My kid is a dawdler. She can turn what should be a quick 10-minute assignment into a 2-hour marathon.
Raise your hand if you've got one of those kids. I know I can't be alone.
Over the years we've developed a few strategies for coping with TJ's slower pace and managing to fit homeschooling and other daily tasks into our day (without too much stress).
Slow movers aren't lazy
I just want to say there is nothing wrong with being a slow mover.
Slow moving does not mean lazy. These types of people (my husband is one of them) are often calm forces in a stress-filled world. They are a meandering brook instead of a rushing river. They enjoy a more relaxed pace in their life and that is a-okay. Not everyone or everything needs to be rushed at the speed of light. But, in our fast-paced world, sometimes we need to teach our slow-moving kids how to manage their time and tasks in a diligent manner.
6 tips for methodical learners
These six methods are great for slow moving kids and methodical learners. By using a variety of techniques, you can help your kids learn to manage their time instead of becoming that 'nagging' mom who is always reminding them to get back on-task.
Sometimes using a timer can be handy. Other times it's not a good idea. It really depends on your child. Some kids find them helpful for staying on-task. Others might get stressed out at the countdown and find it harder to concentrate on their work.
Providing an incentive to finish in a timely manner can be just what some kids need to stay on task. We often use special treats, snack breaks or wiggle breaks as incentives to work hard in 30-minute blocks. It works well for my girl.
Bribes aren't a bad thing as long as they aren't overused. Hey, I work hard if there's some really good dark chocolate waiting for me at the end of my work day.
Sometimes it's easy to ask a question and expect an immediate response. But very often, these kids are methodical thinkers. They are not slow, it just takes them a little longer to think through their response. I like to ask a question and count silently in my head - it's a method that allows me to slow down and give TJ the time she needs to form her response.
Whether you type up a fancy checklist, use a planner, or have them write out their daily assignments, giving them some ownership in what the must accomplish each day can help them learn to manage their time wisely.
Using an independent daily checklist is a great first-step towards independence (just don't let them take all their work to their room - it will never get done!). When kids get to choose which subjects they'd like to work on first, it gives them more of an incentive to work diligently.
Encouraging 30 minutes of diligent effort followed by a short break works well with kids like this. Instead of 'wasting' an afternoon on one math assignment, encourage them to finish so many problems within a set time frame with the reward of free time (even if it's just ten minutes).
With slow moving kids you are just not going to have time for all the extras or tons of programs. That's okay. It's actually a good thing because it forces you to focus on what's important.
Just remember to make sure they still have time for creativity and aren't spending all day working on a pile of subjects. It's very easy for them to get bogged down in the details of their assignments, so you'll need to provide clear parameters and expectations.
Do you have tips for slow moving kids?
While it is possible to help kids manage their time, these types of kids will always have a more relaxed pace of life. It's important to honor that because it's just a part of their nature. It isn't laziness and isn't a behavior that should be punished. Of course, teaching them diligence and the rewards of hard work are important but be sure to show them and tell them that they are wonderful just the way God created them. Their quiet, calming nature is an asset, not a hindrance.
If you have more ideas for helping slow moving kids, leave me a comment!