Increase kids' attention span and Focus with Yoga

Anyone that has been around kids for any length of time can realize how often they change their focus from one item to another. While during play this is fine, a short attention span can cause major learning difficulties when they start school.

Attention span varies greatly from person to person, and even in the same person it can vary from activity to activity. For children, attention span can vary greatly with age, gender, and the type of activity that they are doing. Older children generally have a longer attention span the younger children, girls generally have a longer attention span than boys, and children who are enjoying what they are doing will have a longer attention span than those who are disinterested.

An average attention span can vary, and different studies have yielded different results. For instance, some studies suggest that a child can focus on something for as many minutes as is double to their age. For example, a 5 year old can focus on something for 10 minutes, while an 8 year old could focus on something for 16 minutes, and a 3 year old for only 6. In a school setting, an average of 3 minutes per grade level is often seen, with a maximum of 21 minutes. This has a first grader being able to focus on something for about 3 minutes and a fifth grader for about 15. The average adult attention span is about 20 minutes.

As children attend school and get involved in more difficult activities, most will have their attention span lengthened naturally as part of the process. This is why a fifth grader can study more in depth material for longer periods of time than a first grader. For children who are unable to increase their attention span at a normal rate, this may develop into learning disabilities and other problems, such as ADD and ADHD.

There are many reasons why children may suffer from a shortened attention span. Some studies suggest that today's TV programs, which are designed to be short and easy to follow, prevent kids from developing their attention spans properly. On a less dramatic scale, a short attention span can be blamed on boredom, fatigue, hunger, or excess energy.

Yoga can help expand your child's attention span. Some studies have shown that the meditation that is performed during yoga thickened the parts of the brain responsible for decision making, attention, and memory. The practice of meditation involves focusing on an image or a sound, or even your own breathing, which effectively "exercises" the focusing part of your brain.

Another reason why yoga can help kids learn to concentrate is that it is fun. Kids have a longer attention span for activities that they enjoy. Many yoga exercises cater to a child's need for imagination and movement. As well, the stress relieving effects of yoga can help relax kids, allowing them to sleep better, preventing fatigue. And the concentration that it takes to learn new yoga poses can help kids learn to focus.