Understanding and Dealing with Dawdling, part 1
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Dawdling is one of the most frustrating of children’s behaviors. Addressing the problem requires the knowledge of a psychiatrist, the insight of a seer, the compassion of a saint, the patience of a rock, and the undying love of a parent.  Children dawdle for a number of quite normal reasons.  Figuring out why your child dawdles is the first step to take in finding a solution.

1.  Remember that children don’t have the same concept of time as adults, and won’t even begin to have it until ages of 6 - 8.  Remember how long childhood days seemed?  There was always plenty of time.  Such places exist for adults today, but not in First World countries, where everything is rush and hurry and get on to the next thing.  Parents need to be efficient, children need to daydream and play in order to learn.  What seems like dawdling is often their brains taking in and learning.  (see Practice and Play letter).  The tension between these two needs produces a constant, no-win battle.

2.  Does the child like the activity at hand?  If not, he/she may dawdle to postpone the activity.  What can you do to make the activity more inviting and fun?

3.  No one likes to be interrupted.  Dawdling may result when a child asked to leave something they are in the middle of.  What can you do to decrease the interruption?

4.  ''Dawdling is a normal part ofdevelopment in young children,'' points out Cynthia Whitham, a staff therapist at the UCLA, Parent Training Clinic. ''So sometimes you may just have to relax and accept it.” (Ouch, how hard is that to do?)

5.  A child who is more easily frustrated will be more prone to dawdling.  Obviously if a child finds a task frustrating, they will postpone it by any means available.  How can you break up the task into achievable units?  How can you celebrate their successes?  How can you make all aspects of practice rewarding to the child?

To Be Continued….

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