How do you get your kids to pay attention? Guatemala might have an answer

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Parents, how do we get kids to pay attention? Well, some child experts think they may have cracked the code.

They did dozens of tests about paying attention between two different kinds of children.

One group was white, middle- class children from California, and the other were Maya children from Guatemala.

By a wide margin, the Maya children carefully watched what the adults did, while the American children got bored, looked around, and started playing.

Researchers say part of this is cultural. That from a young age, the Maya children are encouraged to pay attention to what their family is doing so they can learn chores and work together as a family.

So here are 2 factors that researchers say improve kids' attention.

The first is incentive. Give your child a good motivation, such as 'the sooner you learn to do this, the sooner you can go play.'

The other - freedom.

In one case in guatemala, a 4-year old girl could walk to the market alone and buy groceries for the family.

Because her family gives her the freedom to do that, her brain learns how to make more complex decisions at a younger age.

This is similar to a story we did earlier this week, about kids of helicopter parents growing up to have problems socializing and controlling their emotions.

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