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y3 dc attention span problem!

(13 Posts)
housemad Fri 28-Mar-14 12:54:52

Dc's teacher told me that dc seems to have a listening issue. Dc seems to day dream at carpet times and then doesn't know what to do once dc's at the table. So someone will have to explain to dc all over again. I believe dc is a late bloomer. Dc wasn't ready for school in yR and only started reading and writing in year 1. By y3 dc's age reading 9+, spelling 11+ and writing 3c (went up whole level in six months). So it has been a huge progress in my opinion. In terms of writing dc writes how dc wants to write rather than the ways the teacher s asked them. However dc's still got a personality of age 5/6. At home dc cannot read a book for more than 4/5 minutes at a time so now we read twice a day instead of just night time. Dc loves magazines because they contain short stories, activities and competitions to keep dc entertained throughout. Dc can spend most of a day or weekend with a magazine. Dc knew there s a problem as during the last few days dc was rather uneasy about the parents evening. Afterward I told dc to pay attention to the teacher from now on. Dc was just trying to hold back tears. I think it is very demanding expectation from a young child unfortunately that's the education system. I just want to find a way to help dc develop the attention span.

housemad Sat 29-Mar-14 08:22:12

Still no comments.......

PastSellByDate Sat 29-Mar-14 09:19:42

First off this sounds totally normal both my DDs were like this in KS1 and Y3.

Second - learning to listen is a skill - and like anything else it needs practise.

Nature watching (which requires you to be patient, quiet and pay attention is a great way of practising these skills). Spring Watch should be coming to the BBC fairly soon (it's on most years) - springwatch activities here:

With DD2 who rarely sat still and is constantly distracted - teaching her to sit quietly and wait for the butterflies and take photos of them was really useful.

In the autumn we looked for mushrooms and collected fruits like blackberries and bilberries. (again requiring focus).

If you have a bird feeder - encourage your child to record what birds come to the feeder.

Try also watching things like documentaries (often on a bit late but you can watch them from iplayer or recording) - and encourage your child to just listen.

Go to story telling events at local library, etc... - again encouraging listening.

Encourage chores: So simple instructions at first. DC could you go fill a watering can and water my flower pots.

DC can you take these clothes upstairs and put the shirts on my bed and then put your school clothes away in your drawer. (DD2 used to leave everything on my bed).

It may also help to take stock of how you behave when doing reading with your child. Is it quiet and calm, focused on the reading - or is the tv on, radio blaring, lots of noise/ interruptions. If your DC is used to that - they won't really be used to being calm themselves.

Now some kids just have tons of energy and adding fuel to that (in the form of sugary foods) can make them even more energetic and less able to settle down and get on with the task. So one trick my brother (who teachers in primary in the US) uses is to encourage children who are a bit overactive/ inattentive to make healthy eating choices and eat more fish. (He genuinely sees an improvement when kids get off the fizzy drinks and eat less sweets).


NecklessMumster Sat 29-Mar-14 09:27:32

My ds2 was criticised all through primary school for daydreaming and lack of focus. It got better as he got older and it depended on the teachers personality too..some found it more irritating than others
He's ok now but sometimes I think the whole school system just knocked the life out of him . He was a bit wild when younger but at year 8 is much more geeky and is a bit anxious

Nojustalurker Sat 29-Mar-14 09:31:24

The rule of thumb is a child should be able to listen for 1 minute for each year of their ages plus an extra minutes. Therefore an eight year old should be able to concentrate for 9 minutes.

housemad Sat 29-Mar-14 10:17:31

Dc can concentre for more than 9 minutes only if it interests her.
As now the weather is getting warmer and dryer so may be I can do some of the things that PSBD suggested.
Dc is not physically energetic or has any behavioural issues but her mind wonders off into her own world when not being engaged with little activities. She loves writing so dc can seat at a table for a long time just writing out pages and pages even just dialogues from YouTube videos. I believe that's how she learn her writing and spellings more than in schools. As after the six weeks of summer holiday when she went back to school her literacy improved overwhelmingly and her spelling went up by 2 & a half years/ages.

luvmy3kids Sat 29-Mar-14 13:30:57

When I was 7 they reported I had attention span problems, but then by the age of 9 they were telling my parents I should be in the gifted program - sorry to sound as if I'm bragging. I don't wear it as badge of honour. I am in no way a genius but performed better in school after age 9. A lot changes between 7 and 9.

Sometimes bright kids start slowly at first, because they don't focus. Doesn't it resolve itself with maturity? I know TV doesn't help attention span problems so maybe limiting this if he's watching too much.

housemad Sat 29-Mar-14 14:19:56

Dc doesn't watch as much television as many children at a time. We don't have tv on when reading. Also four evenings in a week she has either clubs or sports to do so again not a lot of times to watch too much tv. She is doing well with her music lessons in school perhaps due to being one to one tuitions. Really she would rather play with other kids or doing little thinking or imaginative activities on her own. I truly believe that the listening issue will correct itself with maturity. Perhaps the teacher worries that her class is not producing the expected end y3 target so it would make her class look bad. As there seems to be somewhat a nc level attached to every term. The teacher keeps telling me that "This is a high performing school so we expect our children to be at a higher standard etc. ........." . Just makes me feel so out of place.

PastSellByDate Sun 30-Mar-14 10:53:17


brew have a cup of tea and try and relax.

Your child sounds perfectly normal and very sweet.

The teacher's priorities may not necessarily be yours or your child's - but that doesn't mean your child doesn't fit in or you're out of place at the school.

It sounds to me like you have a bright girl there but the teacher is a bit frustrated (maybe feeling pressured) she's not performing better.

You obviously are very caring and are trying to take on board what the teacher says and help your DC - but as many have advised this is most likely something she will grow out of and ultimately she will learn to show attention (indeed feign attention as DD1 seems beautifully able to do these days) when required to do so.

I think the question to ask yourself is is your DC truly behind. If they're performing at or slightly above expected levels then there really isn't a problem.

Enjoy your mother's day today and trust in the old addage that 'in six months time you'll be worrying about something else' - words of wisdom a friend gave me when DD1 was a newborn baby and not feeding well.

housemad Mon 31-Mar-14 14:47:26

Big thank you PSBD you are very kind.

Slackgardener Mon 31-Mar-14 15:28:56

Ds was described as a day dreamer, he was constantly told off for not listening at school. The teacher went on about it so much she convinced him he had a disability and that he'd never be able to listen, so be careful that he/she is not learning that they are crap at listening and they stop trying. I think any intervention we did was mostly to turn around his self belief. Teach him that he could listen, that day dreaming is different to not being able to listen, it shows a creative imagination mind and will help with story building but it's best to try not to day dream when the teacher is trying to explain instructions.
As you can tell I felt the teacher was our biggest problem, she found his day dreaming unbearable and she was the one I needed to manage, we were so glad when she stopped teaching him. Subsequent teachers were more understanding and accommodating and he did grow out of it, he still likes to day dream but he manages the when better now.
He now has patience, good concentration and a strong work ethic, who would have thought it!

housemad Tue 01-Apr-14 10:04:16

Thanks to all of you to take the trouble to share your views.

I am having dc's hearing checked just to confirm this is not the cause. Another thing occur to me is consulting an educational psychologist. But I thank it may be a too expensive exercise to go through unless it is done by school's referral.

PastSellByDate Tue 01-Apr-14 13:47:40


genuinely your daughter sounds very normal.

I'm sure it is annoying for the teacher that she's not paying attention as much as she would like, and maybe you need to explain that to your DD (as I did with DD1), but this day dreaming/ easily distracted phase will most likely pass.

My advice is start with a small thing. maybe talk about how at the start of the lesson the teacher might stand in front of class by the white board and explain something and ask your DC if they sometimes need to be called to attention then? DD1 admitted she did - so we discussed how the teacher is trying to tell her what she'll be doing next and how to do it. If she doesn't listen it means the teacher has to explain it again and can't help children that are finding the task difficult, or need extra glue, etc...

Maybe at home when you're giving instructions (to put something away, or get something out for you) just see if she follows them or not. If she doesn't discuss with her why she hasn't put x away, or brought you the scissors, etc... And talk about how when she asks you for something you do listen and help. And that listening to people shows you care about them/ what they're saying.

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