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Monday, July 20, 2009

Dawdling Child

My girl loves to dawdle. She really takes her own sweet time to change her clothing, brush her teeth, wash her hands, do her school work etc.

In my exasperation, I've done what I am not supposed to do as suggested by many parenting books and articles. I .... yelled at her "Why are you always so slow!?" and now.... as suggested by the so many parenting articles and books,.... it has become self fulfilling.

She is constantly wanting my attention. She wants me to feed her. She wants me to repeat the words she says. She wants me to repeat the words I say to her. She wants me to scratch her back before she goes to sleep. She wants me to sit and watch her do her homework. She wants me to play with her after she completes her homework. I believe her dawdling is another way of calling for my attention. I really don't know why she craves so much attention.

I really don't know what else to do. I've slowed down... looked her in the eye when she talks, stopped what I was doing so I can listen to her better etc but she still seems to need so much attention. Much more than my 5 year old boy. She is 7.

In an unrelated funny incident, I taught both of them to sing Happy Birthday twice while washing their hands... to get the boy to wash longer and to get the girl to speed up. It worked at first but after a while, the boy was back to just swishing his hands over the soap and water and rushing out of the bathroom while the girl would sing Happy Birthday happily at least 3-4 times. One good thing though, she has very good hygiene. She always makes sure she brushes her teeth and gargles her mouth real clean. But it just drives me crazy, the time she spents slooooowly doing these things.

She is always the last to be ready when we are going out and definitely the last one to finish her meal every time. She is also always one of the last ones to come out from her classroom and she doesn't run out like the rest of her classmates, she strolls out sloooowly after slooooowly packing her bag. Even her teacher complains to me that she does everything in slow motion.

I don't know what else to do. I have given her the attention she craves, praised her and tried everything thats positive and finally I can't stand it anymore and I go back to yelling "HURRY UP!" I've tried the positive "You can do XYZ after you finish ABC., ok sweetie?" but it almost always never happens and then I end up yelling "Look you can't do ABC because you took so much time doing XYZ! Don't you understand that!!!" I constantly feel like Mrs Jekyl and Mdm Hyde.

Does anyone else have a child who dawdles? How do you deal with it? Can you share please?


  1. My elder son is also a slow one.. last one to finish eating, doing everything in slow motion, distracted by every little thing around him. Luckily, he could be bought by the fact if he doesn't finish early, he doesn't get to watch tv ;)

  2. oh dear.. what about giving her a timeline for tasks to be completed, and taking away priviledges if the timeline is not met? For e.g. If you don't complete ABC in 30 minutes, you will not watch tv today. Something like that?

  3. I just let it be if I am in a very patience mood. Because there will be no winwin situation if I get mad...My 3yo also very slow, took 1 hour to complete her meal, brush her teeth, play in shower.. I think she doesn't like to be rush, because I don't like to be rush either... I like to take my time...

    Therefore, I try to find my own things to do while waiting for her to finish certain task... or we go shower together, and let her play in the plastic tub and bubble a little bit longer... :)

    Don't rush! I hate it when my mum rush me... I prefer that she tell me well in advance, like what time she wants me to be ready, or what time i need to be in certain place.. and.. DON'T LIE about time! when wake her up.. don't tell her it's already 7am, when the clock shows just 6.50... 10 mins also make a lot of difference...

    Teach them how to respect time!

  4. Wish I could rub off some of my son's 'rush to do madness' in your daughter!

    Hmmm....would it help if instead of asking her to hurry up you find other ways to make her stop doing it so slowly?

    Like....instead of hurry up and wash hands, ask her not to waste water?
    Or if she eats too slowly, tell her that if she eats too slow, her food will nto be as nutritious anymore?

    That kind of thing...some positive reason for ehr to do things differently (i.e faster).

    Sigh...either way they test our patience, don't they!

  5. I truly, truly can identify with you! My daughter is just like yours. Slow in doing most things and I keep yelling at her to hurry up and also asking angrily 'why are you always so slow??!' She gets distracted along the way and loses focus. Slow in changing, eating, getting ready to go out, doing homework....aiyo, pening lah...

  6. geetha,
    I can't use television because we don't watch much television at home but I guess online pc games would do the trick..... sometimes....

    I've tried every timeline there is.. lol.

    Thanks for the tip. This morning I dragged myself out of bed 5 minutes earlier to give her more time and when I didn't yell at her to hurry up, she said "mummy, why didn't you scold me?" :P Oops! Am I that bad???!

    I've tried reasoning to her and talking to her nicely lots of times but always end up yelling. So bad hor.

    Yeah, mine is easily distracted too!

  7. My son is like that too. Every morning, I lose count the number of times that I have to say hurry up and the tone will go from very gentle tone to yelling tone. EVERY MORNING!!

    Feels bad at times to start his day like that.


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