo-ic" (music) and we had several tapes of pre-school songs recorded in nurseries, that he loved. We played with Duplo and Lego with him, read to him, and let him watch limited amounts of appropriate TV ( Thomas the Tank Engine, Rainbow, Pob in those days.) But he might also see a BBC classic serial, or a Prom concert occasionally.
All these things, I think, allowed him to develop great concentration, with the result he did well at school, university and now has a good career.
Children need to be stimulated, but over-stimulation is probably bad thing. So I would suggest :
Have a quiet, relaxed atmosphere at home;
Play and talk with the child as much as possible;
Have toys and games that encourage play for extended periods of time, eg Lego, and work with child following instruction leaflet;
Do craft activities - cutting out & sticking; drawing & painting; simple sewing, tapestry, even knitting is possible for 5 or 6 year olds.
Look at nature - birds, animals, insects, or do gardening activities;
Share music (NOT Pop) and appropriate TV with the child, talking about it afterwards;
Share appropriate computer activities with child, and talk about it. (Our DS was writing simple computer programs at age 6, on a primitive computer, but modern computers do not facilitate that, except for the £25 www.raspberrypi.org/about );
Engage in imaginative play - dressing up, dolls' tea party, puppets.
I hope this is of some use to your friend, and if I can be of any more help let me know via a PM if you wish.
Thank you for that - I have copied it and e-mailed it to her. I think partly it is a matter of maturity. I am a teacher (which is why she asked me) and I see that many yr1 R children (and far later) have a very short concentration span. I think that you are quite right about constant background noise and moving pictures.
I like your idea of computer programming - a simple programmable toy, like a home version of the Beebot or Roamer, must be findable. Maybe someone can recommend one? I would get one for my 6-year old.
Also, perhaps take a look at her diet. Omega 3 supplements have been credited with aiding concentration but I don't know if that's just marketing. Certainly worth a try. As is cutting out too much sugar.
My friends boy was a bit older (7) and his teacher said he was struggling with his concentration in the classroom and the teacher recommended some basic memory games (pairs) and having maybe 6 every day items on show In front of him and then covering them up to see how many the child could remember (but making it fun like a game).