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What's a normal attention span for a 4yo?

(10 Posts)
longestlurkerever Sun 17-Jan-16 09:34:00

My dd is an August born 4yo and started reception in September. She seems to like it and is learning quickly but we're encouraged to practise things at home eg letter formation by writing Christmas cards and it's such a battle. She knows how to form each letter and the difference between upper and lower case letters and can spell simple phonetic words but if I'm helping her to spell out something she procrastinates and changes the subject between each letter. It took us 2 hours to write 2 thank you letters ("dear (Name) thank you for my (present) love dd" and most if that time was just bringing her back to the task in hand. Once she is willing, she can write each letter no problem. I have no idea what my expectations should be but her little friends seem to write things like party invitations with the envelopes all done too etc so I think either other parents have the patience of saints (I feel like I need a lie down after each birthday card) or their children are more willing /compliant. She's bright and articulate but I feel like her lack of focus might start to hold her back. Do I need to just chill out or are there things I should be doing to improve her attention span? I'm not pushy mum but I do want her to fulfil her potential, which I believe is high, and I have posted before about concerns she may have adhd (based on other factors) and at the moment school and I are just keeping an eye to see how she . I suppose I just want to know what "normal" looks like against that background. Any thoughts welcome. I wasn't sure where to post this but thought teachers' perspectives might be helpful as they see a range of children.

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Sun 17-Jan-16 09:55:31

DD would write all the cards DS wouldn't!

My advise is to go with things she happy to do!

So say she's interested in baking - get her to write the recipe out

Likes ahopping her her to do a list or add to yours
There's more than one way to skin a cat

Lurkedforever1 Sun 17-Jan-16 09:58:06

Honestly, just chill. Dd could concentrate for hours as a toddler on things that interested her, but age 8/9 was still capable of switching off if it didn't.

Not a stealth boast but relevant, dd is academically able, and with hindsight always was. But while she started school years ahead in maths, literacy didn't interest her till she was nearly 5, and nationally probably started school at average, but she's a December birthday so older than your dd is when she reached that average stage. She had no problems with the motor control to write, but did v little, and tbh it came from writing numbers not letters. So I just left it alone and we did stuff she liked. Once she decided she was interested the concentration came.

Plus up until y5 or so, when it came to writing she was very hit and miss. If the subject interested her you'd get pages of beautiful and correct writing with a lot of thought behind it. If the subject didn't, a few scrawled thoughtless lines was likely. It was only close to being 10 when she realised there are occasions when interested or not you do your best.

Even now in y7, it's maturity that makes her do her best writing whether or not it interests her, not academic ability or a massive interest in writing about anything.

So by all means if you're worried about adhd for other reasons, look into it. But I wouldn't worry yet about her concentration or ability in literacy.

longestlurkerever Sun 17-Jan-16 10:16:44

Thanks both! This is helpful. I do try and chill out about it and wait till she wants to but it's always "tomorrow" and suddenly school went from "only practise if they're keen" to "please get them to write Christmas cards to all their friends" (eek, there are 31 in her class!). it was a long time before she showed any interest in drawing either, though she has always loved play doh and craft (well, glitter and glue!)

Lurkedforever1 Sun 17-Jan-16 11:08:57

Writing xmas cards is a great idea for writing practice, but age 4/5 it's more important they don't see it as a boring task and learn to hate it. Fwiw I remember one parent being very worried about a possible sn when their otherwise fine child still wouldn't write much at home by y2, was behind in literacy despite being a confident reader, and she was still writing his xmas cards. There turned out to be no sn, and according to dd he got l5 spag.

CookieDoughKid Sun 17-Jan-16 15:28:03

I think this is very common. I wouldn't be concerned at this age as she is so young. I would be more focused on creative arts and line formation and just forming only a few letters. But really she's just 4 so much happens in a year in terms of development I seriously wouldn't worry about it.

bojorojo Sun 17-Jan-16 21:38:55

31 cards is a tall order at 4! One of mine (August birthday) would have had a real go but other DD (April birthday) would have struggled and been less keen. Children develop at different rates.

longestlurkerever Mon 18-Jan-16 07:37:10

We managed 15 cards And we did get to the end of the thank you cards though it almost finished me off! Thanks. I'll wait it out and hope she gets keener

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Mon 18-Jan-16 07:41:30

A concentration span minute per year of life on an activity not of their choosing is not unusual in young children, if it is an activity they have chosen then they can concentrate for far longer.

longestlurkerever Mon 18-Jan-16 09:21:03

Thanks. That makes sense! She spent ages yesterday making lovely little play doh cakes. This morning she did suddenly decide she wanted to make a book for her friend. All the letters were backwards but still, I was pleased she showed an interest. Maybe it'll come!

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