Why Attend to a Child’s Inattention?

Why Attend to a Child’s Inattention?

Why Attend to a Child’s Inattention?

people, childhood and emotions concept - sad little girl over green background

Inattention has been defined as the ‘lack of attention’ or the ‘failure to carefully think about, listen to, or watch someone or something’ {Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary}.  In other words, it refers to the inability of an individual to attend to an item or object, person, sound etc. for a required duration of time.

It is natural for everyone to deal with ‘inattention’ at some point in time. However, inattention becomes of concern, when it affects daily routine, work, academics or play in a larger way. For instance, losing attention during a movie or long conversation at the end of a long day is natural (due to fatigue). However, to constantly lose attention during a conversation during any time of day – can be of concern.

Attention span in children is a developmental skill. It is natural for younger children to lose interest and attention rather rapidly when compared to adults with typical attention. 

It is important to be able to catch red flags for lack of attention early on in younger children. A significant dip in attention can be a cause for concern and may lead to poorer development and academic skills (when compared to peers).

Few red flags for inattention in children are:
  1. The child is easily and /or frequently distracted from one activity or person to another.
  2. S/he does seem not to listen when spoken to directly. 
  3. The child needs repetitions of several instructions directed to him /her.
  4. S/he needs parts of longer instructions, to be repeated several times, till completion of the task.
  5. At times, the child may appear as though s/he is forgetful.
  6. At times, since a longer command is not listened to completely; they will guess the part they missed listening to. Therefore s/he will often make mistakes in following commands / instructions.
  7. S/he will not pay attention to detail.
  8. The child will have difficulty in maintaining attention for guided activities or games.
  9. S/he will avoid and dislike activities that require longer periods of concentration.
  10. The child will often lose items (in school, for instance).

* If any of the red flags are seen often or persistently, it is essential to seek an assessment.

The causes of inattention can be many and varied. It can be an outcome of tiredness or fatigue. Or, due to physical (medical) conditions, a symptom of a disorder (such as ADHD or Autism). Broadly, the line of treatment for a child with inattention must include (a) a consultation with a medical professional (to rule out or take care of any underlying medical condition or disorder), and (b) a consultation with a therapist (such as a special educator, speech language pathologist), who can provide relevant activities to improve the child’s attention span.

Seeking the correct path is crucial. One must pay attention to the subtle signs of inattention in young children, to ensure they can learn better and perform well – developmentally or academically!

Tanushree Chandhok
Latest posts by Tanushree Chandhok (see all)
Share this

Leave a Comment


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *