The same kids who run around from morning until night can be the biggest slowpokes when you need them to hurry. But, what if you didn’t have to always encourage them to hurry? Here are some tips on removing the rush and savoring the process.

Tips to avoid saying “hurry!” 348 times a day


It happens nearly every morning and always before I’ve had enough coffee.

My daughter stands in front of the pantry as I plead with her to make a choice between her breakfast options.

And, nearly every morning, I stand there, desperately wanting to scream, “Just make a choice! It’s only breakfast!”

With errands, activities, work and appointments ahead of me, those moments in the morning seem to drag on. But, the other morning, as I leaned against the counter while she made her selection, I glanced at the clock and silently waited. It took her 52 seconds.

52 seconds.

Learn more about why kids need to make their own choices >>


I realized three things in that moment; I too frequently hurry her from one thing to the next, what feels like an eternity really isn’t and I really do want her to always thoroughly think through her options and make good choices.

"How do we learn to 'unhurry' our kids?"

Heidi Kiebler-Brogan, M.A., a licensed professional counselor, says that there’s more harm to rushing our children than we may realize: “[O]ur increasingly fast-paced world may contribute to an increase in childhood anxiety disorders, attachments disorders, behavior difficulties and even attention problems.” 

Realizing that things need to change is only half the battle. How do we learn to “unhurry” our kids?

Action plan

Our kids are at the top of our list of priorities, so make your to-do list and then add them to the top. Sometimes actually seeing them listed there is a great reminder. Those moments when we’re waiting for them are moments when we have a captive audience. We can talk and smile or we can nag.


For a day or two, make note of the times during which you feel you need to rush your children. Calculate how long you truly waited — not how long it felt like you waited — and set your alarm clock for that much earlier in the morning.


Do as much as you can ahead of time to minimize rushing. Lay out their clothing the night before so the early morning decisions are kept to a minimum. Put backpacks, lunchboxes and shoes by the door so there’s no need to wait for your children to collect them.

Learn more about how to simplify your morning routine >>


Ask yourself if you really need to hurry. In our fast-paced society, the tendency is to rush through each thing to get to the next. You may find that there’s actually no real need to hurry.


To make mornings run more smoothly at our house, I’ve asked my daughter to help me make a breakfast meal plan for the week. She still makes her own choices; she just does them in advance.


And lastly, when all else fails, remember that although those moments when we’re waiting feel like an eternity, we’ll blink and they’ll be off at college and we’ll look back and wish we had savored every moment, even the ones we spent waiting.

More about savoring the moment

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Finding time to connect with your family


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Comments on "Unhurried parenting"

Naomi June 10, 2012 | 9:25 AM

I love this article! I sometimes find myself getting so frustrated when we are trying to get out the door. This article really made me feel motivated to slow down and enjoy each moment to the fullest with my little guys.

bwsf June 07, 2012 | 11:41 AM

I think sometimes my frustration lies not in the fact that we're in a hurry so much as some of this stuff takes adults zero time to do, and it seems to take them forever. My 4 year old son, for example, will take *forever* to get into his seat in the car. He's checking every little nook and cranny out on the way, and it drives me bonkers. I try so hard to be patient. If we ever are actually late for something and he does this, I usually end up losing it, and then feeling like a bad mom for losing it. I have to try harder to just stop and smell the roses.

missy June 06, 2012 | 4:50 PM

Keep the t.v. off in the morning and put on some music.

Babe_Chilla June 06, 2012 | 2:08 PM

I like this, I really do. However there are times which I think they do need to be hurried. And not because I have somewhere to be (though let's face it, I do) but more so because dawdling along to say, get in the car, serves no purpose. Sure if she's making a choice about something, I want her to think about it. However when she's standing starting at the car for minutes on end, it's time she know that we need to get moving. I don't expect her to walk with purpose and hop into the car without a moment of distraction - she is a toddler after all. However, I think it's important that they also learn to cooperate, and that sometimes tasks just need to be accomplished. I can give myself all the extra minutes in the world in the morning, to not have the sense of anxiety over rushing, and I should. However, there are times when a need to rush is out of my control and I would like her to learn that there are certain things we just do. Obviously, I want her to feel safe and not pressured. I think there is a lot of value in not rushing them arbitrarily to perform each task. I just think there is also value in learning that sometimes, you just have to get on with it.

Erin June 06, 2012 | 1:59 PM

I love the tip about having the child select their meals in advance. This eliminates the morning stress of deciding what to eat. Can't blame my kids - I struggle with the same thing! I hate making food-based decisions! Now if only I could get them to eat their meal more quickly. That's where I end up "waiting."

Erin June 06, 2012 | 1:57 PM

I loved the tip on having the child plan out their meals in advance. This eliminates the daily decision of what to have. Can't blame my children for having a hard time making a decision - I have a hard time too! Now if only I could speed up the time they spend actually eating the meal - that's where I spend most of my time "waiting."

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