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My Child is a Slowcoach

Parents in a hurry

Most parents can think of about three different things that they should be doing at any given time. From the time they wake up in the morning to the time their heads hit the pillow at night, there is an endless stream of tasks to be done, most of which revolve around their children. Given this scenario, parents who have children who seem to go about the business of living in slow motion have a really hard time. 

There are children who take a good half hour to get out of bed; who take two hours to eat a meal or ages to complete their homework. And it's not a one-off thing with them. It's a daily feature. 

Children can be slow for various reasons. Some are just easily distracted as a result of which they are not focused enough on the task at hand to complete it in time. Other children are resistant to or do not adapt to change very easily. Hence, they are reluctant to move on from one activity to another and consequently leave a lot of their work unfinished. Some children, of course, are just dreamers and prefer to give a free hand to their imagination rather than concentrating on what they would term 'mundane' activities like school work and chores.

The attention game

Dawdling, dreaming children are not a rarity. While one imagines most children to be dynamos cast in the mould of Calvin or Dennis the Menace, there are many children for whom time has no meaning. In such a situation, most parents are reduced to nagging, pleading, screaming and even spanking the child. However, most parents will find that this usually does not have the desired effect of prodding the child into action. 

Children can be perverse. The minute they hear a frantic note of urgency in your voice telling them to 'hurry!" they know they've got you where they want you. They slow down even more so that you finally give in and help them out, thus giving them your undivided attention. Dawdling is an attention-seeking technique that is often used by the older child when there is a new baby in the family. 

Teaching your child to be time-bound

  • Much as we all wish on some days that we weren't tied to deadlines and routines, we all realize that it is the dictates of time that save the world from being reduced to a state of chaos. While such a macro-view may escape your child at this stage, the upshot is that it is essential that he be taught the importance of sticking to a schedule and completing tasks on time.
  • Make sure that you have your child's full attention when giving him instructions. Make him repeat them to you so that you and he both know that he cannot give ignorance as an excuse.
  • If your child finds it difficult to switch from task to task with ease, then limit the number of activities he has to do as far as possible till he becomes accustomed to it.
  • Be strict about punctuality. Tell your child what time you expect him to be ready to do something and warn him of the consequences of being late or behind schedule. Despite this, if he fails to stick to the time, adhere to the rules strictly so that he knows you mean business. 
  • If you expect your child to do something, first take the trouble to teach him how it is to be done so that he does not waste time fumbling about.
  • Encourage your child to be independent. Try to curb your impatience and do not do things for him all the time even if he is slow. That way, he will never learn to do things himself.
  • If he does complete a task on time or before schedule, do not forget to reward and praise him. 

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