I have a bad habit that I am actively trying to fix. It has to do with mornings. While I make sure that my son sleeps enough and has plenty of time to get ready for school (and now camp) in the morning, it all comes crashing down in the five minutes before we head out the door.
This is where it all goes wrong: Five minutes before we leave, I tell my son to turn off all the lights upstairs, make sure there's nothing on the floor to trip over, come downstairs, put his shoes on and grab his backpack and lunch. And because I say it all in one breath, invariably, most of that list doesn't get done.
Instead, he will come downstairs, put on his shoes and look at me, struggling to remember all the other directions on the list. Because it is not his list of activities, it's my list, so his brain was only half-engaged when I rattled it off.
I need to give him one or two activities at a time in a non-hurried way, so he can learn to prioritize and stay on track.
Most children (including my son) can complete a list of two- to three commands during toddlerhood. It is because of the rush of getting him out the door - the switch from the ease of the morning to the command of "move out" that is making him flustered and forgetful.
All children need help with learning self-regulation: The ability to focus on the primary task at hand. That link explores how games like "Simon Says" give kids the chance to practice that one task at a time. By the time they are older, like my son's age, they need the structure of routines to help them focus on what happens next.
And, because our morning routine includes me rushing him out the door, I need to fix the timing on my end.
That's totally doable. I just need to focus on one task at a time, too.
What tips do you have to help children stay focused on one task at a time? Tell me in the comments.