IT'S NO secret that kids can be easily distracted, whether it's by their toys, their friends or their iPad.
But if you're worried that your child is more easily distracted than their peers, fear not – it's probably totally normal.
Paediatric Neurologist and founder of Nuropedia, Dr Arif Khan told Fabulous that it's not unusual for toddlers to have a short attention span, in fact it's their hallmark.
He explained: "Children often switch activities every few minutes, and that's completely normal.
"However, it can signal trouble if you find your child is less attentive than others."
Dr Arif explained that identifying the root cause of the problem can help solve it, but it's almost never something to be worried about.
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It's no secret that most kids love technology, and their love of tech could be the the simple reason it seems like they're not listening or paying attention.
Taking away devices when you really need your kids to pay attention can help more than a lot of parents might realise.
Of course, if you're concerned about your child's attention span it's best to consult your GP.
According to the NHS: "Some children may have trouble sustaining their attention to a given task.
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"This may be due to underlying anxiety, frustration and/or sensory sensitivities.
"It’s helpful to monitor their behaviour to help you to identify potential causes and solutions."
But it's not just a short attention span that you shouldn't necessarily worry about, Dr Arif says there are some other issues, that probably aren't issues at all.
Lack of eye contact
"Eye contact shows that you are active and participating in tasks, not only in adults but also in children," Dr Arif told Fabulous.
He added: "Whenever your child stops making eye contact, it highlights that they have a poor attention span."
Not only that, but not being able to answer questions correctly can also be a signifier that your kids aren't paying much attention – but this could be for many reasons.
Consider if they're distracted by anything around them if it seems like they're not listening to what you're saying.
Constantly making mistakes
"Many children make small mistakes and they are considered normal," Dr Arif revealed.
It's not just kids who make mistakes, most adults will make little mistakes everyday as well.
"However, if the mistakes are frequent enough to disturb a child’s daily activities, it means that their focus is distracted," according to Dr Arif.
This includes fidgeting and "constantly moving limbs", but this isn't always bad news.
"If your child is not able to sit still, it shows that they're lacking interest in performing the task," which is often very normal.
Unable to meet deadlines
"Meeting deadlines improves the focus and creates a sense of responsibility in children.
However, not meeting deadlines often could be because of a number of things, like general forgetfulness.
"Does your child ask the same questions over and over again? Dr Arif said.
"It means that they've lost their attention and are constantly forgetting what to do."
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The doctor explained that if your kids' attention span is short it's good to get to the bottom of the reason why so you can take "appropriate" action.
He continued: "If it is due to ADHD, learning disability, depression, or any other severe disorder, you need to consult your paediatric neurologist, child psychologist or child psychiatrist to get it evaluated."
What is ADHD?
If you’re concerned about your child’s attention span or think they may have ADHD consult your GP.
The NHS says: "The symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be categorised into 2 types of behavioural problems:
- inattentiveness (difficulty concentrating and focusing)
- hyperactivity and impulsiveness
"Many people with ADHD have problems that fall into both these categories, but this is not always the case."
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