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Kids' Attention Spans Continue to Shrink...Here's a Big Reason Why

Sit still and be quiet! With today's kids, that ain't happening. At least not for more than a few minutes. Today's kids continue to have shorter and shorter attention spans. A big reason why is the programming that's coming at kids is becoming more and more high-tempo. Media... especially television shows geared for children, are fast-paced. Some experts believe the rapid pace is causing children's already low attention spans to become even shorter. This affects their ability to concentrate in all the areas of their life, including school and church. It's also making it harder for children to go in-depth when trying to talk about important topics. If you are reading this and you are a Gen Xer or Baby Boomer, then you have witnessed attention spans shrinking since you were a child. Childhood has changed. Today's kids are faced with so much information coming at them, that they have to quickly skim the information and move on. This makes it more difficult to get your message or lesson into their long-term memory. But it can be done. Here are a few tips to land your communication into the long-term memory of today's kids. Repetition. Rather than trying to teach kids God's Word with a long, continuous, boring talk that is more than 5 minutes, shift to quickly sharing the main point of the lesson throughout the time you have with the kids. Stats show that if kids hear something one time, they'll remember about 10% of it. But when a child hears something 6 or more times, it will cross over into their long-term memory and the retention rate goes up to 94%. Make a motion. Another way is to have kids make up motions for the memory verse or key point you are trying to teach them. Take key words in the Bible verse or key point and highlight it with a motion. Movement helps your lesson stick. Rhyme it. When you turn the key point for the lesson into a rhyme, it helps kids remember the key point with much better success. Reset every few minutes. Rather than looking at your lesson as one hour that you're trying to hold the attention of the kids, look at your lesson as 12 x 5 minute sessions. Change up what you are doing every 5 minutes or so and you'll be able to keep their attention. We developed our curriculum using this key method. The lessons grab kids' attention spans and holds it for the hour or more that you have the kids. You can see lesson samples including video segments at this link. The days of standing and rattling off the lesson as a talking head are past. Kids are not wired to sit still and listen to someone drone on and on. If you want to transfer the truth into their long term memory, then you must shift your thinking to updated methods.

Sit still and be quiet has to be replaced by let's do an activity and then discuss the truth we learned from it.

Want to know how kids are doing with your lesson? Then watch them while you teach. If they are squirming, looking around, not paying attention and you're having to constantly get onto them, then take a hard look at your lesson structure.

Be willing to change and adjust your lessons as needed.

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