Posted by & filed under Blog.

There’s no point in arguing about it, children and for that matter many adults have short attention spans. When you ask a child to do something and come back to find them doing something completely different having not finished what you asked can be frustrating and, when repeated often, exasperating.
I had a break through which actually came from my child. A simple situation – I asked him to get dressed for school. Now he is perfectly capable of dressing himself, has no particular dislike of the uniform and isn’t really against getting dressed. Yet very often, while I was getting dressed for work I asked him to get dressed, went back and he wasn’t dressed. Like any parent I tried to hurry him along and often my impatience and frustration would show as my tone became sterner. It’s not the kind of tone you want when you are about to be parting at the school gates. I constantly strive for a cheery “have a great day” and “I will Dad” as he goes in.
So one day it changed and I’ve been able to apply this little trick to all sorts of situations…
As usual I asked him to get dressed. I came back a little while later and the shirt was on but that was about it. He has picked up a book but it could just as well been anything else in his bedroom. Before I said a word, I mean my head was literally just around the doorway, he said sorry dad I got distracted! I said “Ok, well carry on now and get dressed”. He remembered what he was supposed to be doing and importantly took responsibility for it. I let him keep that responsibility and we both got through without any sharp words.
Is it any different? Yes and No but in a great way. Firstly he still gets distracted; to be honest getting distracted by books is a blessing as far as I’m concerned, but we still do have to get dressed and get out on time. However the big change is no more battles, hassling, chiding etc. Usually I can hear if he has been distracted – it’s either too noisy or too quiet. At which point I can light heartedly call through “did you get distracted??”, “Oh, yes dad I’ll get dressed now, or I’m nearly done.” We haven’t been late or even up against it since.
Now I have started using this in all sorts of situations. Let’s face it children get distracted all the time. So now all I have to say is “did you get distracted?” It gets his attention, reminds him of what he should be doing and he is back on track without getting told off.
Small victories and all that. It was another great lesson learnt from him. I know he understands what needs to be done so reminding him, bring his attention back is enough. It’s taken a lot of stress away from both of us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *