We’ve been dealing with some attention span issues lately. Times have changed and there are so many distractions and interruptions that the kids have trouble with working on one project.
The kids are sitting at the table playing a board game. Things are going well, they are laughing and having fun. Then a text comes through on the teen’s phone. She’s preoccupied by the drama unfolding on the other side of her phone. Her turn is skipped and the other two are annoyed that she’s not paying attention. Game over.
It’s arts and crafts time. We are up to our elbows in glitter glue and yarn. The kid’s creations are being pumped out at an impressive rate and they are looking good. The doorbell rings and the boy’s friend is wondering if he can come over to play video games. Before I can get a response out he bolts from the table with a trail of paper pieces behind him.
The little one wants to play sidewalk chalk. We move the cars from the driveway so the canvas is as big as possible. A few strokes are drawn when the neighbor drives by and she sees their kids are home from school. She sprints across 3 lawns and meets them at the door instantly asking if they can come out and play. I’m left on the hot asphalt making rainbows and hearts by myself.
Each scenario shows that a child is distracted by something “better”. My kids are often looking for something better than what they have or what they are doing. Their attentions are drawn away by new shiny objects; often electronics and television, but also by someone else. Apparently it isn’t as much fun to play with mom as it is to play with kids your own age. Fair enough, I agree. I’d much rather have girls night out than play dates at the library. I’m trying to enforce some rules with my kids though. Finish what you started. If you asked your siblings to play a round of Candy Land and they agreed, you have to finish the game. If you persuaded mom or dad to chase you on your bike around the corner at least bring your own bike back to the house to put away instead of leaving us to push it back home 1 1/2 blocks.
Is it too much to ask that kids finish what they are doing and show some manners and respect for the person they are doing it with?