People give attention in a number of ways, depending upon the person to whom it is directed. For instance, giving attention to children includes providing them with proper care and nurturing, while giving attention to a spouse or partner often means providing companionship. In marriage or personal relationships, listening to a partner's concerns and needs is one way to give attention. People give attention to pets by playing and interacting with them.
It is a natural reaction to give attention to an infant or child who is sick, hurt, or unhappy. A parent or caregiver will typically give attention to a child who is not feeling well by providing comfort. A parent may do this by speaking softly and reassuringly to the young child, while giving affectionate hugs and kisses. In most cases, it is a mother's maternal instinct that controls the desire to give attention when her child is in distress.
Giving attention may also mean being attentive to a person's hopes and dreams, concerns, and fears. This type of attention is done by listening and understanding. Being a compassionate friend who listens to a friend's troubles or offers insight and advice is one way of giving or paying attention to that person. Someone who provides this type of attention is often referred to as having a "sympathetic shoulder".
Parents may reinforce good behavior in children by providing positive attention. This attention may consist of praising the child, or rewarding him with a gift. Providing negative attention may reinforce negative behavior. One example of negative attention is responding to a child who is throwing a temper tantrum by allowing him to have his own way. In this respect, a parent's submission may be considered negative attention.
One way students give attention to a teacher is by listening carefully to instruction and taking notes. This is generally referred to as paying attention in class. An effective way students give attention to teachers is by remaining focused on classroom activities and assignments, and not being distracted. Teachers may also provide attention to students by noting their individual needs. Special-needs students or those who require assistance may receive individualized attention from a teacher through tutoring or special activities.
Customer support representatives provide attention to customers as part of their daily work. This attention may include providing assistance to resolve an issue. Handling transactions and returns are other duties of a retail customer support representative. Providing individualized attention can solidify customer satisfaction and loyalty.