When sonny was very young, i was very meticulous about not exposing him to too many television programs. At that time, there was no Ipad, iphone to worry about, so it was very easy to control. Up to now, he is not into watching any shows. In fact, he watches 0 hours of television shows a day (unless we manage to borrow his favourite Curious George DVD). We don't subscribe to any of the kids' channels so there is no battles to fight with him in this department.
However, things are a little different with doll. While our television is switched off most of the day, she somehow found her puny fingers to the ipad. Due to my desperate attempt to make her eat better, i mistakenly introduced to her the Youtube once. Since that day, she knows where to go for her Barney or High Five fix. Some days, she would find her way through and all of the sudden i can hear Barney squealing or High Five playing at the background. As it is, she is already watching television shows twice a day, perhaps about 20-30 minutes each time during her, what else meals. Which means now she associates eating with watching television.
Not very happy with her media exposure, i have made a point to hide the ipad each morning when i wake up (my husband tend to use it the night before and leave it lying on the sofa). Also, i discovered she is drawn to the i-things because she sees us on it quite frequently (whoopsie, monkey see monkey do). Hence, i try not to be on the iphone when she's awake (but that's really hard too).
No thanks to the plenty of research proving that kids who spend more time on the media tend to have lower attention span, i am very careful when it comes to my kids exposure to the media. Looking back i found the following things i did with sonshine helped to sharpen his concentration skills (though i can't tell for sure if they are truly directly related). So these would also be my goals for doll:
1) Read books MORE often
I think the best ways to prevent poor attention span is by reading books. Reading books is a great way to hone one's ability to focus. I am very glad that doll readily says 'YES' to books and so it is always a good way to lure her away from the ipad. I used to settle with reading once a day. But i now i aim to read to her at least 3 times a day. So far so good.
2) Doing activities with her daily
My purpose of doing activity with her daily is not solely to teach her but so that she gets used to the idea of doing work. It is not like she sits down for straight 20 minutes to do the activities. But as she works on one activity, she sits down and fully concentrating at the task at hand, whatever it may be. Of course, for now that's only like 5 minutes or so. But as she gets older, i will make the activities a little more challenging thereby requiring her to concentrate longer.
3) Flash cards
Somehow i think kids who can sit still and look at the flash cards have better concentration power than kids who do not. While i hope as i flash the cards, she would pick up reading but more so because i want to sharpen her ability to focus.
4) Educational Shows first
I started to let doll watch Barney, High-5 first because she didn't take to those educational shows (Baby can read, Wink to learn) very well. Having her eat her food was more important than anything so i relented. Nowadays, there's more room for negotiation with her. So instead of playing the usual shows, i switch on educational ones like Leapfrog letter factory. It's fantastic 'cause she has picked up a couple phonics through this show. Since i can't beat her, i shall join her! At least she is learning something while watching!
I very well understand toddlers have very short attention span and that's normal. Obviously i am not expecting the stars and moon from her. But i believe there are some things we can control that can either help or harm them. I choose to do the former by laying out the above foundations for her. Hope it works!