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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>2 Year Old Has A 30 Second Attention Span
Unregistered 11:46 PM 05-09-2016
Dcb 2 and a half has an almost none existent attention span. Even if you're right there with him. Sitting for story time? Assistant has to sit with him, and redirect him to sit back down when he tries to get up. Over and over. This is for a five minute story. If a toy area is closed, he can't stay with the available activities, he has to be brought back over and over. He tries to get up when a shoe is half on. Sometimes he appears to know he is disobeying, going back to the toys a third time (at which point they are removed from his reach and have to be put back later) I know twos have short attention spans but his is very very short. I've never suggested getting evaluated before and don't want to offend his parents...
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Thriftylady 05:43 AM 05-10-2016
If you think there is something wrong, I would suggest to the parents an evaluation. Parents shouldn't get offended by us trying to help their children, so frame it as help. The biggest problem I see with this is not offense taken, but parents being in denial. But there could be other things going on. He could just be acting his age, possibly just a little slow to develop his attention span. . Or, parents could be doing things at home that make him think this is okay. Sometimes we really see things caused by parenting. How many months is he? Is he a new 2, is he almost 3?
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Ariana 08:58 AM 05-10-2016
I have had two kids like this and currently have one. I put the tv on the other day because my own child was sick and she wasn't even interested in it...just started rolling around on the floor. Zero attention span, doesn't play etc. I see a huge influx of these kids nowadays. I think it has to do with way too much adult control coupled with a need for negative attention.
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AmyKidsCo 07:23 PM 05-10-2016
2 yr olds generally don't have much of an attention span. Neither do 3 yr olds. In fact, I tell my DCP that all young children are "ADD" - not only do they have no attention span but they don't have much impulse control either (which is why he keeps going back to the "closed" areas).

Personally, I'd think about how important it is for him to sit at story time and why. (What are you doing, why are you doing it, and who are you doing it for?) Maybe he's just not interested in listening to stories now, but will be when he's older. Maybe he's kinesthetic and listens better when he's moving around.
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CalCare 09:55 PM 05-10-2016
Agree 100% amykidsco!
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Ariana 08:13 AM 05-11-2016
Originally Posted by AmyKidsCo:
2 yr olds generally don't have much of an attention span. Neither do 3 yr olds. In fact, I tell my DCP that all young children are "ADD" - not only do they have no attention span but they don't have much impulse control either (which is why he keeps going back to the "closed" areas).

Personally, I'd think about how important it is for him to sit at story time and why. (What are you doing, why are you doing it, and who are you doing it for?) Maybe he's just not interested in listening to stories now, but will be when he's older. Maybe he's kinesthetic and listens better when he's moving around.
This is a big part of the problem. The idea that children at 2-3 years are "ADD". Expectations for children are simply getting lower and lower and lower. If 9 out of 10 children are listening and are interested and only one is consistently seeking negative attention then I would say the problem is not the age group. Do I expect children at this age to sit for 20-30 minutes? No. I do expect them to be able to sit and pay attention for 5-10 min.

Sorry, no offense, I just thoroughly disagree!
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KayB 08:22 AM 05-11-2016
Originally Posted by Ariana:
This is a big part of the problem. The idea that children at 2-3 years are "ADD". Expectations for children are simply getting lower and lower and lower. If 9 out of 10 children are listening and are interested and only one is consistently seeking negative attention then I would say the problem is not the age group. Do I expect children at this age to sit for 20-30 minutes? No. I do expect them to be able to sit and pay attention for 5-10 min.

Sorry, no offense, I just thoroughly disagree!
This is also my theory
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TXhomedaycare 08:25 AM 05-11-2016
Originally Posted by AmyKidsCo:
2 yr olds generally don't have much of an attention span. Neither do 3 yr olds. In fact, I tell my DCP that all young children are "ADD" - not only do they have no attention span but they don't have much impulse control either (which is why he keeps going back to the "closed" areas).

Personally, I'd think about how important it is for him to sit at story time and why. (What are you doing, why are you doing it, and who are you doing it for?) Maybe he's just not interested in listening to stories now, but will be when he's older. Maybe he's kinesthetic and listens better when he's moving around.
Yes! I have all boys and they are 1 to 5 yo and they all only pay attention to what they like and have a short (really short) attention span on things they are not interested in. My son only learns when he is moving or singing besides that you most likely lost him (he is 5). My 2 yo son cannot sit down for 5 seconds and comes and goes as he pleases when we read books and color. I encourage him to join us and he does some times but for the most part no. He doesn't seem to be listening but he knows the words to the books and picks up on most of the stuff we talk about even when he seems to not be paying attention. Let dcb do what he wants and don't assume the worst. All kids learn differently and boys tend to be tougher to wrangle in and focus (I recently went to a boys training that said they can be up to 18 months behind developmentally and they are more likely to be mis-diagnosed with adhd).
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daycarediva 09:53 AM 05-11-2016
Originally Posted by Ariana:
This is a big part of the problem. The idea that children at 2-3 years are "ADD". Expectations for children are simply getting lower and lower and lower. If 9 out of 10 children are listening and are interested and only one is consistently seeking negative attention then I would say the problem is not the age group. Do I expect children at this age to sit for 20-30 minutes? No. I do expect them to be able to sit and pay attention for 5-10 min.

Sorry, no offense, I just thoroughly disagree!
Yup, I definitely think that all children should be able to listen to a story that is 5 minutes long. I am seeing more kids like this- and I am seeing a lot of screen time, adult directed activity/play, low supervision, and less reading to children.

I just had an interview where the Mom said "He doesn't like to be read to, but he loves to listen to one book on Storia." (screens!)

Even the wildest 18mo I have ever cared for has been able to listen to one short story.

I would tell Mom you are working on sitting and listening through one book, and ask them to read to him at home. Make the story you chose about topics that interest him, use props if applicable, and start your story time at the table (buckle him in, until he 'gets' and enjoys story time).

I do NOT agree with the eval at this age if activity level and attention span were the only concerns and even as a parent I would push back against that.

Attention span can be shown with child led activity as well. If you set up a water station, does he stay engaged for any length of time? What DOES keep his attention?
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CalCare 10:05 AM 05-11-2016
Am I understanding correctly, that you are suggesting she buckle the child into a chair to make him sit through a story?
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Ariana 11:28 AM 05-11-2016
Originally Posted by TXhomedaycare:
Yes! I have all boys and they are 1 to 5 yo and they all only pay attention to what they like and have a short (really short) attention span on things they are not interested in. My son only learns when he is moving or singing besides that you most likely lost him (he is 5). My 2 yo son cannot sit down for 5 seconds and comes and goes as he pleases when we read books and color. I encourage him to join us and he does some times but for the most part no. He doesn't seem to be listening but he knows the words to the books and picks up on most of the stuff we talk about even when he seems to not be paying attention. Let dcb do what he wants and don't assume the worst. All kids learn differently and boys tend to be tougher to wrangle in and focus (I recently went to a boys training that said they can be up to 18 months behind developmentally and they are more likely to be mis-diagnosed with adhd).
Whoever is telling you that boys are developmentally different is completely wrong. Boy brains and girl brains are exactly the same at this age. They are socialized differently and have different expectations...usually lower expectations. No offence but this kind of thinking really irks me and is a huge reason so many boys are doing poorly in school these days. It makes it easier to parent these kids though, if you know, you have zero control over it because "boys are just like this".

If your sons only pay attention to things they want to pay attention to and sing in order to learn how are they going to function in school and society? Have you ever practiced increasing their attention span? I have worked with kids on this in the past and it has worked wonders. Kids need to learn skills, they don't just come by these skills naturally.
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Ariana 11:33 AM 05-11-2016
Originally Posted by CalCare:
Am I understanding correctly, that you are suggesting she buckle the child into a chair to make him sit through a story?
If a child is being disruptive to others, doing things that are unsafe during story time, I would absolutely be buckling them in. We buckle kids in during meal times, when in the car etc. It is not a form of torture.
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daycarediva 12:13 PM 05-11-2016
Originally Posted by Ariana:
If a child is being disruptive to others, doing things that are unsafe during story time, I would absolutely be buckling them in. We buckle kids in during meal times, when in the car etc. It is not a form of torture.



Cal care-
I don't even have chairs with buckles, we are very Montessori inspired here. BUT I would consider getting one that is child height for my table for activities, meals, and whenever a child that young and with that poor impulse control needed to be 'put up' for the benefit of the group.

Our state regulations would allow it in small amounts (and I have heard licensars suggesting it at trainings). There is NOTHING wrong with a child sitting in a booster at the table being read to.

I run a literacy based program, so this child just would not be a good fit for me/my program. I start children at 18m, and have a VERY high energy little guy who is now 2, been here 6 months, and his attention span has increased by leaps and bounds. He sits through our entire (age appropriate) circle time without redirection. He sits through and enjoys poems, books of all sizes, etc.

I find that if we raise our expectations, children will rise to meet them. Lowering expectations, or allowing him to be distruptive to the rest of the group is detrimental to everyone.
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TXhomedaycare 01:22 PM 05-11-2016
Originally Posted by Ariana:
Whoever is telling you that boys are developmentally different is completely wrong. Boy brains and girl brains are exactly the same at this age. They are socialized differently and have different expectations...usually lower expectations. No offence but this kind of thinking really irks me and is a huge reason so many boys are doing poorly in school these days. It makes it easier to parent these kids though, if you know, you have zero control over it because "boys are just like this".

If your sons only pay attention to things they want to pay attention to and sing in order to learn how are they going to function in school and society? Have you ever practiced increasing their attention span? I have worked with kids on this in the past and it has worked wonders. Kids need to learn skills, they don't just come by these skills naturally.
Here is a great article outlining what I am talking about.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-gai...b_5339567.html

Here is a good video caled The War on Boys

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OFpYj0E-yb4

I never said boys are slower and I am not making excuses for boys at all. Many studies show boys and girls do not have the same brain development and hormones even at a young age. I am not saying we lower expectations for boys I am saying they have a different learning style (I am not saying all boys but I am saying most). Now that a lot of schools are focusing more on academics and testing and having the kids sit more and move their body less no P.E. or recess) we are seeing a large decline in boys performance in schools. We have adjusted the classroom in a way that naturally works better for girls but we are leaving boys and their kind of learning styles out. I do not have lower expectations for boys at all since I have been working with only boys for years now I have noticed a difference in how they like to learn and how they do better if I keep in mind how they think and process things. Everyone has a different learning style.

Let me be clear that my sons are expected to sit down and listen to a story and they do (my 2 yo just turned 2 last week so I am working with him on sitting in longer phases but I do not strap him down because there is no danger in him walking around the older kids know they are expected to sit and they all do). I never said we only do what they want or I only sing so they can learn but I have noticed all of my kids learning styles and appeal to them all. I understand listening and sitting and so on are skills that are taught and I do work on that with all the kids. Going to the extreme and assuming I meant zero control is a little much, I have very high expectations for all my kids no matter what sex they are. I learn a lot like my 5 yo son who I am not worried about going to kindergarten this fall because he can learn without music or moving but does better when he does. When I went to the training about boys I learned that I learn a lot like a boy and may be why I absolutely hated school growing up. If my son comes home from school and is having difficulty I don't expect his teacher to change I will make him a song or dance or whatever it takes for him to learn (this is were being a parent kicks in) and as he grows up he will learn how to make thing work for him since schools are more girl learning style centered.

Boys do not or should not have lower or different expectations but I do not expect all kids to be at the same level whether it is a boy or girl. I just wanted the OP to understand that some boys (even girls but more commonly boys) are not as mature and take longer to master some of the skills that we might think would be easy for them to do.
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TXhomedaycare 01:45 PM 05-11-2016
I didn't address the screen time issues because we have very limited screen time here in general. My kids don't watch TV in the car or when we are out at all and spend 60% of their day outside so when we are inside they enjoy learning and playing. I am sure that could be a factor with a lot of kids though.

If I have a child that is being a danger or disruptive towards others yes I will strap them down in a high chair during circle time.

I think I would first ask the mother if they read books at home or if he is given an opportunity to sit (not including screen time). Now that I have been doing this for a while I tend to think what is going on at home before I assume there is something wrong with the child.
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AmyKidsCo 02:35 PM 05-11-2016
Originally Posted by TXhomedaycare:
Here is a great article outlining what I am talking about.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-gai...b_5339567.html

Here is a good video caled The War on Boys

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OFpYj0E-yb4

I never said boys are slower and I am not making excuses for boys at all. Many studies show boys and girls do not have the same brain development and hormones even at a young age. I am not saying we lower expectations for boys I am saying they have a different learning style (I am not saying all boys but I am saying most). Now that a lot of schools are focusing more on academics and testing and having the kids sit more and move their body less no P.E. or recess) we are seeing a large decline in boys performance in schools. We have adjusted the classroom in a way that naturally works better for girls but we are leaving boys and their kind of learning styles out. I do not have lower expectations for boys at all since I have been working with only boys for years now I have noticed a difference in how they like to learn and how they do better if I keep in mind how they think and process things. Everyone has a different learning style.

Let me be clear that my sons are expected to sit down and listen to a story and they do (my 2 yo just turned 2 last week so I am working with him on sitting in longer phases but I do not strap him down because there is no danger in him walking around the older kids know they are expected to sit and they all do). I never said we only do what they want or I only sing so they can learn but I have noticed all of my kids learning styles and appeal to them all. I understand listening and sitting and so on are skills that are taught and I do work on that with all the kids. Going to the extreme and assuming I meant zero control is a little much, I have very high expectations for all my kids no matter what sex they are. I learn a lot like my 5 yo son who I am not worried about going to kindergarten this fall because he can learn without music or moving but does better when he does. When I went to the training about boys I learned that I learn a lot like a boy and may be why I absolutely hated school growing up. If my son comes home from school and is having difficulty I don't expect his teacher to change I will make him a song or dance or whatever it takes for him to learn (this is were being a parent kicks in) and as he grows up he will learn how to make thing work for him since schools are more girl learning style centered.

Boys do not or should not have lower or different expectations but I do not expect all kids to be at the same level whether it is a boy or girl. I just wanted the OP to understand that some boys (even girls but more commonly boys) are not as mature and take longer to master some of the skills that we might think would be easy for them to do.


ITA.

My question isn't whether expectations should be raised or lowered, but whether they're appropriate for each individual child, and where they're coming from. Where's the rule that says that all 2 yr olds need to be able to sit for 5 minutes to listen to a story?
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MunchkinWrangler 03:23 PM 05-11-2016
I totally believe boys are 'wired' different than girls. I also think that at 2 there should really be no expectation of any time limit for an activity. Is this child a young 2 or older 2?

My son is 2.5. His attention span is consistently getting longer i.e will color for 15 min., will set up train tracks and play for 20 min, will sit down and look at books. I have a 3 year old girl who will scribble on a page and say she's done coloring, won't sit and look at books, and pretty much has a 2 second attention span.

I think this has to do with what happens at home and what they are normally engaged in by adults. Screen time could be a factor but maturity does as well.
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Ariana 11:15 PM 05-11-2016
All of the "science" behind boy brains being different has been debunked time and time again. Hormones do not come into play until adolescents when the brains actually become different and change. Even that change is highly suspect because many of the changes have mostly to do with socialization and an identity with a certain gender so scientists cannot even say for sure that those changes are predetermined by sex. Also when you take into account the plasticity of the brain you can see why traits are very rarely hardwired. Anyway I have read enough to know that this type of science does more harm than good.

I guess we will just have to agree to disagree. I see the decline of boys as being directly related to this type of "science" that tells people boys are different and need to be treated differently.

I appreciate you explaining your post a little further because it does sound like you set expectation for them and that they have learned some self efficacy and regulation which is wonderful!
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Play Care 04:20 AM 05-12-2016
I feel your pain. Before this year I would have been saying how inappropriate it is to expect a 2 yo to sit, kids need to move, etc.

In September I started two brothers, oldest is now 3 1/2 and younger just turned 2. They are all.over.the.place. Tons of screen time, getting out of bed at night, lots of whining, etc. The 3 1/2 has a severe speech delay and it's becoming apparent the 2 year old is developing the same speech pattern. While they are good here, they require more supervision than any one else - the 3 1/2 yo is "potty trained" but heaven forbid he's in the bathroom by himself Also, he still has to be buckled in to a booster at meal times other wise he's up and around. At 3 1/2! I don't think I've ever had to buckle kids in at that age. We usually don't use boosters with kids that old. Add to the fact he still communicates by pointing and grunting....during Circle and story here (short!) the three other kids (a 5 year old girl, an almost 5 year old boy, and a 2 year old boy) sit and listen - excited to help, etc. meanwhile the brothers are rolling around on each other

Mom has the "boys will be boys" mind set and just kind of lets it happen. It's sad, but also getting frustrating because due to their wild and crazy behavior, they turned off a potential dcfamily (during the interview the boys ignored the other kids, ran all over the place and kept tackling each other, add to the fact you can't understand a word that comes out of a nearly 4 year olds mouth... ) and unfortunately they were the only kids here that morning so I'm sure the mom thought that was how things run here (um, no)
I had a visitor from the referral agency to talk about getting a CDA, and while only the older child was here that day, she had major concerns about his development. After she left my assistant said "it's a good thing only one of them was here today!" I can only imagine what her thoughts would have been then.

So yeah, I'm kind of over the whole "boys will be boys" mentatility, especially when I see it used to justify behavior by boys who are out of control.
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Unregistered 12:40 AM 05-26-2016
OP here, thank you all for your responses, the conversation here has been so interesting and covered so many view points! I'm sorry I did not reply sooner.
There are concerns with this child beyond the attention span, it's also following directions (simple, one step), and not getting along with other kids (he likes them, they don't like him because he cannot keep his hands to himself, and is big for his age and a bit of a bull in a China shop)
Story time has gotten better, he sits longer than before. The main struggle now has been getting him to sit for meals. He gets up- over and over- rolling his eyes up and walking off in a way that says "I can't heaaaaar youuuu la la la!" With food. We don't want to be accused of denying him food so unless he decides he is done or mealtime is over, it's just bringing him back or sitting right by him and physically preventing him from getting up (even with a teacher right there, he still tries) I feel like after a few months of this he would stop trying, the rules about food are consistent every day! I don't think it would frustrate me so much if he didn't make that face! It's not cute. It was never cute. His other faces are cute. Not that one.
It's no longer something I can do anything about though as his last day is next week (mom will be able to be home now)
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Tags:attention span, child development, developmentally delayed, milestones
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