My son recently went to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. When I was a child, Chuck E. Cheese was a wonderland of fun games and chaos. Now that I am an adult, I think of it as a casino for children.
But, I digress.
We were at the party and it was loud: There were TV screens on the wall, three birthday parties of excited children, some adults trying to get the children to do a birthday dance, a person in a giant mouse costume and the animatronic characters were going in the background. My son was so distracted that when I asked him later about that portion of the party, he said, "It was just too much going on at once." (Playing games for the rest of the party was, however, the best thing ever.)
I agree with my son - no one can really concentrate when there is that much noise in the background. And it doesn't even have to be a large amount of noise: I don't think I'm the only person in the world who has turned down the car radio volume to concentrate on finding a turn I don't want to miss.
So, it came as no shock to me when researchers started studying toddlers and found that they didn't learn as well in an atmosphere with a lot of background noise. Television, music, other people...it's too much for their little selves to pay attention to. If you want your child to focus on you, you have to cut out the distractions.
I would say that advice works for adults, too. If you want someone to focus on what you are saying, wait until they are done with their phone, turn off the background noise and make sure you have their complete attention.
Is your house pretty quiet or do you think there is always noise in the background? Share with me in the comments.