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Why does my daughter get distracted easily?

Q: My 8-year-old daughter is very distracted and talkative. How can I evaluate if she has an attention deficit disorder? A 5 minutes task takes her 30 minutes. Right from brushing to dressing up for school, food habits etc. are very time consuming. She does well when she concentrates. But her distractions ruin it all. She is good in her studies but even that is an extra effort. I want her to study for 30 minutes but she drags it to 1.5 hours. Her teacher has been complaining that she does not listen, keeps day dreaming and interrupts others sometimes. Her manners are very disappointing. Please advise.

A:Whatever label we give, the reality has to be handled. It does sound like your daughter can be easily distracted and does not concentrate on a task for more than a few minutes. Perhaps you should break up the jobs she has to do into smaller units. When she completes one, give her a pat on the back and let her go on to the next one. This will involve your time and attention of course, but it may be easier for her to focus. Sometimes good music (classical instrumental, Indian or Western) can have a soothing effect, to calm her down. You will have to select the music carefully. It is believed that TV, soft drinks like Coke and neon tube lights aggravate the situation for a child, who is distractible. Encourage your daughter to read or tell a full story and listen to her so that she doesn't skip from one event to another. Make a game of her routine schedules, getting ready for school and give her many chances to win. Be playful when dealing with her and she may start enjoying having you guide her. Pick a sport in which she shows interest and let her take special lessons in it. Sometimes, even a game like Ping Pong will help the child to attend to detail and to coordinate her movements. If your efforts do not have much effect even after a few weeks of these activities, you might wish to consult a Psychologist or Counsellor. Get your child interested in story books and she might get into the reading habit.

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