Monday, 11 September 2017

Six Simple Ways To Encourage Your Toddler To Concentrate

In my previous post I shared the importance of concentration and, as promised, am sharing a few of the ways we prepare our home and encourage concentration in our children.

A while ago, I read a post I really loved by the Kavanaugh Report about protecting concentration from infanthood and it is always a good reminder to start valuing concentration from birth. I wrote a little bit about when I first started focussing on concentration with my infant if you are interested in reading about the start of our journey.

1. Reading

One of the simplest ways we encourage concentration is through reading with our children.

We begin reading all kinds of books with our children from a very young age, and try to make time for it everyday. A few options are:

  • Story books
  • Search and Find books
  • Factual books
  • Board books
  • Poetry
  • Chapter books

There are many different book nooks and baskets set up around our house, and we always have books for the boys to read in the car. I have tried to create a home that encourages a love of reading. As a result, it is not uncommon to come across one, or both, of the boys looking at books.

Some of our absolute favorite books, which I feel I have to share as they have been hugely beneficial in concentration building, have been the I Spy and Walter Wick books

2. Rotating Materials

We have three shelves in our house which I rotate based on what the boys are interested in or need at the time.

These shelves provide materials with many opportunities for concentration, with works like puzzles, matching, and threading.

Some of the favourites I have out currently for Jerome are Perfection, his knobbed cylinders, Hi Hi! Cherry Oh, and these simple bird spelling puzzles he absolutely adores. 

Benedict is drawn to building his stacking tower every day, as well as his coin drop box, but is in a phase of development when the simplest of items will draw his attention, and he will explore the sock drawer, his bin of shoes, or a kitchen item for much longer than any designated material.

3. Imaginary Play

The material which most draws both boys in is our basket of cars. Jerome, especially, immerses himself in imaginary play with some assortment of toy vehicles every day.

They also have wooden train tracks, animals, bristle blocks and wooden blocks which they incorporate in their imaginary play.

I believe one of the most important ways to value concentration is to refrain from calling your child away from play or something they are working on. 

This can sometimes mean walking across the house to peek on Jerome before calling him and has often resulted in me quietly sneaking out of a room before he notices me.

If I come across him playing, reading, or working on something independently, it is important for me to allow him to continue, uninterrupted. I know this may not always be easy as he grows and my demands on him may change, but for now, this is working well for us and I see the immense benefit.

I extend this same respect to Benedict, and I find it fascinating to watch how long they will concentrate while I quietly observe.

4. Problem-solving and Practical Life

I have also found it beneficial not to interrupt my children when they are in the midst of problem-solving, choosing to step back and observe before intervening.

These moments of problem-solving, often in the midst of a practical skill they are attempting to master, are so rich.

Witnessing the amount of concentration required for Jerome to walk across the kitchen with a pancake on a flipper, or seeing Benedict attempting to put a pair of pants on, are just two small ways I can step and allow my children to develop not only concentration but self-confidence as well.

5. Creative Activities

I try to offer some type of art or creative activity every day. This may include:

  • Playdough
  • Painting
  • Colouring with crayons, markers, or pens
  • Stickers
  • Cutting strips of paper
  • Bingo dabbers

His concentration on these activities really depends on his mood that day, but it is always a good opportunity for him to complete a task with many steps, and complete a work cycle.

6. Work Cycles

Allowing children to complete entire work cycles is an important way to help them develop concentration.

The work cycle is composed of three parts:
  • choosing a work
  • completing this work
  • returning this work to its proper place before moving on to another work

A work cycle for painting, for example, means he chooses to paint. (part one)
He must then retrieve his tray and smock, fill a cup with water, get a piece of paper and brush, and at this time, have me help with getting paint ready.
Then he actually paints. (part two)
Afterward, he cleans the brushes, dumps the water, and returns everything to its proper place. (part three)

These are just a few of the ways I try to encourage opportunities for concentration in our home.

If you have any tried and true activities which encourage deep concentration, especially in small boys, I would love to hear about them.

Thank you for reading! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. I would also love to hear any suggestions for posts you would like me to write about. And if you are interested in following along in our daily adventures, follow us on Instagram where I post daily.

God bless,
Olivia Fischer


  1. This was such a helpful and interesting post!

  2. Oh and for posts I'd love to read about montessori - well for me it'd be about the basics. I would love to hear what exactly montessori is, what good first steps are if you are interested in montessori, and what the different terms mean.