Inattentive child: reasons and how to help

Inattentive child: reasons and how to help - Skills Development, Behavior, Problems

Another complaint from a teacher about your child's inattention is unsettling. Everything seems to be fine, but why does he sit out until the end of lessons with such difficulty, remembers information poorly and hardly delves into the essence of homework? We need to do something about it! 

We will tell you exactly what, and give advice to parents on how to help their child become more attentive. What is Attention

If a person perceived all the information coming from the outside world with the same intensity, then his brain would resemble a beehive, and actions would be chaotic.

Wise nature has given us the most valuable quality — attention. This is the ability to selectively concentrate on the things that are important at the moment. 

There are two kinds of attention:Arbitrary is what we focus on voluntarily: reading a book, watching TV or looking at the landscape outside the window.

  1. Involuntary — loud sound, bright object in the field of view, moving objects, etc.

The predominance of the first type of attention over the second defines the concept of concentration. We willpower to suppress the reaction to external stimuli and focus on what we need at the moment. But if there are not enough strong-willed qualities and motivation, then any phenomenon in the surrounding environment will easily attract our attention. 

It is also worth knowing about the properties of attention:concentration is in—depth attention when nothing else exists at this moment; strong concentration is when, having worked hard, we do not hear the whistle of a boiling kettle or the phone ringing.

  • volume — the ability to pay attention to one or more things at the same time;
  • stability — holding attention for a long time;
  • distribution — rational attention management (very important in the learning process);
  • switching is a timely transfer of concentration from one object to another. 

When we say that a child is inattentive, we mean his inability to do something enthusiastically for a long time. But in fact, it is a disorder of one or more properties of attention. Or maybe there is an imbalance between voluntary and involuntary attention due to the immaturity of volitional qualities. 

Do you want to learn how to raise a child so that he develops correctly mentally and intellectually?  Then register - for Dmitry Karpachev's free online master class "What every parent should know". How to "diagnose"

not an attentive child

Probably, you will be interested in what exactly is wrong with your child.

To make a so-called diagnosis, observe him. If he is often distracted while doing homework, try to find out the reason:

  • If he gets tired, it means that he has problems with the stability of attention; in this case, short pauses are needed. 
  • Squints with one eye at the TV — arbitrary attention takes over. The child becomes restless and inattentive under the influence of distractions. Turn off the TV, achieve silence in the apartment, ask the family not to enter the nursery. 
  • Superficially delves into the essence of the task — lack of concentration. The child simply cannot delve into the subject of the subject or does not want to. It happens that certain disciplines are completely uninteresting to children. It is necessary to stimulate concentration by additional motivation: "If you learn a paragraph, let's go for a walk." 
  • After biology, it is difficult to switch to history — perhaps the previous topic has so fascinated the child that he simply does not want to think about the exploits of Prince Igor when he has just read a fascinating description of the process of cell division. Then a pause will help again. After a break, it will be easier for the child to switch his attention to other topics. 
  • He cannot keep several aspects of the task in sight — this is a decrease in the amount of attention. An adult can easily hold 4-6 objects in attention, and primary school children — only 2-3. The amount of attention is influenced by two factors — interest and the level of familiarity with the material (refinement of actions). If the task has 3 aspects (solve correctly, come up with something from yourself and write correctly), then at least one of them should be brought to automatism. 
  • Writes an essay or writes down a problem condition with errors — the ability to distribute attention has not yet been formed. It is difficult for an inattentive child to do two things at once (look for a solution or build sentences according to meaning + monitor literacy). To compensate for this lack of attention, you can divide tasks in time: first do one thing, then another. In the case of a task or an essay, use a draft (concentration on the correctness of execution), and then rewrite it into a clean copy (concentration on design, literacy).

Also read: How to raise a genius: 10 tips for parentsWhy do children become inattentive

Parents often confuse the concepts of inattention and laziness.

But laziness is, first of all, boredom. And inattention is a more complicated problem.

It occurs due to the following factors: Lack of motivation.

  • Progressive pedagogical methods (for example, "Montessori") promote the idea of teaching children through play. This component increases interest in the learning process, helps to learn the material faster and easier. For children 5-7 years old, interest in any kind of activity determines the final result. Therefore, if you want to focus the child's attention on some activity, increase his motivation by activating interest. There are other ways — praise, encouragement in the form of sweets, small gifts, entertainment.
  • Soreness. Somatic diseases directly affect the psyche: after the illness, the child is exhausted, gets tired quickly, absolutely all cognitive functions of the brain are reduced: memory, attention, thinking. It is difficult to demand over-concentration from a child who is often ill: he will be inattentive at school, he will move out of school, and there will be no strength left for mugs at all. It is better to loosen the load for a while and give the opportunity to fully recover. 
  • The specifics of the nervous system. There is an inert type of nervous system in which a person quickly loses interest in any kind of activity, it is difficult to captivate him, to keep his attention for a long time. It is possible to increase intellectual lability by systematizing tasks, a clear schedule and changing the format of classes towards a more comfortable one.
  • Overload. Mental (emotional) and physical exertion can lead to attention disorders. An overloaded child will not be able to cope equally well with different tasks and, in principle, exist for a long time in time-consuming mode. Reduce the workload in school subjects, if possible. Cancel some of the circles. Protect your child from emotional swings. It is also important to monitor normal nutrition and sleep.

Learn how to choose the right method of education for your child - at Dmitry Karpachev's transplant-free online master class "What every parent should know".Right now, click on the "Register" button and get a gift.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder


It happens that banal inattention and restlessness are not character traits or a temporary condition, but signs of a nervous system disorder called ADHD.

According to various data, the syndrome is diagnosed in 5-10% of preschool and primary school age children. 

Symptoms of ADHD:Pathological inattention.

  • Any action requires extra effort in terms of concentration. There is a desire to postpone plans indefinitely. A child can start several things and not finish any of them. 
  • Hyperactivity. It is difficult for such children to sit still even for 5 minutes — they want to run, jump, fuss. At school, a child with ADHD is not just inattentive, he shows impatience in every way: fidgets at his desk, taps his fingers on the table top, jerks his leg. He can get up and walk around the classroom, which pisses off the teacher and interferes with other children.
  • Impulsiveness of actions. The child does something first, and then thinks. Says the first thing that comes to mind. Does not think about the rules of behavior. Sometimes it can be life-threatening (for example, when crossing a road).
  • Disorganization. Lost or forgotten things are common phenomena in the life of a child with ADHD. He is often late, forgets about agreements or joint plans. It is difficult to attract him to collective activity. 
  • Talkativeness. It is difficult for a child to be silent and listen to someone. A hundred thoughts rush through his head every second, and he really wants to tell the world about what he is thinking. It seems that he hears, but does not perceive the information, so in order to achieve some kind of response, you need to repeat the request many times.

ADHD therapy is a complex of behavioral and drug correction. If you do not get treatment in time, then the syndrome is 80% likely to remain with the child for life. 

How to teach a child to be attentiveChildren's inattention can sometimes infuriate.

Adults do not know, well, how can you be such an egoist, make elementary mistakes, constantly be distracted… But do not rush to scold the child. After all, your task is not to shame the baby, but to help him increase his concentration.

Try different methods: ✓ Mindfulness games: match the images on the cards, find orange objects in the room, etc.

✓ Training of text perception by ear: you read, and the child retells. Complicate the task by asking him to name 5 words with the letter "h" that he heard from you.

✓ A combination of physical exercises and intellectual tasks: games "Edible-inedible", "Repetitions" (the parent does any action, and the child does the opposite, for example, raised his hands — lowered his hands).

✓ Mathematical exercises in the mind: counting up to 1000 and more, and then in reverse order, solving examples, arithmetic operations with large numbers.

✓ Change the usual environmental conditions. Warn your child about training. While he is at school, rearrange any of the pieces of furniture in his room. Or go home by an unusual route. Do something you don't normally do, but don't focus his attention on it. And then discuss if he noticed anything unusual.

✓ Offer to enroll in a sports section. The most effective classes for the development of mindfulness are yoga, dancing, archery (darts), tennis and golf.


French writer J. Joubert wrote: "Attention is the breath of reason." And it really is. Only a sufficiently concentrated, enthusiastic and attentive person is able to achieve success, and in any sphere of life that he chooses. Therefore, develop the attention of your children, train them and motivate them to show perseverance. Good luck!

November 18, 2020 2022-11-27 2020-11-18 Rate the article on a 5-point scale Did you like the article? Share it on social networks

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