Is it normal that my 3 year old can't focus and sit still?

My son is three years old. He’s having some trouble focusing and sitting still even at night time. He’s okay if he’s sitting at the table eating or watching TV. But when I try to read a book with him, he can barely pay attention or sit still. Is it unusual for a three year old to not be able to focus on books while being read to?


If he can sit and eat and do other things then he’s just bored. A true inability to focus would be seen throughout every activity, not just some. Try engaging more by asking him what he sees in the pictures before you read it and guess what’s going on or try to read or let him direct.


He sounds normal to me. If you’re concerned with adhd, our doctor wouldn’t look into it until age 5 or 6.

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Uhm… hes 3 my kid hates when I read to him. He will be 4 in April. He’d much rather run around being a dinosaur. He doesn’t sleep for crap he rearranges his bedroom instead. He eats like a bird even with a timer on to sit at the table. He’s totally fine just being 3 don’t over think it and listen to people say he has ADHD and needs meds give him time he’s full of energy


Trust your gut and talk to your doctor about it.

Three is pretty young. Their attention spans are short and they have fluxes in energy throughout the day. Reading can be fine for bed or nap times but a lot of little ones aren’t interested (with some exceptions being textile books with things they can touch, etc). He may just have too much energy to sit still through a whole book. Little kids weren’t meant to sit quietly. They’re full of curiosity and they learn by touching and doing.


To much screen time interacting with your kid more will help with out electronics


3 year olds are active and want to be super busy all the time and not meant to sit still, it’s normal! Redirection is big still at that age, maybe having him sit on your lap, or making it a “bed time” thing where you settle down first (warm milk still helps my active one) pjs quiet the house. It’s just Figuring out what works best for him with getting story time in! He’s still so little don’t worry to much about it.


I’m on my 3rd generation of little ones. He sounds normal to me.

My oldest didn’t care for books until he started school, I’d still read and let him play.

Try getting him into OT!

Definitely age appropriate. You’d be surprised how much they’re really listening to the story even when they wander off.

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Oh my goodness he is 3!! RELAX he is NORMAL wth is with ADHD 🤦 he is 3! Shit man calm down he has his whole life to have drugs thrown at him jus wait n see. Cherish the innocence

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My grandson could he knew how to work my phone at 3-4 yo stuff I didn’t even know

I literally just asked my 3 year olds doctor about this. She said it is perfectly normal

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Sounds age appropriate my lad now 7 has never been able to sit still or concentrate doesn’t sleep even eating seems like to much hard work for him he has to be moving around :weary: honestly the energy in him could power an army :rofl: x

Think on his level, there is so much to do.and its so easy to get excited. Try books like dr.suess 1 fish , 2 fish , red fish blue fish. Count and colors while your reading. Outside or active play a couple of hours before dinner and bath might help with sleeping routine.

I would get it checked out, my son is 5 but even at a young age could focus and sit for a whole story and focus on an activity. Each child is different though so could totally be normal for your child

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They say a child’s attention span is usually their age + 2 minutes


My daughter is like that. She turned 6 and still struggles with that. Her’s is because of anxiety. She actually breaks out in rashes from worrying too much.
A couple things we do:

  1. When she needs to focus and is loosing it we do deep breathing exercises to help her calm down
  2. We make things like homework or stories an active game. For example we place her flash cards all over the floor and we tell her what word to find and she has to run and find it.
  3. We have lots of fidget toys around for her to focus on and we keep one in my purse for public spaces where she may need to sit still.
  4. It causes problems with sleeping for her so we got her a weighted blanket. It works wonders and sometimes she grabs it to just calm down.

It is not easy having a wiggle worm but if you are creative and patient you’ll get through it.

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Well when he has absolutely no interest in a book, he isn’t going to sit still.

My daughter was like that at 3. she’s four now an will sit an listen to 4 books. some kids just aren’t interested in books. I’m sure he’s fine, but if you have any concerns just ask his doctor.:relaxed:

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Yes, very normal! My grandson is 3 and I can barely read a page and he’s off and running!! I’m so amazed at how much more patience I have with him vs. when my kids were that age!!! I chalk it up to age, wisdom, time and a type of love I’ve never had!!!

My daughter is almost 3 and does this. Pretty sure it’s the norm

yes very normal…i can’t get my 5 year old to even sit down to eat…he eats on the run…even watching tv he is still moving his legs or bouncing around…its very normal…lol

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Why would a 3 year old be able to sit still and “focus”. Shoot even at 4 years old preschool is mostly play learning. They’re not meant to sit still. Their minds need to be moving and learning through play.

It is normal for this age. But just to be on the safe side talk to his doctor.

It’s not normal for kids that young to sit still. Some kids are super calm, like my 3rd, and that’s ok too. But most little ones are super wiggly.

Not if he doesn’t want to.

Yes, totally normal! :upside_down_face: Around that age focus is all over the place. Keep em active and try to find ways to channel that energy and focus that fits your kiddo. My youngest son has always been super hands on and a busy racer and there are some wonderful interactive books and activities that can hold attention. You just have to find what most interests them, every kiddo is a bit different. Also picking the right time of the day for certain activities can make all the difference. Have fun with it and totally check out Pinterest. I have found some awesome ideas on there! :heart:

Being three you can’t expect them to set sill for long periods of time there still really young for that

He’s 3 lol he’s fine :slight_smile:

He’s 3. His attention span is minimal and his energy level is immense. He’s going to be like that for a while.

Normal toddler shit.

Yes it’s normal. If you still want to read to him try reading while he continues moving/playing. He will take it in.

He most likely has adhd but they typically dont want to test your child until they’ve been in preschool or kindergarten! My son was the same way and I’m waiting to hear back on his recommendations for his testing! It’s not easy but you got this just keep trying!!!

Very normal. My daughter got diagnosed with ADHD but she’s 7 years old and I seen the signs and so did her teacher at school. 3 year olds are always bouncing off the walls non stop. Don’t worry mom

Yes, it’s normal. Keep reading, shorter books & reading times. I also turn off the electronics and get them moving…indoor calisthenics; run a couple laps around the house; dance…get the energy & wiggles out so focus can get longer and more enjoyable for everyone.

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Aww he is 3. There is so much of the world he wants to discover! Stick to short stories and eventually he will settle into reading time.

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Completely normal. Shorten your readings to match his current attention span, increase a little each week. He’ll be just fine.


His mind may be engaged in the story but his body still needs to move. You may want to try a fidgit toy while you read.

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Totally normal. We just think it’s normal to want our babies to act like adults…

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I am a preschool teacher and when we talk to families about reading to their children we recommend starting off with 5 to 10 minutes. Read as long as your child is interested and when he loses interest stop that way it doesn’t become a struggle but keep doing it and hopefully he’ll sit longer eventually


I’m not saying this to be an a-hole but I strongly suggest you do a little research on child development and age appropriate expectations. It’s saved me from feeling like I was failing so many times. We can only hold them to standards that are age appropriate maybe a tiny bit more but having unrealistic expectations of your child and therefore yourself is a recipe for disaster and heartache


My son is 3. He jumps around until he is physically passed out sleeping. All while we read and sing to him. Then he sleeps like a champ. Totally normal.

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He is fine, my Grandson is almost 3 my daughter worried the same way. He will often sit for me and not her. I choose interactive books books with fuzzy things or flip ups.

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When my oldest son was little he was really hyper. I found a book by a Dr Feingold ( not positive on spelling) it was about the effects of chemicals added to foods effect on kids. I followed it with awesome results.( but you gotta keep others from slipping them stuff not on diet) Good luck.


Normal. My son was diagnosed with ADHD, he’ll be 3 in April. However he seems to be as active as any other kid his age with the loss of focus and normal hyperactivity. Yeah he kicks his feet when he’s laying down but a lot of kids do lol

My 8 year old is like this too. He can’t even sit at the table to eat he has to be up on his feet. He’ll be watching a video on his tablet and he’ll bouncing about or making sound effects. :grimacing: I just see it as who he is.

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My 3yr old does ok with story time but can’t sit for more than a few minutes at dinner time. They’re all different but I don’t think I’d be worried about it right now.

Yes, but if you have concerns you should discuss them with your child’s pediatrician. I have a VERY active 3 year old so I can relate. :relaxed:

Yes! Patience is short, let him turn the pages, we call that speed reading😂

Have him hold the book and turn pages. Just look at the pictures and talk about what you seen in them.

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ADHD my youngest has it, real baby when she was that age, go 24hrs on 20 minutes sleep. As she got older it got better ! Time for meds ?


Why can people now days let kids be kids now patents wants to claim ADHD and keep them druged up let them be kids even if they can’t be still while sleeping at lease they are having fun and living there life


Make the story interesting and fun. Books with flaps are good. Read something to him that is interesting to him

Lady he’s 3 that’s the problem their not always interested I books they have things to do exploring new things they are not wired to set still at 3

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My son is 7 and still won’t sit still or pay much attention, even for tv. He’s a boy :woman_shrugging:t3:

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Yes, it’s normal. He’s 3.

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He fine he just wants to be moving he young

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Sounds like a normal boy to me. :wink:


The more you read the more he will stay still

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Hes fine just restless u can handle it just listen and don’t be lazy

Take him to the Eye doctor

My daughters 4 and I am not exaggerating when I say she can’t stay still. She can’t stay still when she’s eating. Watching TV. Anything. She’ll be laying watching tablet and still have to kick her legs or move 1000 times

Sounds usual to me. My son would not sit still but he is very gifted. His kindergarten teacher had him tested because he wouldn’t sit with the group but knew the answers to every question. Now he is 15 testing out of high school. I wouldn’t worry he might also be listening but want to be busy while he’s listening.


My youngest daughter was that way. Just like Honey Idnarb her kindergarten teacher had her tested cause she disrupted class a lot. Turned out she was gifted(gate student). So we got her higher grade workbooks to use when she was done with class work. Also Nora Hartigan has a great suggestion to try.

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Not unusual at all. My son was the same way. Maybe let him ‘read’ with you. Have him describe what he thinks is happening in the pictures. It’s great for him using his imagination and will help him want to be engaged with the book.

Typical 3yo behavior… maybe they just aren’t that into the story or find your story telling abilities to be a little lacking (no offense intended, it took me a little while to get good at creative story telling).


I used to continue reading the book, eventually they’d sit down to listen to the end when I’d announce “what’s going to happen at the end?”. As long as you grab their interest at different parts if the story, they will gravitate back to you


Very normal.
My kids at the age of three can’t barely sit still for long.
They are easily distracting so instead of reading stories to them i love chatting with them asking questions when they are going around the house. Socializing ,playing with them and telling them things. But when its time to eat i really make sure they are sitting down in there chairs on top of a table and having there meals…i don’t mind them conversing with their siblings around the dinner table or lunch time or either be at breakfast.

Normal. If your little one gets into school and absolutely cant set still or focus thats when you start to “worry” lol

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My son was like that he couldn’t even sit down on a couch. He would sit on top of the couch r run back and fourth. One he started kindergarten hes was 5 the teacher noticed he couldnt comcentrate so she and my sons primary care dr got us into schottish rite dyslexic center. They tested him and they found out he was not o ly adha and he was alao dyslexic so hes 14 now so hes been goint to child metrocare and they put him on meds that may him sit still and listen, so he wouldnt get in trouble at school. Scottish rite is free all u need is your primary care physician and the teacher referring u

Yes! He’s 3 years old. It’s your job to find ways to entertain. While tiring, it’s part of the job. They grow out of it and then if you’re like me, you’ll miss these years.

He is a 3 year old boy! He is energetic and curious! Let him be 3!

A lot of time to doctor won’t diagnose acute until their age of 5 though

Try making sound affects and pointing out the things that are happening in the pictures or maybe acting some things out. My son loves that. It makes it more intetactive.

Yes its normal, try acting the book out…change ur voice to go w characters. Worked for me! Gd luck momma.


It is not unusual, its hard for that age to sit still long, see if he will color, draw, play with play doe, dinosaurs, put a puzzle together with help, build with blocks or match box cars aka hot wheels? If your that worried about him take him to his pediatrician?

It’s normal. My son wasn’t really interested in being read to until he got closer to 4

My son is the same way and hes 3 and just diagnosed with adhd


Maybe hes not interested in what the books are about


My son is 5 and he cant sit still if I tie him to the chair

Very normal. Don’t worry. Lots of kids have a hard time focusing.

Sounds normal to me. I don’t think I could get my kid to concentrate on anything for any length of time till recently and she’s 5. Even then some days her mind is just elsewhere especially since it’s winter time here and can’t really burn off the energy

Have you pediatrician refer you to have him assessed


If he’s had too much screen simulation, a book is not going to be entertaining to him. Cut down on the TV


Normal for a boy they have a short attention span more so then girls!

He’s 3 . I wouldn’t be too concerned at this age .

My son hands me books and just runs around and play but he is still listening. My son is 4.

Sounds normal. Sounds like he is also visually oriented. If you want his attention, you need to engage him visually.

I’ve got a 7 year old with severe ADHD combined type and a 3 year old with suspected ADHD. I’m very familiar with what abnormal looks like and age range appropriate behaviors…

What you’re describing is completely normal for 3 years old. They’re very interest driven, thier focus tends to be strictly on what interests them.
They also have a ton of energy, because thier bodies are typically in almost perfect health and they also havent begun to recognize all thier body’s clues for the different signals.

He’s 3. He likely has the attention span of a goldfish. Perfectly normal.

My son who is almost 5 barely sits through i think you good

6 yr old can’t sit still at dinner table still, or to read a book. I hope they grow out of it.

Yes it is. Find something with action/movement, or ones he would like, it take about a month to make it routine. But go with your gut u know ur child the best :heartbeat:

I let my 3 yr old pick the stories we read, if he looses interest sometimes I will ask questions " do you see the car? What color is it?" Or point out other things to get him into the story.( He has always loved books.) But littles are such busy bodies, sometimes you just gotta go with the flow. Maybe certain times are better to try reading. My lil guys fave is before bed. Snuggled up, we read 2-4 books (depending on the length of story).

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Sounds perfectly normal to me!

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It is probably less normal for a child to sit still at this age, maybe read a story that you no well an act it out. I look after 2 year olds and there favourite ones are bear hunt and the tiger who came to tea, i often ask them to think what might happen next, an if they want to stand up an listen they can, if they want to talk about the pictures we can do that to. So instead of just reading get him involved in the story

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My grand just started chilling to listen to stories. Hes 4