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My child is easily distracted and won’t sit still. Is this something I need to worry about?

My child is easily distracted and won’t sit still. Is this something I need to worry about? 

Toddlers have notoriously short attention spans. Your toddler might hand you a book and ask you to read it, but halfway through get up and move onto another activity. This is developmentally appropriate; just keep reading as he is running around. He may even come back to hear another page! Gradually his attention span will get longer as he gets older. You might expect a three year old to get through 1-2 short books, and a four year old to sit through one long book. You may find that certain activities, like coloring or blocks or trains, hold your toddler or young child’s attention longer than other activities. This is because he is really interested in it. But you shouldn’t expect the same level of attention for activities he might not love, like sitting through church or a meeting, dinner time, or even other play activities he doesn’t love. As in all areas of development, a child’s attention span can vary widely, but it is not typically something to be concerned about. For more tips and information on a attention spans, check out this article, “How to Improve Attention Spans.”

You might be thinking: “But I know my child can pay attention for long periods of time because he will watch an entire movie without being distracted.” However, watching tv and movies does not require the same level of attention that any other daily activities require. In fact, studies show that the fast paced movement of tv actually hinders a child’s ability to focus. To read more about this (and other fascinating information on screens) check out this article.

If you still have concerns about your child’s attention, please contact one of our care coordinators at 844.456.5437. You can also fill out an ASQ to check your child’s development.

  • Attention
  • Social Emotional