Home Kindergarten How to increase concentration span in kindergarten age (with exercises)

How to increase concentration span in kindergarten age (with exercises)

by ines.wurbs@icloud.com

By concentration, we mean the execution of an action that we intend to do, and only that and nothing else. Especially in kindergarten age, sustained attention gets better and better. As a result, our children can plan and carry out actions better and better. It is precisely here that we can encourage our children through various guided games or external attention support.

What is attention and concentration?

As already mentioned, concentration or attention is the ability to carry out a certain action with care and perseverance and to ignore unimportant things.

Children of kindergarten age can concentrate well for an average of 10-15 minutes. 

How long should a child’s attention span be?

Please note that this value is only a guideline. These guideline values ​​can be found on the Internet and in the literature, often cited. They are based on the guide values ​​according to Klimt (1982) and are not backed up by studies. The table below lists these guidelines by age.

AgeMaximal concentration in minutes
2 – 3 years6
4 – 5 years 12
5 – 7 years15
7 – 10 years20
10-12 years25
12 – 16 years30
Attention span chart

Source: Psychology for Teacher Education (Wisniewski, 2019) and Brain Balance

Based on this table, there are additional “recommendations” that give concentration ages of 2 – 5 minutes per year.

“Age” x “minutes per year” = maximum concentration time

What are the attention skills?

To be able to direct your attention to something in a targeted manner, however, certain basic prerequisites for concentration are required. We have to be able to switch off other environmental stimuli as much as possible. This includes all possible sources of distraction, such as:

  • Visual distraction from a TV, tablet, cell phone, other toys, or siblings playing
  • Acoustic distraction from music, conversations, or other noise in the room or outside
  • Inner distraction through anger, annoyance, pressure, frustration, or the like

The concentration consists of several skills. Among other things are action control, impulse control, but also the ability to plan. We can encourage the last two particularly well at this age.

Chart of attention skills

How to improve attention span of your child

Practice impulse control

Impulse control is essential for us to suppress other impulses and to be able to pursue an action undisturbed. 

To strengthen impulse control, you can do the following exercises with your child:

  • Rhythm tapping: you tap twice on the table and your child once after that or similar sequences
  • Name opposites: you say “big” and your child says “small”
  • Pin/draw an order: You pin or draw two yellow squares and a red circle, and your child will pin or paint this order. You are also welcome to design the template with your child.
  • External support: Agree on a symbol for “listen” and/or “look”. Choose a picture and make a card together with your child. Hold this up if your child strays a little and should listen or watch again.
  • Common as-if games: Our children of this age usually demand it anyway. They also learn to follow rules and think about how they might play the character they want and plan their reactions.

Practice planning skills

Even now, our children are learning to think ahead of time about an action or a sequence of steps necessary to achieve their desired goal. This area is very important for concentration, but also for many other areas, such as motivation, stamina, etc.

You can practice planning skills with your child with the following exercises:

  • Hidden objects: Have your child choose an object and then hide it in the room or in a selected area if the room is huge or the child is very young.
  • Hidden object in books: look at hidden object books with your child and give them tasks. “Where’s that cat from the last page?”, or something similar.
  • Jigsaw Puzzles: Let your child do simple jigsaw puzzles.
  • Lay iron-on transfers or mosaics: Let your children expose certain shapes and colors, either based on a template or later entirely.
  • Building blocks: Building blocks of any kind can be used to create great planning projects in the game. “Let’s build a stable,” or “Let’s build a little castle.”
  • Threading: Let your child thread chains out of beads or noodles. This is especially doable for younger children and still requires concentration and planning.
  • Simple troubleshooting pictures: Especially for kindergarten children, these should be quite simple and not contain too many errors.
  • Telling: Let your child tell you a short story or events from everyday life.

How can you help your child to increase its concentration?

What are the basics for good concentration, and how can we prepare our environment for concentrated work?

Calm environment

To concentrate, it is important to be able to draw attention to a task. The fewer disruptive factors there are, the easier it is to succeed. Our children in particular sometimes needed more rest and support than adults. For example, music, talk, chatter, or other noises, but also anything that attracts our eyes, such as televisions.

Healthy eating

Healthy nutrition stimulates our circulation and metabolism. Our body is fitter and more efficient, which of course also applies to our brain. Too much sugar, on the other hand, only puts a strain on our bodies and makes it harder for us and our children to focus on something specific.


Exercise in the fresh air and the so-called “oxygen refueling” in particular help our children to concentrate. The blood is enriched with oxygen and thus optimally supplies the body and brain. So, it increases performance.

Sufficient sleep

Our children need enough sleep to be able to concentrate. I have a table here on your child’s sleep times if you want to do some further research.

Enough time

Try to give your child enough time for each task. Children generally need more time than adults do, plan for that. Make sure your child only has to concentrate on one task and can finish it before they start something new.

Age-appropriate tasks

Make sure the task is challenging for your child but not overwhelming. Tasks that are too difficult often only lead to frustration.

Balanced and ready for attention

The aim should be for your child to be as relaxed as possible. This makes it easier to draw attention to the task and not to be distracted by feelings. Many concentration training also tries to relax at the beginning. When our children are burdened with something, it is very difficult for them to focus their thoughts on the task.


Let your child perform the action as independently as possible. That gives him self-confidence and arouses ambition. The more control our children have over their actions, the harder they usually work to ensure that it is a success. Of course, this also increases concentration.

Interest and will

Of course, it is perfect if your child is also interested in the topic or the goal. Then it is self-motivated to solve the task, and it is easy for it to put its energy into it. Even at this age, children can become very engrossed in a task. However, this only happens if the interest is high enough.

But you can also show your child why the knowledge they are supposed to learn is important. Try to put what they have learned into practice. The more important and useful it is for your child to complete a task, the harder they will try. Also, it’s more fun to get to know the flowers in nature than to go through them in pictures. Having fun motivates our children a lot and almost automatically draws their attention to the task.

What can decrease your child’s concentration?

Just to be certain, the opposite of what helps us hurt our kids’ focus.

  • Distraction by other or others
  • Unhealthy diet combined with a lack of exercise
  • A lack of sleep
  • Too many tasks at the same time
  • Tasks too difficult
  • Frustration and other negative feelings like anger, resentment, fear
  • Applying pressure
  • No interest or lack of knowledge or practice in the skills needed to complete the task

Conclusion about concentration

Of course, the ability to concentrate is also inherent to a certain extent. But we can train them very well with our children and let them flow into all areas of life playfully. So, it’s fun and becomes commonplace.

Of course, there are also severe concentration disorders. If in doubt, please seek advice and help.

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