Your 6 1/4-year-old: Slowpoke strategies

Your 6 1/4-year-old: Slowpoke strategies

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Your 6-year-old now

Dawdling is a normal behavior, but some children do it more than others. Some dawdlers are dreamers by nature, or easily distracted. Others don't adjust well to change or make transitions easily. If time doesn't seem to mean much to your child, try these strategies:

  • Give plenty of warning. A five- or ten-minute heads-up can make all the difference when transitioning between play and other tasks.
  • Don't interrupt play unless you truly have to. You might dawdle, too, if someone asked you to water the plants in the middle of a pivotal moment in your video game.
  • Create a weekly or daily schedule around problem times so your child knows what needs to be done when. Kids respond to clear expectations.
  • Praise him when he does follow through quickly. Don't be afraid to impose consequences for tardiness, either.
  • Don't label him as a slowpoke. Labels can be hurtful – and shape behavior. He may try to prove you right.
  • Watch your tone of voice. The minute some kids hear your pleading "We're late" voice, they figure, "I'll take my time. That'll really get her attention."
  • Buy a watch. Most 6-year-olds can tell time at least to the half hour and hour. Set deadlines, and remind him to check his watch.

Your life now

Computers of any size are addictive. While it's good for your child to see you working, reading, and engaging with technology, be aware of the extent to which this happens. Carve out sacrosanct tech-free periods: mealtimes, during the bedtime routine, maybe even one day on weekends. Yes, technology is real life, but it also takes away from other kinds of real-life interactions families need.

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