11 Days of Skills for Kids: Gaining Attention Appropriately

11 Days of Skills for Kids: Gaining Attention Appropriately

As we continue 11-day journey through the “non-academic/learning to learn” skills all children need, detailing the skill of gaining attention appropriately, I just want to remind you that these shouldn’t be complicated. Don’t get overwhelmed, just do what you can. And – if you have questions, make sure to reach out! I’m ready and available to support you during this unexpected break from school!

Download this article as a PDF so you can read it later! Find it HERE.

Skill #7: Gaining Attention Appropriately

Today we are going to focus on a learning to learn skill that impacts children’s success across all settings; school, home AND social. Gaining attention from others is a skill that children struggle with across all settings and I am guessing that many of you are being challenged by that skill right now?

Having your children home with you AND them wanting your attention can add much stress to an already stressful situation. It is a perfect time to work on this! Children gain attention differently depending on who they are trying to gain attention from. If they have a question or want to tell a teacher something, they may do it one way and if trying to gain peers attention, they may do it another way.

We are going to work on gaining attention from an adult in this lesson. I would recommend differentiating “school time” and “family time. “ (You may want them to raise their hand during school time but obviously not during family time.) With children being out of school for such an extended period, some habits may get created that will impact their success in returning to school. So the more you can work on having them display “typical school behavior” during learning time, the easier the transition will be! No matter what age your child is, gaining an adult’s attention is critical! 

Remember, defining the behavior (exactly the way you want them to do it) is so important. It may seem obvious to you, but don’t assume your child knows what your expectations are. An example of defining what gaining an adults attention looks like is:

  1. Orient your body/eyes toward the adult whose attention you want to gain
  2. Raise your hand quietly (without calling out)
  3. Wait quietly until you are called on (make sure you know what you want to say/ask)
  4. Once you are called on ask your question/make your comment

Of course, this is just an example. You can define it any way you want!

Hint for Teachers: If there is a way that you want parents to teach gaining attention, let them know!

How to Practice Gaining attention

  1. Set clear times during the day that you are going to work on this skill and make sure your child knows when those times are. (Learning times)
  2. Teach the steps for gaining attention. (Having a visual of these steps is very helpful.)
  3. Role Play this skill before actually expecting them to do it during learning times.
  4. Practice the skill before each learning period.
  5. Reinforce your child when they display the skill.
  6. If they forget, give them a gentle reminder about what they need to do.

Remember: This can and should be fun and can be done throughout different learning periods! 

Reinforce the Skill Gaining Attention Appropriately

Setting up a simple reinforcement around this particular skill can be very simple.

Step 1: Define the behavior clearly. Make sure your child knows exactly what you want gaining attention to look like

Step 2: Decide when you want to work on the skill. There is no right amount. Ultimately, your goal should be to make this time doable for you and your child. (you can do it one time a day or more. Whatever works for your family!)

Step 3: Decide what kind of reinforcement you want to use and how often they receive it. For 

Token System: 

Today I want to share an app you can use to set up a simple token system. Find it HERE.

This is a super easy app and whether your child uses a token board at school or not, this app can help you set up a simple reinforcement program for ANY skill. 

  • Decide what task you are going to reinforce
  • Write it down or post a picture
  • Give your child the task (activity)
  • When your child completes the task (activity) they receive the token on the app
  • When they have received all of the tokens, they earn the reinforcement! (hooray!!!)

Step 4: Discuss what the plan is with your child and then stick to it. Consistency is key when it comes to reinforcing behavior! 

Find More Resources

No matter what your goals are for this time, make sure to check out the other resources I offer for parents and teachers. Then, come back tomorrow and let’s talk about the next skill all children need to know!

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