My Slow Child

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A few days ago, I attended a school based meeting involving the parent of a kindergarten student. This is the students first experience with formal education, and according to the teacher, she is doing remarkably well academically, has mastered all required skills, and is performing on grade level. However, the teacher did express concern for one area of performance. She stated that the student performs task very, very slowly and therefore does not complete her assignments. The parent stated that she is the same way at home.

I know, just as I could relate to what the teacher was saying, as it pertains to my child, I know that there are countless other parents, of young children, who have the same concerns. Therefore, I want to share with you some of the tips that I gave the teacher and the parent to assist the student in completing assignments and to perform at a faster pace.

  1. The teacher stated that she is using an egg timer to help the child know how much time she has left to complete assignments. Well, most young children have a very poor sense of time, at home and at school. If you tell your child that she has five minutes left, she may not really know what that means, and the egg timer doesn’t offer much assistance. Another method of helping children time themselves, is to use an hour glass or a digital timer that counts backwards. This provides a more visual picture to follow.

  2. Slightly reduce the amount of work that is expected. The child needs to experience success on a regular basis. Once this happens, the work load can be slowly increased over a period of time.

  3. Don’t hover. Hovering over children seems to make them work slower, and they tend to want to engage in conversation and use you as a distraction.

  4. Allow the child to observe appropriate behavior. At school, this can be accomplished by seating the child next to children who stay on task and complete assignments.

  5. After the child becomes comfortable with a clock or other time piece, let him be the timekeeper. This will make him more cognizant of the time remaining.

I know that this can be very frustrating and time consuming. However, if you practice some of these strategies, although it may take a while, you will see improvement.