What a gift it is to figure out that all your child needs is more time. More time to think, to listen, to process, to answer, to respond. Tension at home and problems at school can dramatically decrease with this simple adaptation. It is you; the parent, the teacher, the adult who needs to change. Adapt a new paradigm. Change how you understand your child. Change your expectations. Change how you communicate. Change your total perspective. If your child is that 10-second child in this 1-second world, your entire lens must shift! Now keep reading for specific adaptations that match this new perspective.
GIVE MORE TIME
Simple but give it a try and you will see it is harder than it sounds. As mentioned, try counting to 10 each time you ask your child something while you await their response. Truth is that your child may need more then 10 seconds. The key to adjusting your expectations is understanding. Once you truly buy into the idea that your child is one of those 10-second kids in this 1-second world, you will find compassion and empathy for your child. Change is always possible with these: understanding, compassion, and empathy. And once you change, so can your child.
Tell them about the changes
Let your child know that you are changing your responses, expectations, and the way you communicate with them. Depending on their age, tell them how things will go moving forward. If you have a school-aged child, give them a laminated square: green on one side and red on the other. Tell them to flip it to red when they need more time to think/decide/understand. Once they are ready to talk, choose, or do something, they can turn the square to green. If your child is older, you could text them with an upcoming decision allowing time for their response. Plan ahead. Text them about their lunch choice for the following day so there’s no rush. It’s all about the planning. You can also use simple written notes. And preview everything you possibly can.
Words are overwhelming
Assume words are agitating for your child. Maybe they understand only every 3rd word. The expectation that each verbal demand or question requires a prompt response is just too much. Use fewer words. Slow down your pace. Use visual communication. Write it down. Draw it. Use post-it notes. Use your phone. Use laminated pictures. Use an iPad. Get creative. Seal your mouth and try the visual. You will see amazing results.
Never Say “Hurry Up”
For most of our 10 second kids, feeling rushed is a trigger for frustration and can escalate their nervous systems. Hurry up may now become a banned phrase in your home. This means you need to plan ahead. Build extra time into your daily schedule to allow for this new, slower speed. Reduce distractions to help them in challenging situations. Think ahead to what scenarios are especially hard for your child: maybe it is getting ready for school. Can you make them a visual to-do list just for that process? Get creative and customize the list to your child. I encourage you to think outside of the box.
All of these ideas do require your time, effort, and ultimately creative planning. It is tough work to gain and act upon a new perspective. I apologize now as parenting is hard enough. However wouldn’t you be less stressed if your child and you stopped arguing? Wouldn’t your child feel more confident if your internal timer slowed down? Isn’t what you are doing now not working anyway? I challenge you to give these strategies a try. You may just find that your child may actually have a smile on their face more often!