Attention is a fundamental mental capacity for survival by allowing us to respond to various environmental stimuli. The human being is able to fix it on specific stimuli for more or less long periods, in order to be able to more precisely capture the information relating to this stimulation and to extract the maximum possible data from it.
But the amount of time we can spend paying attention to something is not always the same, But depends on the state of development of the brain. And it is that the various mental faculties develop and develop throughout growth, as it happens with concentration.
In this article we will see roughly what it is the maximum concentration time of children according to their age, In children up to eight years.
Attention and concentration
Attention is, as we have said, a basic and essential ability because it allows focus cognitive resources on external stimulation and activate the body to act accordingly. It is the ability to direct, maintain or move consciousness towards one or a group of stimuli.
There are many aspects that can be explored in relation to the concept of care as it includes a wide variety of different aspects and processes such as vigilance and ability to activate or focus on stimuli. Among these different aspects we can find concentration.
It is understood as a concentration on the aspect of attention devoted to keep attention focused on a particular stimulus, ignoring the existence of distractors (Other possible stimuli that could interfere with the focused element). We are therefore faced with the ability to permanently fix the attention of the individual.
Focusing on something allows you to visualize and get as much information as possible about the item in question and the application of our voluntary cognitive resources in the service of contemplation, understanding, processing or working on the stimulus in question. Thus, we can study something or continue to perform a specific activity for shorter or longer periods.
Evolution of concentration in children: maximum time according to age
The ability to concentrate is not something that stays the same. There can be different types of elements that allow a certain person to stay longer or shorter while waiting for stimulation.
Strong distractions, the existence or absence of motivation, the emotional connection to the stimulus in question, or the degree of novelty or routine involved are all things to consider. Aside from that, maximum concentration capacity varies throughout life, Whether for an evolutionary development or for environmental or acquired aspects.
In terms of development, in order to be able to concentrate, our brain must have reached an adequate level of maturation. Throughout our childhood, the brain continues to grow and develop, Gradually allowing different cognitive abilities to appear and expand. This way, little by little, the amount of time a child is able to focus their attention on something will vary and grow as their brain develops. The ability to concentrate tends to increase between three and five minutes per year until it stabilizes in adulthood.
Below is a rough calculation of how long children up to the age of eight can maintain their concentration. These hours define an average interval, As each person develops at their own pace and there may be some subjects who may perform more or less when concentrating.
1. First year of life
It is estimated that during the first year of life, a baby’s ability to concentrate can gradually increase for up to two to five minutes. At this age, children they keep looking at everything and quickly change focus, Not being able to concentrate for more than a few minutes.
2. Second year of life
In the second year of life, children continue to develop their ability to concentrate, practically doubling the time compared to the previous year. This way, they can hold it for four to eight or even ten minutes.
3. Third year of life
With three years of life, the ability to concentrate can reach a quarter of an hour, being common to reach or exceed ten minutes. Until this age, concentration is virtually maintained while the subject to be treated gives them genuine interest, usually losing it in the presence of distracting stimuli. Voluntary care would start to emerge already trains from the age of three or four
4. Fourth year of life
More or less from this age the ability to pay attention can increase up to twenty minutes, although still children the ability is around eight minutes would fit into the average.
5. Fifth year of life
Studies show that in the fifth year of life, focus can be maintained between ten and twenty-five minutes approximately.
6. Sixth year of life
Concentration at the age of six is possible, especially between twelve and thirty minutes due to the greater evolutionary development of the brain.
7. Seventh year of life
Seven-year-olds have an estimated attention span and concentration that can last on average between twelve and thirty-five minutes.
8. Eighth year of life
By the age of eight, it was observed that the majority of the population can focus their attention between sixteen and forty minutes of time.
Factors to consider from approximate data
The data reflected above makes us see approximately (remember that each child will have their own rate of maturation, so this data is only an average of what one would expect) the attention span that children may have throughout its developmental period.
This can be used as a reference when establish different educational guidelines and not overburden minors attention they may not yet be able to afford and in need of more brain maturation. In this way, they can establish pauses or changes in activity that break the attention and lead it to another aspect or activity (whether or not focusing on the same topic).
For example, during a lesson, the teacher might introduce a topic and then ask them to do exercises, so that the focus shifts from exposure to activity. The ability to concentrate, in this sense, would allow more or less adequate monitoring depending on the age of the subject.
It should be noted, however, that the times mentioned above refer to sustained attention or continuous focus on a single element over time, without factors such as emotion or motivation coming into play. More interactive elements that catch your interest such as games or movies they can be taken care of more easily and involve children focusing more and longer on them. It can also be used to encourage learning.
In addition, concentration can lead to training with different types of exercises, but care should be taken not to overload or overload children as this can result in that they feel demotivated, insecure of themselves and that it lowers their self-esteem.
- Caraballo, A. (sf). Children’s concentration time according to their age [En línea]. Available at: https://www.guiainfantil.com/blog/educacion/aprendizaje/el-tiempo-de-concentracion-de-los-ninos-segun-su-edad/
- Sants, JL (2012). Psychopathology. CEDE PIR preparation manual, 01. CEDE. Madrid.