How to Get and Maintain Children’s Attention
If you’re a teacher trying to teach a class of your children, your first and biggest challenge is probably how to keep their attention. Here are 10 tricks to help you:
- Set rewards for good behavior. Whether you follow a “star system” or give treats, giving children a tangible reward for behaving well is probably the most effective trick on the book.
- Turn your lessons into a game. Children naturally love to play so if your lessons feel like a game, you’ll have their undivided attention.
- Use stories to deliver your lessons. Kids don’t typically like to memorize facts, but they will easily follow an interesting story. If they remember the story, they’ll probably also remember its lesson. This is especially helpful if you’re trying to teach life lessons and moral values.
- Let them know the time. If your audience aren’t particularly interested in your lesson, letting them know that you will eventually stop—and when—will help maintain their patience and pay attention to you for a few minutes longer.
- Have a familiar call phrase. Teach the children that if, for example, you say “Hep-hep!” they have to reply with “Hurray!” They will try to anticipate this, and that means you have their attention.
- Make them use a signal. Teach them a signal that indicates that they have something to say. If you have a question for the whole class, wait until everyone has made the signal before choosing someone to answer you.
- Establish a “super quiet time”. Inform them when they have to be absolutely quiet—usually prior to story-time or giving of awards—warning that if they fail, you may not be able to give them their treat.
- Have a group song. When things get a little out of hand, break into a familiar song and make everyone sing along to get their focus back to you.
- Follow a routine. Children like to follow routines because it gives a sense of order in a world that they don’t completely understand. Children also love to do things that they’re confident that they know how.
- Encourage teamwork. Divide the children into groups and make them do something together. Let them know that they’ll be awarded based on their cooperation with each other.
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