Baby,  Early Primary,  Preschool,  Toddler

Attention Span By Age

Have you ever felt like you spend more time preparing an activity than the children spend playing with it? When I was a new mum, I spent so much time and effort creating activities that felt like they were played with for seconds. The prep time and mess clear up took twice as long as the actual play. Read on to find out more details about attention span by age:

This is a collation of source materials so please see below for further information about each age group.

Average Attention Span By Age Group:

8 – 15 months

At 10 months, short and sharp activities like this toy knock down engaged him.

At this age, the expected attention span on a particular activity is a minimum of one minute but any new activity or event – such as the phone ringing or a sibling entering the room will be distracting and cause baby to lose focus.

16 – 19 months

At 16 months, E can focus on specific tasks for a longer period of time.

As your child gets older, they may be able to focus their attention on a specific activity for 2-3 minutes but visual or verbal disturbance will likely cause them to lose their concentration.

20 – 24 months

At around 20 months, Z loved short burst of art activities

As your child approaches their second birthday, they can focus on an activity either with or without an adult for 3-6 minutes. However, they still remain distracted by sounds and other outside influences which causes them to lose track of the activity.

25 – 36 months

Just before 3, Z was able to go back to tasks more easily.

Between the ages of 2-3, your child can pay attention to an activity for 5-8 minutes. They also start to shift attention from an adult speaking to them, then back to the activity in hand, if prompted to do so.

3 – 4 years

Art particularly appeals to Z at 3. She is able to go back to the task in hand after any distractions.


By the age of 3, your child can usually attend to an activity for 8-10 minutes, and then alternate total attention between the adult talking to them and the activity they are doing independently.

5-6 years

My eldest is particularly focused when it comes to Lego builds. At 6, he was using his imagination to build his own creations.

When interested in an activity, a child can stay on task for around 10-15 minutes at a time. They tend to filter out small distractions that are happening around them. In class, difficult, independent activities should be a maximum of 10 minutes.

Sources: Gaertner et al., 2008; Conejero and Rueda, 2017 , Day to Day Parenting

With all of this being said, please see a paediatrician if you do have concerns over your child’s concentration span.

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British primary school teacher and mum of 2.

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