Focus and Attention

Focus and attention vary greatly and are dependent on context—especially in early childhood

child concentrating while playing

What You Need to Know

Preschoolers are increasingly able to sustain their focus and attention on a given task, but they still forget expectations in the moment or lose interest quickly. Sometimes they bounce from one activity to the next or struggle to persist through difficult tasks. To help their capacity to focus and sustain their attention, allow them a choice in what they want to do, follow their lead, modify activities to increase their engagement, and encourage them to look or think a little deeper.

What It Looks Like

A quick glance at how you can help children develop their focus and attention through engaging activities

Support Planning

Children will show increased focus and attention when activities allow for flexibility and individualization and are connected to their interests, lives, and experiences.

Encourage Thinking

Gently push children to get involved, think a little deeper, or focus a little longer on a given task. Ask questions or make comments in order to keep them focused and engaged.

Monitor and Support Engagement

During activities, monitor children’s engagement. Provide extra support, such as moving closer to them, to keep them on task.