It can be difficult for us grown-ups to understand how differently time is perceived by a toddler, a child, or even a teenager.
More often than not, our adult lives are just a hectic rush between one responsibility and another - and it seems that it all gets faster and faster as the years go by. Anyone who has tried to get a young child ready for anything will understand the frustration. How come they don’t have any sense of urgency? Why can’t they see that we’re in a hurry and act accordingly?
On the other hand, we come into contact with all sorts of advice telling us that our lives and our mental health would improve if we took time to savour each moment, rather than constantly living in the future or the past. And guess what - our children are much more likely to be living in the moment than we are. It just might be a differently experienced moment.
We are increasingly agitated at even the smallest delay in our lives, whether instigated by our children or by an outside influence, impatience is a growing problem, but the most effective way to mitigate it might be by paying more attention to our children.
Everyone has a different pace. We all know people who hurtle around at breakneck speed, irritating us with their ability to get more done that we can manage in the same amount of time. Or there are those who need more time to deal with any task or question, and who drive mad those of us who put stock in getting things done quickly and efficiently.
The truth, of course, is that we all move to the beat of a different drummer. Young children are likely to need a slow and regular 4/4.
They need time, there’s a lot of work going on in those brains and they’re not yet able - nor should they be - to fire at the same pace of those of us who’ve been practising for decades. So take a deep breath, let them take the time the need - it may even teach you something to slow down and give yourself some time to absorb and process new information.
Let things take the time they take.
This quote was given to me by a friend via a conversation on the ‘How to Speak Child’ Facebook page and it really struck a chord with me.
She wasn’t sure who it should be attributed to, and having conducted my own brief research (I googled it!) I couldn’t find any definitive answer to that query either. I did however find some contention around the issue.
Last week I wrote about encouraging children to flex their inventive muscles, and exercise their ability for creative and imaginative thought.
My point regarding the inherent fear in spontaneous action or communication has been echoed this week in news that our young people are developing anxiety around the mere act of talking to one another.
How often do your children get to spend time alone without any outside stimulus? When was the last time they had to draw on their own resources to entertain and motivate themselves?
Timetables for children these days can be hectic; after-school clubs, the pressures of school work, social media and other screen-based activities all vie for their attention and focus. It’s not so often that they are left alone to their own devices free from these distractions. And the same is true of us.
Here is the latest in my series of articles based on conversations with children, first published in Teach Early Years magazine. In each piece, I focus on one prominent theme. For this one, it’s TRIVIALISING FEELINGS. My thanks to editor Jacob Stow for allowing reproduction, and if you want to know more, details of this and their other magazines and resources are available at: https://www.teachwire.net
* What annoys you about how adults speak to you?
* When I'm crying and they say, 'You're just tired.’ (G - female)
During this little girl’s short interview, she mentioned this issue twice in slightly different ways. No doubt something had happened recently that made this perceived injustice so fresh and raw, but what lies underneath is a common source of upset.