How can I get my four year old to pay attention?

Julia - posted on 12/10/2012 ( 1 mom has responded )

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I'm trying to get my 4 year old ready for Kindergarten next year but she will not sit down and pay attention. Even when I know she knows the answer she will say something silly. How do I get her to sit down and actually try?

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Rebekah - posted on 12/10/2012

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Just try to engage her in different hands-on activities and be prepared to switch activities fairly often. Four year olds generally don't have a long attention span, particularly when you are trying to get them to do something you want them to do (rather than what they want to do). What is it you are trying to have her pay attention to? She may be giving silly answers because its more of a game to her. Offer her praise when she does answer correctly and don't sweat the rest too much. She is only 4.



Is there a preschool program she can attend to help give her school and classroom experience? Is there a story time at the library, or mommy and me class or something else she can attend to help get in some kind of routine? Those things do help, but also recognize that time/ maturity will help bring her along for when it is time for her to sit in a circle or at a table and do what she is supposed to do. The other dynamic that may happen (which you can't simulate at home) is that when she is in school, she may be more cooperative because she will probably want to do what the other kids are doing and have this new teacher that she will want to please. What I have heard is that in kindergarten, teachers get a range of kids who've had various degrees of preschool experience and those who have none. Those who have experience may have an initial edge, but as the year goes, generally all the kids get "caught up" and get accustomed to the expectations of school behavior. So its great to work with her and encourage her, but I suspect a lot is developmental and she will likely come along as she is ready for it.



Definitely keep reading to her as much as possible. Have her join in with you in daily household tasks. Have a variety of art supplies for her to explore. Find some educational games she can do. All of those are learning experiences. If you look at kindergarten classrooms (depending on where you are) a lot of time in the day is still very playful and hands-on. That's how young kids learn best.

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