The Attention Span of a Two-Year Old


Recently, I took my two-year old nephew to the playground on a perfectly sunny day. Like many moments in families, I didn’t need a camera; the smile on his face at play is etched in my mind. He would have been happy to play the entire day.

After a while, I found myself distracted with other things on my ‘to do’ list. And then it dawned on me that although we talk about the limited attention span of children, it isn’t their attention span that’s a problem – it’s ours.

When has a child ever asked to leave a playground? I doubt they ever do. Don’t they ask us to read Goodnight Moon several thousand times and then plead for one more time?

Our children need to move – they want to move. It’s parents that put children in front of the TV under the premise of learning when in fact we need to get our ‘to do’ list done.

The greatest athlete in the 20th century, Jim Thorpe, was said to have tried to mimic the movement of a two-year-old until he collapsed. When we think about our children being sedentary – let’s look in the mirror to figure out the root cause.

Here is a suggestion- to accomplish two things at once, include your child in your chores. That is a great way to spend time with your children, as they help (ok, I’m using that term very loosely) but in the long run you are winning both the battle and the war.

Fun fact about Jim Thorpe
Believe it or not, Thorpe once hit 3 home runs into 3 different states in the same game. During a semi-pro baseball game in a ballpark on the Texas-Oklahoma-Arkansas border, he hit his first homer over the leftfield wall with the ball landing in Oklahoma, his second homer over the rightfield wall into Arkansas and his third homer of the game was an inside-the-park home run in centerfield, which was in Texas!


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