Identifying attention issues as early as possible is absolutely critical to achieving long-term benefits for children, as well as their families, teachers and the wider community.
Research shows that the earlier a child begins building the skills necessary for learning, wellbeing and independence, the better the outcomes for everyone involved.
Laying foundations for the future
Attention skills fall under a set of mental skills known as executive function. In simple terms, this involves things like planning, organising, focusing, problem-solving, impulse control and regulation of emotions.
These are the skills we use in everyday life, when spending time with family and friends, or participating in extracurricular activities. With this in mind, it’s not surprising to learn that there is extensive evidence showing that children with attention difficulties are more likely to struggle throughout school, and experience low self-esteem into adulthood.
For these reasons, we should be doing everything we can to help children develop a ‘toolbox’ they can access across different settings and stages of life. The development of executive function and attention skills in early childhood contributes some pretty powerful tools to that toolbox.
Attention skills are learned in early childhood
Early childhood is a critical time during development when your child’s brain is most actively forming new neural pathways and connections. It’s also when your child is developing the ability to listen, learn and focus on tasks – at home and in the classroom.
Studies demonstrate that mastering attention skills early in life can help to improve academic performance, behaviour and cognitive function. Ultimately, the goal is to help children reach their potential by addressing attention difficulties early, and by supporting them to feel successful, happy and capable.