“Mom, Dad, I know I’m only two years old and if I knew the words to say I may be able to tell you why it’s frustrating when you don’t give me time to finish my work. Instead, since I don’t know the best words yet, sometimes I overreact by screaming or crying. I apologize for that. I’m still learning.”
What if someone picked YOU up right now from your computer and said, “Time to go!” No notice. No regard that you are in the middle of something very important.
How would we feel if WE were immediately removed from OUR work? A little screaming? Hmmm…
Our kids are busy, too. They may be just building with blocks. To YOU, it may seem like they’re just playing, but they’re actually doing their WORK. When we pick them up and say “Time to go!” without any warning, it can be upsetting.
I’m SURE we’d be upset, too. Think about it. You don’t get to finish your mascara so one eye has mascara and the other is naked. You don’t get to finish the email you’re working on to send to a teacher so an important conversation about a possible scholarship is not happening now. You don’t get to know how much longer til you leave so you can decide whether or not to start the next laundry load since you’ll be gone three days and if the dryer load is not dry all the way it can mildew. You don’t get to see the rest of the football game because someone just turned it off and commanded it’s time to go. Important stuff. All of it is.
And even when we tell kids they have a few minutes left, they may not grasp how long that is just yet. When my kids were little we used to measure time in “Blue’s Clues time.” (I think that was about thirty minutes for one Blue’s Clues television show.) So I’d say to my girls, “Okay, this will take three Blue’s Clues.” My kids could measure time better when I said it this way.
When they’re little they may be thinking, but don’t have the words or time to respectfully and boldly articulate, “Hey, mom and dad, what I am working on is very important to me. I was really busy with that and I wasn’t finished. Would you please give me some time to finish next time? You may be looking at the world’s next great architect.”
Also, when we do give them a five minute notice until it’s time to go, we need to remember to keep it at five minutes. If it changes, I believe we should apologize to them and say it’s a little longer than I expected.
I’ve been a nanny and child care provider for many years in the past and it makes me sad when parents tell their children they have five minutes to play while we talk then it’s turned into thirty minutes and then the parent talks to the child like it was their fault they didn’t leave when they meant to. If the child goes back to playing while they wait WHY is that not okay? Should they stand near you like a soldier awaiting commands? They are little CHILDREN. Cut them some slack.
There are LOTS of television shows and songs teaching kids how to be patient. Some teach them to make up a game of some kind when they have to wait. And let’s face it; our kids do a lot of waiting. Waiting on dinner, (they can help with making dinner or setting the table, by the way) or waiting on Mommy or Daddy to come read to them at night, waiting on the bus, waiting for their turn, waiting on the teacher to finish talking to another student when they really have to go to the bathroom but do not want to interrupt. Waiting, waiting, waiting.
Maybe we need to show them a little respect by showing them that we realize their time is very important just like our time is.
It’s totally okay if you do not agree. I’m speaking what I know to be true through my experiences with very awesome kids through the years.
A voice for the awesome two year olds, Kerri.