Our seven year old finds it hard to concentrate for any length of time. Examples include failing to get dressed for half an hour because, "oops I forgot and I was reading a book" or doing completely the wrong task at school because she wasn't listening to the instructions. I know it isn't abnormal for seven year olds to get distracted, but her teacher commented on it at parents' evening, so she's obviously exceptionally bad. She's fairly bright child and gets away with catching up a lot of the time when she's missed things.

I don't really know how to help her get better at this and wondered if anyone has any ideas.

asked 11 Nov '09, 19:26

Meg%20Stephenson's gravatar image

Meg Stephenson
accept rate: 7%

This is just my personal opinion but I am impressed that a 7 year old would be so engrossed in a book that she would forget to get dressed. She sounds like she has a good amount of concentration for things that she finds interesting.

My nephew had difficulty focusing and concentrating on topics that were not interesting for him. When we had the chance to be alone with him, we asked him outright about his lack of concentration and he calmly explained that he got bored with things that were too easy or with things that he didn't fully comprehend. He just couldn't be bothered to explain himself.

I would try and speak with her about the things that she finds stimulating before talking about the things that she enjoys less. Finding ways to solve the problem of concentration may be easier with a clear idea of what she does and does not enjoy.

The suggestions below are from Brainy Child and may be useful for you.

Extra games and sundry activities that help your child develop concentration and focus:

1.Chess – develops concentration, focus, imagination and predicting.

2.Board games - help develop thinking skills, evaluation power, imagination and concentration.

3.Story telling – helps your child grow the power of imagination, focus, creativity and vision.

4.Missing numbers and game of opposites – Assists in developing the power of concentration, logic, imagination and arithmetic


answered 11 Nov '09, 21:11

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

edited 11 Nov '09, 21:18


(Emi, this is in no way a criticism of what you've said, just a comment on the Brainy Child website.) I commend the idea behind that website, but their execution is dreadful. Some of the articles seem like they've been autotranslated. "For information is expanding geometrically, it is just impossible for you to teach your child to master all of it." Also, they link to Baby Einstein videos, which are currently being recalled because researchers found they do more harm then good. And the website itself is quite behind the times.

(11 Nov '09, 21:52) Scottie T

+1 I agree that her problem probably isn't concentration.

(11 Nov '09, 21:59) John MacIntyre

@Scottie T You are absolutely 100% right... I only quoted the bits I thought made real sense..(I think that those few tips they made, seemed common sensical to me) :)

(11 Nov '09, 22:46) Emi

I had a hard job choosing whose answer to accept, but this one is the most comprehensive. Thanks for pointing out that it isn't really concentration that's a problem, it's about focusing on the task in hand, not getting distracted by other, more interesting, things. Board games are a bit tricky, due to her inability to lose anything without having a tantrum (my husband answered a question about this a while a go), but perhaps we could give it a go. As for making her school work more interesting, I kind of feel like her teachers ought to be doing more, but we'll try.

(13 Nov '09, 14:28) Meg Stephenson

I agree with Emi, it doesn't sound like she's got a concentration problem.

If she goes into flow state while reading a book, her concentration is better than most adults. I'd almost suggest, it's her concentration getting her 'distracted'.

I wonder if you should focus on directing her concentration. Maybe trying to make her school work interesting and making her curious about what she's learning.


answered 11 Nov '09, 21:58

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John MacIntyre
accept rate: 0%

edited 12 Nov '09, 01:46

Scott's gravatar image

Scott ♦♦

My eight year old is the Same way. I have had to go back to one instruction at a time for example Go get dressed then come back to me ok good now get your shoes.. and so one On I had to go over board like that for a while and then add 2 at a time. I really think it is the age and the teacher is trying to make you aware and not that it is soo horrible. Just keep calm and go back to the basics with instruction.


answered 11 Nov '09, 20:20

Mary's gravatar image

accept rate: 10%

We had a similar problem getting our (then) 6 year old daughter to get dressed and ready for school in the morning (brush teeth, clean face and hands, brush hair, get dressed, ... etc).

She preferred to read books, or play with her sister.

What we did was put a list on her bedroom wall that she had to work through before she could read a book or play with her sister. She just seemed to need reminding of all the things she needed to do, and it seemed to work well --- no more problems missing the school bus!


answered 22 Nov '09, 03:27

Peter%20K.'s gravatar image

Peter K.
accept rate: 0%

I like this - I'm going to give it a go.

(22 Nov '09, 14:16) Meg Stephenson

I'm no expert but how about getting a few games that deal specifically with concentration? What if you could link concentrating with fun - that might help? How about rewards for good concentration?


answered 11 Nov '09, 20:10

dreamerisme's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

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Asked: 11 Nov '09, 19:26

Seen: 12,554 times

Last updated: 22 Nov '09, 03:27