It never fails. Every single time I am ready to make a transition from one activity to the next or from one location to another, the pleads begin. “Just five more minutes, pleeeaaassse?”. Almost reactionary, I bark “No!” I think “How could I give you five more minutes? This will completely throw off the meticulous schedule we have to follow!” But, then I pause. I backtrack. “Okay, five more minutes, but then we have to go,” I say.
Most parents would agree that structure, consistency and a plan is important for children. I, personally, thrive on structure. I also think that my children appreciate their understanding of our typical daily plan. For a child, knowing where they are going, when they are going and why they are going, is important for their level of comfort with the plan. Any feelings of anxiety are typically dispelled when the order of events is understood and accepted. Still, too much of a deadline-driven schedule can ultimately be harmful to your child.
Here is why we should say “YES” when our children ask us for five more minutes:
— Five more minutes gives your child a welcomed (and sometimes necessary) feeling of control.
–Five more minute gives your child some independence to have that time for which to do something of their own choosing, since you did not plan out that time.
–Five more minutes allows for your child’s creativity to take over.
–Five more minutes encourages your child to delve deeper into whatever it is they are doing.
–Five more minutes is five more minutes for them to learn in their present environment.
–Five more minutes is important for making your child comfortable with the upcoming transition.
–Five more minutes gives you the time to walk your child through the transition process. Having the knowledge, and even the option to contribute to what will be happening next in the day for them, is empowering.
–Five more minutes slows down your pace. Whether you desire to slow down or not, doing so, will benefit you–I promise.
–Five more minutes gives your child a chance to wind down before moving on to the next activity or to a new location.
Overall, the benefit of giving your child “just five more minutes” outweighs the crinkle that it may throw into your strict plan for the day. Empowering children to help direct their day, increases their happiness and we all know that increased happiness for them equals increased happiness for you (and of course, less meltdowns–yours and theirs).