Have you found some days are great, and some days just aren’t? Kids have those days, just like we adults do. What do you do when you have so many great things to share and you fail in keeping kids attention?
Ever have a teaching day like that? Yes, yes, yes…. and we all say yes!
Keeping Kids Attention
Whether you are a parent, a classroom teacher, or a home-schooling parent here are some thoughts that might help in keeping kids attention, especially as the holidays draw near.
When kids have shifted their focus from you unto something else, they can be really intent on their new interest. Sometimes it can be quite a challenge to bring them back from wherever it is that their mind has gone. You have to interrupt their new found passion with an even stronger diversion. Calling their name doesn’t even always help, because they hear their name so often.
Here are some things you might do to keep kids attention or to get their attention back:
- Change the environment: Do something in the room that will make them wonder what is happening. You can turn the lights off and then back on for a moment. They are sure to look up and see what is going on. You can open or close the door.
- Make a different sound: You can make a loud noise or use something like a kazoo. You can change your voice to really squeaky or really low. Make your voice change to the character you are talking about. You may have to change these up a little when they are no longer a surprise.
- Use your body language: move to stand near the child. He will re-focus on you because he will wonder what you are doing. Suddenly use really big motions. Physically act out what you are saying.
- Involve kids physically: Have the the whole group act out the points of the lesson. Even if they are not role playing, they can act out a motion of the point you are teaching them.
- Get their eye contact. Move your face or a hand in their line of vision of what has a student’s attention and then ask him to look into your eyes when you ask him a question about the lesson. Be sure his eyes stay on you. If he looks away, ask him to look at you again. And then give hints so he can answer your question, or he may shut you out again, if he feels it is too hard.
- Stop talking and give a sign: Sometimes quiet can be very surprising. Before the class, tell them a movement you will do that they all have to copy when the classroom noise escalates. For instance, when things begin to feel a little out of control, stop talking and hold two fingers up and wait until all of the kids to copy you and hold two fingers up before you begin again. When the kids learn what two fingers up means, it can be quite effective.
So there are 6 ideas of things to try in keeping kids attention. This is by no means an exhaustive list. If you want to do further research on this, check out this page. I am sure in your experience, you have found great ideas of things that work. Will you share with us what you have found to work below, in the comments section?
Do you know someone else who could use new ideas for keeping kids attention in the classroom or at home? Forward this to them. They will thank you!