Blog on Special Educational Needs - Asian College of Teachers

Helpful Strategies to Deal with an Attention Seeking Child Successfully

9th January 2020

As a teacher, it’s not uncommon for you to come across a situation where the children in your classroom do a lot of things to get the hold of your attention. Sometimes, this will frequently interrupt your lesson plans by uttering something out, isn’t it? Some of your students may behave badly because while trying to attract your attention. The problem is too much much attention-seeking can be disturbing by creating distractions.

What is Attention Seeking Behaviour in a Child?

Miranda is a 3 years old child who is smart, joyful and very energetic. That day she was doing all the things through which she could get her mom’s attention. She complained, struggled in her seat in the cart, took items off from the shelves, threw bread on the floor and so on. Her mom requested her to stop it and replaced the items, appealed with her daughter to be good and get her some candy. Then suddenly, her daughter gave her a kick as her mother turned back to things which they needed to buy. Mom looked around and groaned.

This is an example of attention-seeking behaviour which sometimes goes too severe to the point.

So...what’s going on?

See it’s very significant to rule out the remedial issues before just deciding this as a child’s discipline problem. So let’s see and try to understand why a child would have so much psychological needs that he/she continuously tries to seek extra attention.

Causes of AttentionSeeking Behaviour

  1. Maybe the child has problems in making friends at school
  2. Maybe the child is suffering from low self-esteem
  3. Sometimes, the child is simply immature
  4. Maybe the child doesn’t get enough attention from the home or at school
  5. Maybe the child feels lonesome or left out
  6. Maybe the child feels discounted due to parents being busy working too much
  7. Maybe the child is dealing with some past experiences or trauma
  8. This child may not have a sense of belonging too

There may be a lot more reasons, psychological/physical/emotional and so on.

So how do you identify if the child is an attention seeker?

The different signs of depressing attention-seeking behaviour among the children are –

  1. Faking illnesses
  2. Causing too much drama
  3. Causing harm to others
  4. Creating problems
  5. Playing the victim card
  6. Showing that they are super busy
  7. The child that puts themselves as the leader
  8. Like to get a response from others
  9. Like to be the centre of attention
  10. They like to perform

Therefore, it is significant to look for some professional help if the underlying cause is something which is awfully upsetting.

Strategies to Deal with Them in a Correct Way

Accept the fact that your student needs more attention than the standard. There are different approaches to support and rewards that come with attention. They are listed down below:

Provide Options – In order to help the attention-seeking child, give options as much as you can. If they don’t want to do less attractive tasks then make them more attainable by providing them different kinds of options. Help them by setting a period of time that is just for them and when the child pleads for attention, remind them of their scheduled time. If you stick with this approach, you will discover that it can be quite successful.

Give Positive Attention This is a great technique to give confidence and help the child to build the self-assurance. Try to give some basic motivation by asking the child to illustrate what they like about their work or how they like to perform. Praise the child for spending time with himself/herself and if the child has talents, ask him/her to practice it and praise them for putting some endeavour into it. Take some time to boost their confidence by offering some inspiring words.

Trial and Error By trial and error, you can help them. When you will react with interest, affection and support, the child strives to entertain, grow in his/her social and practical skills, and will find a positive place. Since the child is dependent on you, they do the whole thing they can to get the nurturance.

Teach Apt Interactions – Remember the young students don't always know what or how the appropriate deeds are. Take proper and enough time to educate them about the correct interactions, reactions, anger management along with other social skills. Try to incorporate different role-play and drama to assist your students understands other people's feelings and outlooks. As much as possible, identify and reward positive behaviour.

Overlook Bad Behaviour Give attention to students indicating positive behaviour and ignore the bad behaviour as it comes with no rewards. Make that identified through your ignorance of his/her tantrums. In time, he/she will gradually realize that and slowly change the behaviour for the better. Let your student know that negative attention-seeking behaviour is not acceptable and will be ignored.

LET’S SEE SOME Do’s and Don’ts

Do’s –

  1. Make a rules catalogue
  2. Give attention carefully
  3. Hold students liable for their harmful behaviour
  4. Give responsibilities and a leadership role
  5. Praise the child on development
  6. Do what you can and accept their require

Don’ts –

  1. Don’t Shout
  2. Don’t make them feel guilty
  3. Don’t blackmail them psychologically
  4. Don’t avoid them
  5. Don’t make them feel left out
  6. Don’t compare them with others

So how much attention is enough for an Attention-Seeking Child?

This will depend on the child’s personality, behaviours and every day routines and the teacher training courses on special educational needs deal with these behavioural issues. Attention-seeking child has a lot of characteristics and as a teacher you have to understand and identify that particular child among the crowd. However, just like any other behaviours, there are some ways to support the child who is looking for adult attention so that your teaching-learning process become more effective.

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