April 14, 2016

Time - kids vs adults

As usual evening routine, yesterday too, A said she wants to go to the swim pool and  I took her. She spent around 50 mins in the pool, playing actively for little time but for some good amount of time, she was just resting her chin on the swim tube and floating around while smiling all the way, raising her toes to above the water level and touching them with hand, moving by the water flow and not actively swimming.

I tried to talk to her and get her attention to swimming but noticed her unwillingness for an active play. May be she just wanted to relax in the pool, is what I thought as I kept watching her enjoy the time. One thing she actively did was turning around in the pool water - was just amazing to see her giggle doing it. She wants to rest some time, wanted to do something else another time, neither of which I expected her to do nor did I ask her to do. An adult could feel, the kid is not actively swimming, they could as well leave the pool that moment and do something else, her time is only going waste, etc.

I also recalled similar such instances when A is not very actively doing what she wants to do. Reason is not lack of her interest but kids do not want to hurry, they enjoy every moment in their own style. But for us, adults, time is precious, time is never enough for us.

As an example, A wants me to take her to the park, but she once walked very slow towards the lift. Upon asking her what she wanted to do, she said she was walking slowly like a tortoise. So, it is not a lack of interest that she was walking slowly but she simply wanted to walk slow, that's all. No big reasons. Kids want to do a particular thing in their own style. They expect encouragement and guidance from an adult, not rules and rushing up at the moment.

In a related context, let's talk about this scenario: it's time to go out, you prepare your child, get ready, wear your shoes and your child refuses to wear shoes, refuses to move a bit, say, from the chair. She is playing something, she wants to continue doing it. Contextual switching in children's mind doesn't happen as fast as it happens in adults. It takes time for her to put the toy aside, get down the chair, come to shoe stand, wear her shoes - for her it is just time and she is enjoying every moment, for us, it is TIME, most important, cannot waste even a minute, we just need to rush and get the thing done. The parent yells to just get out of the chair, kid is hurt because of the yelling, as a response, she, with an increased will, starts refusing to do that is asked to do. It becomes a battle between two individuals. What did the child want? Gentle talk to understand the need of the situation. What did the child get? Battle of words. What did the child lose? Calm and happy mind. What did the parent get? Temper tantrums. And we say, children are annoying and difficult to handle, children do not listen to us at all, children always want their way, my kid is becoming adamant, my kid is becoming rude and much more.

Kids need time. Give them time. Give them YOUR time. All that makes them happy is the connection they develop with parent and to achieve a positive connection, you need to invest time in children, not only while feeding, bathing or doing regular chores, but also when they are upset, when they want your support, when they need your emotional bond.
You could read related articles empathy, parenting and bonding with your child.

Solution:
In many such situations, questioning and talking to your child is the key point. Ask her what she wants to do. Ask her if she can leave the toy in a minute and wear shoes, for which I usually receive replies like 'OK, this is one last time I am going to press the key and wear my shoes'. I wait for her, here patience is the key. Sometimes, the last time lasts for 5-6 times :).  Remember, kids may be easily diverted, say, she saw something else on her way to door and she wants that. You could tell her she can always come back and play with it. She will have time for everything, just that, now it is time to go out.

Keep a set of hand-sized books/toys handy that your children could carry around when outside. This engages them as well as keeps them entertained for some time. Remember, you might be having work outside, say, in grocery store, you have an agenda to do, you have a list to buy, that way your mind is engaged. But, how is your child's mind engaged? Continue to keep talking to her about everything around, all items in the store, tell her what each one is used for, involve her in taking an item out of the rack and tell her to just take one of it, the house needs just one of it. show her those items like floor/toilet cleaners that are dangerous and she should not immediately touch them . That way, she keeps learning what items are safe for her to carry and what are not. Once the child's mind is not engaged, it is when they want to catch attention of parent, they suddenly start a temper tantrum, sole reason being their mind was idle and they need their parents' time.





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