You’re not alone if you’ve ever found yourself an impatient parent and wanting to rush a toddler along. But here are 3 compelling reasons you shouldn’t.
My family and I visited a children’s museum that could have kept my toddler’s attention all day long. He opened and closed the doors to a bus. Inserted circular discs into slots. Floated boats on water and pushed a bazillion buttons.
The museum was an amazing place for my toddler, and he made sure to take his time on each exhibit. In the meantime, here I sat thinking, “Wow, when is he going to move on to the next one?”
The case of the Impatient Parent
Let me back track: I appreciated the museum for what my toddler was able to learn from its many exhibits. I loved watching him determine how things work and hearing his squeal at every button pushed. I love all that.
But as an adult who has long ago figured out how doors work and that boats float, I don’t hold the same wonderment.
Other times, I rush him through activities that are a means to an end for me but that my toddler finds fascinating. For instance, I practically dragged him by the hand back home from the park because he insisted on looking at the stoplights flashing behind us.
We also take walks around the block or explore at our nearby park. In the past I would urge him to continue on, saying, “Come along, we’re almost around the corner.” My toddler wouldn’t budge—he stayed put touching sprinklers or collected sticks and leaves.
None of my pressings were successful in getting my toddler to move on, and I’m all the more thankful for that. I’ve since learned to not rush through his activities, no matter how much I would rather move on. Instead, I keep the following points in mind on why I shouldn’t rush a toddler.
Why you shouldn’t rush a toddler:
- Everything is new in a toddler’s world, so even the simplest activities to us can be mind blowing to them. Every environment allows them to learn something new, practice a skill or concept.
- Children know we support and encourage their exploration and critical thinking skills. Their play time isn’t some silly activity we brush aside.
- Given a few years’ time, these “slow” events will no longer intrigue toddlers. I’d rather take advantage of what they can offer my toddler while he still appreciates them.
I’ll admit—taking my time isn’t always so easy. I’m a busy mom with a running to-do list in her head. The last thing I need is to spend 20 minutes standing on a sidewalk watching my toddler pick up acorns. And there have been days when we do have to get somewhere and I have little choice but to rush him along.
That said, I try to remind myself to let him explore at his own pace. I sure wouldn’t want someone rushing me should I land on some amazing find. And I’ve realized that rushing him isn’t exactly effective. The little guy is adamant about staying put or doing something else just as slow.
I’ve stopped bothering with hurrying him along. Now, a walk around the block isn’t a means to an end, a destination to reach. Instead, we take our time as I do my best to block out all the to-dos running through my head.
Get more parenting tips about toddlers here:
- 7 Ways to Teach Your Toddler to Share
- How to Discipline a Toddler Who Deliberately Disobeys
- How to Wake a Sleeping Baby or Toddler Peacefully from a Nap
- The Anxieties of Balancing Newborn and Toddler Needs
- How to Potty Train a Toddler in 3 Days
Tell me in the comments: Have you found yourself feeling impatient with your kids? How so?