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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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