19 answers

5 Year Old with No Attention Span

My 5 year old son is in Kindergarten. He is a great kid and gets along well with others. The problem that we are having seems to be his attention span. He's a young 5 in the class (most kids start at 6 now it seems). He sits in the front so the teacher can help keep him on task but he turns around when someone is talking and is slow to turn around or gets distracted easily. I don't believe it's ADD or ADHD it's more like either he's insterested or not. I'm not sure what to do to help this. Is it something that will happen as he gets older (maturity?)? Or should I be very concerned? I feel like it's just his age.
Kindergarten has been a world of surprises. It's been so academically steared instead of teaching the kids to adjust to the world of school, that it's been a whirlwind.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I don't know if you're familiar with the Love and Logic parenting books, but there is one geared toward developing attention skills that might be helpful to you. It sounds like at this time it may just be an age thing. Perhaps you should consider taking him out of school and starting again next year? It seems extreme, but may be best in the long run-- he'll always then have the advantage of being the oldest instead of always trying to catch up because he's so young.

More Answers

That's a fantastic question, J. --- I'm so grateful for your wonderful little guy that you see his issues as a part of the normal pattern- ' CAUSE IT IS ---- we DO ( as a school culture) expect ridiculous levels of ''sit and listen and attend'' from young boys - that's WHY you see so many kids starting K at 6 --- it's a great idea for boys- .
Continue to hold fast to you knowledge that you have a perfect - healthy - normal little boy. When he's 9 or so - you MAY see issues to look at - or you may not. Encourage his teacher to allow him to experiment -- can he attend better if he stands up? - has a bouncy ball to sit on ( there are special ones for that - as it allows kids to wiggle and still attend) Ask HIM what might help-you never know - he may know - or he may not.

You'll work it out - just hold on to --- the problem is our odd requirement ( that little boys sit still) not that theres' a problem with him. I promise that at least one teacher will try to '''sell'''' you that story before your son is 16 --- just consider them a door to door salesman and in your head say ''' no thanks, I don't need a fur lined toilet seat''' --.

J. ( retired teacher)

4 moms found this helpful

Okay, I am a former K-1 teacher, known for my radical ideas.

I don't believe that Kindergarten should be about teaching them to read and write--especially boys. Boys are not ready to sit quietly in Kindergarten and even !st grade. They need motion, and then they can sis for a while.

Your son is normal. Don't let them tell you different. If he is still this way at the middle of first grade you need to talk to his teacher about it. W.

3 moms found this helpful

I have a 6 year old with some special needs that my husband and I insisted he repeat Kindergarden. He struggled last year, all year.By the end of last year his behavior took a turn for the worse.He started to get aggressive.We sat down with the IEP team(Individual education plan) and may a choice to retain him. Half of the team were in agreement with us.This year he is doing great.The school dropped his IEP because he is doing so well.He is focused and able to do his work. He is the oldest in his class now with an August birthday but before was the youngest.It is amazing what a year makes.Hang in there.The new kindergarden is intense.I couldn't believe what they expect these kids to do.
Take care,
P. C.
(mother of two active boys 6 and 8)

1 mom found this helpful

There's lots of wonderful ideas, but here's a couple that haven't been mentioned. 1) Cut out TV (it shortens real attention spans because the kids are being entertained and no teacher can be that enticing) 2) Do more reading aloud at home, as has been suggested. It teaches them to sit still and focus on listening. I'd read at least 1/2 hr each day the books he loves. 3) Don't make him go to kindergarten. Teach him concepts at home while he's jumping around (or in short 15-20 min sessions). There is no reason he has to go, as many kids aren't ready to sit still, all day, and skipping kindergarten gives them an extra year to run and play. The only "real" concept they'll miss is things like how to stand in line and sit in a circle and take turns, all things that you can teach at home. Don't be convinced by others, be confident to do what is best for your child.

1 mom found this helpful

I think the short attention span is pretty normal for that age. I am quite happy that my daughter was born late in the year and will be almost 6 by the time she starts K.
Kindergarten was a great idea (sometimes still is) when their main objective was to teach children the social, motor and cognitive skills they need to prepare for school - now it's more like first grade and you better have your counting and reading down... I am not a huge fan of that and think that 5 year olds are simply too young for that kind of academic pressure.

1 mom found this helpful

A lot of people have different opinions but have you ever thought that it might be because he is a BOY!!!! Boys are distracted very easy, It is the way they are made. Boys and Girls are different and I think teachers handle boys the wrong way and expect all the kids (girl or boy) to behave the same and it just isn't in their nature. I wouldn't worry about it so much. I think they label kids with ADHD to much when it is just the lack of the school realising that maybe boys need to be taught different and handled in a different way.

1 mom found this helpful

Dunno if you are in Portland, but you can look into alternative schooling.

We are at Portland Village Charter School. It is Waldorf-methods, so specifically encourages parents to keep their children in kindergarten until they have a chance to integrate all the maturity pieces necessary for success in an academic classroom (and our version of "academics" is also maybe not very recognizable). My son went to a private Waldorf for his first year of kindergarten and I am waiting to talk to his teacher to find out whether she thinks he should move on after this second year or even maybe stay a third year ... and I have seen so many children, especially boys, who clearly (once one is looking for it) are not succeeding in the grades because they never were allowed to integrate (neurologically, for example) as children ...

There are a lot of moms who run up against the newstyle academic kindergartens and are taken by surprise. I know I was with #1 ... if "everyone is doing it," why does it HURT so much???? (I chose to make it stop hurting by leaving.)

1 mom found this helpful

Congratulations on kindergarten. Our youngest is a kinder this year too. Yeah, a little freedom.

Anyway, to your question. Let the teacher deal with it. Unless there is disruptive behavior and the teacher is contacting you about it, let it go. While he is in school, he is in her care and it is her job to help him work through the distractions. It is normal for kinders.
Our naturopathic has our two boys taking DHA Junior by Nordic Naturals with a liquid supplement called IntraKid. The DHA is a flavored fish oil (liquid or gels) and is supposed to help with concentration. It seems to work because our kinder teacher has noticed a remarkable difference since our son has been taking it. Another recomendation is to make sure your son has some type of protein for breakfast. All three of these things have helped our very distracted and active 5yr old.

Best wishes to you and your three gems.

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