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Attention Span

Can attention spans be improved?

Should we make everything more simple or should we try to help children improve attention spans? In my opinion, this is almost like asking if we expect children to grow. Many psychologists and other educators think attention spans can be improved, but there is a trend to zap small bits of info to children and adults without encouraging the thinking process.

Developing attention is like building muscle strength. It develops some with age but it develops better with the correct conditions such as exercise. If children are presented only with flashy materials which require no mental effort, it is like depriving muscles of exercise. Mental exercise has even been shown to have positive effects on the elderly. Some suggestions for helping children and references are given in Gloria DeGaetano's article, Visual Media and Young Children's Attention Spans, published by the Media Literacy Review: Media Literacy Online Project, College of Education, University of Oregon. One of her references is the insightful book, Endangered Minds, by Jane M. Healy.

Visit The Phenomenal Mister Rogers to gain understanding about why his psychology works so well with children. He helped children deal with the Gulf War and many other issues. A search at Amazon.com showed 70 books by Fred Rogers.

Remember Mister Roger's song about I like to take my time? That song has a lot of good advice to parents about giving children some free time of their own. You'll find many helpful songs in Mister Rogers' Songbook.

Fondly remembering Mr. Rogers: Fred McFeely Rogers was born in 1928 in Latrobe, PA; he died of cancer on February 27, 2003, at his home in Pittsburgh, PA. He was chairman of Family Communications, Inc. It is a nonprofit company which he formed in 1971 to produce Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. His goal was to encourage the healthy emotional growth of children and their families. His program is the longest running program on public television. Visit the Biography page of Family Communications, Inc. to learn more about Mister Rogers' background. The world will miss Mister Rogers and be grateful for all he has given us. He made the neighborhood a better place!

You might also like to see some of my articles about relaxation, fear, etc.