At the end of each of our Little Honey Little Adventures stories, there is a list of Little Lessons. These lessons are for parents and grandparents to share with their little ones. Each list begins with a very obvious statement, with two progressively more serious lessons for discussion.
In The Baseball Story, the final lesson is on hard work and persistence, which we covered in our June 2021 blog. But there is another lesson in that book – how important it is to keep your eye on the ball. The idiom is meant literally in The Baseball Story. Little Honey knows the only way she will ever hit the baseball is if she keeps the ball in her line of sight. However, the expression may also be used to remind someone to pay attention to what is important and/or what may be happening in the current situation. In addition, it may be a way of suggesting that someone stay alert and be ready for possible and potential changes.
Little Honey was motivated by her desire to hit the baseball. So clearly, one of the most important steps in helping children with paying attention and staying focused is encouragement and inspiration. The good news is that paying attention is a skill that can be learned and gets better with practice. Preschool years are not too young to begin learning how to concentrate and focus as long as the expectations are appropriate for that age group. Children in that age group may only be able to handle 5-20 minutes of giving a task their full attention. In addition they will need to take breaks. They can also only manage one task at a time.
Just like adults, children find deep breathing helps them stay focused. It’s never too young to learn about mindfulness and self-awareness, especially since paying attention is not every youngster’s forte!
One classic picture book that may help teach children this skill is Blueberries for Sal that tells the story of a little girl who goes picking blueberries with her mother at the same time a mother bear and her cub are eating blueberries in the same patch. Because she is not paying attention, the little girl inadvertently begins to follow the mother bear rather than her own mother.
Do you know a book that can help teach children to pay attention? If so, feel free to share in the comments. We’d love to hear from you.