Why is My Child So Slow

Why is My Child So Slow

You may call it poking, stalling, lollygagging, being slow as molasses, or going at a snail’s pace. Whatever you call it, it can be very frustrating when your child is moving slower than you want.

Some parents build in extra time, so the child can move at a pace they find comfortable. Some parents avoid activities they expect to be frustrating due to their child’s slow pace.

However, sometimes, a family needs to move at a particular speed. Perhaps there are other people in the group with expectations for the time line. Perhaps there is an actual time that ‘matters,’ such as a movie start time. Or even, the parent wants to finish this task and move on to something else, such as buckling the child in the car seat so the drive can start.

For times when you need your child to be quicker, consider the FAST Game.

For younger children, ask how FAST they can do the task. The very idea of being FAST can be sufficient motivation. Children enjoy being praised for their speed.  They enjoy telling others how FAST  they are. Usually being FAST enough means completing the task with little fuss and in a timely manner.

Some children enjoy earning small rewards. In these cases, the FAST game is an opportunity to earn stars or points that can be redeemed for small ‘prizes’. Choose prizes you feel good about, and that your child will enjoy. Ideas include gum, small candies, raisins, a mint, an extra book at bedtime, a 10 minute game with a parent, helping make dinner. How many stars earn a prize is up to you. Choose a number that is attainable and thus motivating for the child, but not too low either.

For older children, who can tell time, ‘beating the clock’ can be fun. Let’s say you’d like to leave the house in five minutes. Explain to the child that you wonder if they can ‘beat the clock.’ Review what needs to happen: get your activity bag, have your shoes and coat on, get in the car, fasten seat belt. Say ‘Ready set go” and set the timer or note the time on the clock.

Also, children of any age will sometimes respond to a fuller explanation of why time matters in this instance, accompanied by a request for cooperation. Older children can understand a reminder of favors done for the child in the past, as part of the give and take of life.

With children of all ages, review for yourself why you think the child is slow, to be sure there is not some underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Is the child reluctant to go to a particular place? Is the car sear uncomfortable? Is the child easily distracted or very interested in objects seen along the way? Are there sensory issues?

Remember there are many times it is ok for the child to move at their own pace. For those special times when you need speedy, on task cooperation, enjoy one of the FAST games. 

Blog Disclaimer:  Please be aware that this blog contains general information. It is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended as treatment or a recommendation or prescription for a particular child. If you have questions about your child, please talk to your pediatrician or seek other professional services.