Late Talkers

How Long Should My Toddler Pay Attention?

March 1, 2023

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Your Toddler’s Attention Span

It probably won’t surprise you to hear that your toddler’s attention span isn’t very long, but how long should you expect it to be?

The general rule of thumb is that a child should have an attention span for 2–3 minutes per year of the child’s age. 

toddler with speech delay

That means we expect to see the following:

Children between 8–15 months: Can usually attend to a single task for a minute or a little longer and are easily distracted

Many toddlers between 16–19 months: Can attend to a particular task for 2–3 minutes.

Around 2 years: Your toddler’s attention somewhere between 3 and 6 minutes. Any longer than that, the child requires the support of a parent to stay with that activity.

Your child’s attention span will vary based on the day, the activity, interest level, and even their mood. it’s important to consider having expectations according to your child’s age.

toddler with speech delay

What Does This Mean for My Toddler’s Speech Development?

In terms of helping your child with their speech and language skills, it’s okay if they’re not sticking with an activity for long periods of time! Your little one may prefer to move over sitting and doing an activity and that’s okay! These types of activities can be easier for children with speech delays because they don’t require as much language. Movement based play a great opportunity to match your words to your child’s actions and model verbs like “go!” and sounds like “whee!”

You can also make any activity into a talking routine by saying the same words the same way each time, Examples are saying, “Ready, set, go” or “1, 2, 3” before going down a slide or pushing them on a swing. Pause and look at your child expectantly to encourage them to take a turn. When you let your child lead and match your language to their interests, your child will get exactly what they need.

It’s also helpful to know that you don’t need Pinterest worthy activities to help your toddler talk. Learning happens during everyday routines like mealtimes and walks and conversations with your little one. If you are looking for ways to help support your little one’s language at home and during everyday activities, check out my course for parents of toddlers with a speech a delay.


Is your child’s attention span normal? When should you seek help? – Times of India. (2021). Retrieved 01 March 2023, from HTTPS://TIMESOFINDIA.INDIATIMES.COM/LIFE-STYLE/PARENTING/TODDLER-YEAR-AND-BEYOND/IS-YOUR-CHILDS-ATTENTION-SPAN-NORMAL-WHEN-SHOULD-YOU-SEEK-HELP/ARTICLESHOW/81995499.CMS

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