Kids at 5 tend to be more playful and active. I want to find out if there are proven ways to inculcate the habit of concentration from such a young age, which will help the kid not only at school but at any other activity he performs.

Appreciate your suggestions/advice!

  • 5
    We found waiting 3-4 years worked really well :)
    – Nat
    Jun 19, 2014 at 2:52
  • So, are you implying that it gets fixed automatically when we wait for 3-4 years? or did you try anything for 3-4 years to make it work? Jun 19, 2014 at 4:18
  • Mostly I remember how incredibly dizzy my kids were at 5. Your question made me laugh out loud remembering. So yeah, they grow out of it and can focus on stuff hey love.
    – Nat
    Jun 19, 2014 at 21:54
  • Also, a relevant point at the 10min mark
    – Nat
    Jun 19, 2014 at 22:02
  • tvnz.co.nz/breakfast-news/…
    – Nat
    Jun 19, 2014 at 22:02

4 Answers 4


Keeping your children physically active will greatly help their ability to sit still and concentrate. This has been shown scientifically in study after study.

Regular exercise releases brain chemicals key for memory, concentration, and mental sharpness [...] exercise also stimulates brain regions that are involved in memory function to release a chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF rewires memory circuits so they work better.

(from May 2013 Harvard Men's Health Watch)

In a 2007 report, Dr. Stewart Trost of Oregon State University links as little as 15 minutes of physical activity to improved concentration, memory and classroom behavior among elementary school students. Contrary to what may be expected, the improved concentration and academic performance were more pronounced among children who exercised than in those who had an additional lesson. As such, eliminating breaks for physical activity to fit in additional lessons may be counterproductive when teaching children.

(from livestrong.com)

  • This is really a comment, not an answer. Jun 19, 2014 at 18:00
  • 1
    I believe this is the start of an answer. My son's class (just turned 6) will start school with a run around the school before settling in for any work that requires concentration. In the teacher's experience (and ours) the exercise settles the kids down a lot.
    – dave
    Jun 20, 2014 at 1:01
  • I've added some citations. hope that clarifies Jun 20, 2014 at 4:30

From everything I've read, getting them involved in reading goes a long way toward building concentration skills. We have read to our daughter since she was able to keep her eyes on the books. She reads to us now. Sometimes from memory, other because she has learned the words. This has also led to her being able to keep herself occupied for longer periods of time.


This advice below found online is relevant. Bear in mind also children can usually only focus on a single activity for their age + 2 mins, so don't expect more than about 7 minutes on any one thing. Not to say they can't go longer if they are really engaged :)

"Children's cognitive, linguistic, and motor-skill levels also affect their willingness and ability to concentrate. If an activity is too challenging in any one of these areas, children either may choose not to participate or may stay with the activity only for a short time. For example, children who choose blocks over art tend to feel more confident in and comfortable with large-motor skills than small-motor skills. Our role as teachers is to support children in developing concentration for activities of their choosing (by providing ample time for them to choose each day). At the same time, we need to gently encourage children to experiment and stay with activities that challenge skills they're not as comfortable with (by providing entry-level activities that are both inviting and potentially successful).

As you know, children's moods also have an effect on their ability to focus. If a child comes to school upset, tired, or overly excited, he may be too distracted to concentrate on an activity, particularly a new or challenging one. By understanding that his lack of concentration is related to a mood, you can help him deal with the cause (the mood), not the symptom (the lack of focus). Once the cause has been sensitively addressed, the symptom just may improve."

Source: http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/stages-milestones/how-kids-learn-to-concentrate


Limit or eliminate television. We banned television on school nights for the entire family when the oldest hit kindergarten, not because TV is bad, but because it takes up too much time. It was far and away the best decision we ever made. It opened up hours for every member of the family to do things together and apart. Books, music lessons, sports, catching bugs in the yard, etc., all were possible. My youngest even took up knitting at seven. Because my kids weren't entertained, they became interested. When we watched television on weekends and vacations, we were selective, and we watched together. We've seen every David Attenborough video (Netflix!) together.

Both my kids are musicians, and both read daily. The oldest is studying wildlife biology at the University of Montana, the youngest plays two sports in high school, plays on the school jazz band as well as our local youth symphony.

One good decision, faithfully executed.

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