Persistence and Attention Span :

A Characteristic of Temperament

Little focus, disinterested

Very focused, persistent

What does this mean? 

Attention span is how long a child can focus on one activity.

Persistence is how children respond when an activity is difficult or frustrating.

Persistence and attention span together describe a child’s ability to stick with one task, even when it is difficult.

What does this look like?

Some children become immersed in activities and can play for long periods of time with toys.

Other children have little focus and bounce from one toy or activity to the next not really becoming engaged in playing with anything.

Some children keep trying or persisting when they are not successful at something.

Other children give up right away when something is difficult, become disinterested, and move on to a different activity. 

How can I help?

Children all along the scale of attention span and persistence benefit by their caregivers’ playing along with them, which helps to structure their play and add a little more fun!

For those with less ability to focus, splitting big tasks into 2-3 smaller tasks and building in time for breaks can help.

For those with less persistence, self regulation skills and praise for sticking with tasks and trying again can help.