Tips to End the Dawdling from Elizabeth Pantley > 4 a Kid

Mamas & Papas Magazine December/January 2016
July 11, 2016
Your Baby – September 2009
August 3, 2016

Tips to End the Dawdling from Elizabeth Pantley > 4 a Kid

101193-admin posted on March 14, 2014 10:18

Does your child move at an excruciatingly slow pace? Do you find it frustrating when you need to get somewhere and you’re rushing about – yet you have to keep prodding him along? Let’s talk about why this happens and what you can do to get things moving!

Tips to End the Dawdling

Why kids dawdle
Children live according to a much slower clock than we adults do. They don’t give a moment’s thought to what they might be doing next. They prefer to enjoy each moment for what it is. They pause as they watch the cat sleep, examine the color patterns in the carpet, and ponder the reasons for having toes. If you think about it, it’s a shame that we can’t all live on “kid-time.” But since we can’t, here are a few tips to keep things moving along.

Give specific step-by-step directions.
Make incremental requests that your child can easily follow. Give your child one or two tasks at a time, and when complete, assign the next.  “Please put your puzzle in the box.” When done, “Now it’s time to go to the bathroom.”

Make a list.
Write down the sequence of tasks to be completed and give the list to your child with a pencil to cross things off as they’re done.

Give an incentive to finish.
Encourage your child to finish the task with a “When/Then” statement, such as, “When you get in the car, then you can have your crackers.”

Analyze your own daily schedule.
Determine if you are trying to do too much. If you are, see if you can make some changes. Start focusing on the priorities in your life, eliminate some of the unnecessary time-wasters, and slow yourself down a little bit.

Check your child’s nap and sleep schedules.
Children who aren’t getting a proper amount of sleep will lack energy and tend to move slowly and dawdle.

Don’t rush your child with the words, “Come on!” or “Hurry up!”
These requests tend to frustrate children and then they rush to the point of taking extra time to make up for the mistakes that happen when they move too fast.

Don’t reinforce the pattern.
Children often dawdle out of habit. A parent will announce, “Time to go” and then be distracted by a phone call or a household task (so then it really isn’t time to go.) Children come to expect that you’ll repeat yourself numerous times before they have to respond. Practice this: think before you speak, make a very specific request, and then follow through.

Don’t expect speed.
Allow a reasonable amount of time for your child to meet your request. Watch your child to learn his pace. Just because you are in a hurry doesn’t mean your child will move any faster than his usual speed.

Avoid miscommunication.
Make clear, specific statements that don’t leave room for misunderstanding. As an example, instead of the vague statement, “Get ready to go,” clarify by saying, “Right now, would you please put on your shoes and your coat, and get in the car.”

Ideas are from The No-Cry Discipline Solution (McGraw-Hill 2007) by best-selling author Elizabeth Pantley

Posted in: Parenting Tips

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