Do we hurry our children too much?

About a month ago I stumbled across the French version of this very interesting article in the Huffington Post, The Day I Stopped Saying ‘Hurry Up’ (French version is here), and it really jumped out at me. I realised when I read Rachel Macy Stafford’s story that I utter the words “Hurry up” more often than “I love you”, which is saying something as I say those three words a lot.

Reading this really made me stop and think about how important it is that L hurries up, so I’ve been trying to bite my tongue when it’s tempting to chivvy her along, and I’ve been trying to view the world from a less rushed angle. This is very hard as I feel like a have a forever-long to do list, and I don’t like being late, so it’s not second nature to slow things down a notch for me.

Over the last month (since I first read the post) I have secretly set myself the challenge to not hurry L along, to try and go at her pace, and to try not to stress it. And it has been HARD.

Getting ready in the morning takes 90 minutes. Mealtimes take 1 hour. Bedtime takes 45 minutes, and 15 minutes of that is L’s bedtime story.

So let’s break that down. In the morning L has to get dressed, have breakfast, brush her teeth, have her hair sorted out (to avoid scary, unruly, curly hair) and put her shoes on. For you or me that would be doable in what, 20 minutes, tops? Without me hurrying L it takes her 90 minutes.

The evening meal with no rushing L takes 1 hour – this is one main course with fruit or yogurt as a dessert, so hardly a French banquet.

Bedtime is the worst though. If you’re a parent you know what bedtime is like, it’s that time when you’re so close to “me time”, but it’s the time your child is the most tired and tends to play up the most, cue frayed nerves on one side and tantrums on the other side. L’s bedtime ritual consists of a toilet trip, putting pyjamas on, brushing her teeth and having a 15 minute bedtime story. It takes 45 minutes if she is not hurried along.

I wish I could stop saying “Hurry up” completely as Rachel Macy Stafford has managed to, but for now those words are still not banished. However they have been greatly reduced. And I do try to stop and smell the flowers with L, and to listen to something of vital importance that she has to share with me instead of putting her pyjamas on.

I am very aware that L is already 6, nearly 7, and that very soon she’ll be getting herself ready for bed, then getting up on her own in the morning, then in no time going out into the world on her own, and I won’t share any of these parenting moments with her anymore. So I do try to treasure these moments with her while I still have them.

I challenge you to do the same with your children – can you stop saying “hurry up” completely? Or maybe reduce it to stop and live a little with your little ones? Let me know how you get on.

I’ll leave you with this picture of L from this morning, she still had to brush a teeth, have her hair dealt with (as you can see!), get her school bag ready and put her shoes on. Instead of doing any of this she picked these French books off the bookshelf (now she’s mastered reading in English, she’s decided to learn to read in French too), sat down on the sofa and started to read them out loud. It was so tempting to tell her to stop reading and to hurry up and get ready for school. But I stopped myself, and I let her read, which she loves to do, and I love to hear. And you know what? We were early for school in the end.

Engrossed in her book

Engrossed in her book

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26 Responses

  1. HonestMum says:

    Such a wonderful post, you are so wise! We are always rushing around meeting time restrictions and I try to be as chilled as possible in the mornings. They are still so little and being a little late (especially when there are French books to read/ or Greek!) are worth it x
    HonestMum recently posted…Age 1-10 ‘Tricks’ my Kid Can Do!My Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Thanks, it’s hard to slow things down a notch, but it’s good to have the thought of not always saying “hurry up” in the back of our minds.

  2. jo sandelson says:

    Good for you for letting her be. It’s so hard isnt it to be part of the tic-toc culture and pass that on to the kids. I don’t like being late either so have had to stop myself from the knee jerk reactions I used to have. Ultimately, they enjoy taking responsiblity and at this age really start to get where they need to be and what they need to do to get there without being hassled. Thanks for writing about it.

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Thanks for the back-up, it is hard, I suppose it’s about finding a happy medium.

  3. katie says:

    Oh gosh i’m terrible at this. I am so impatient and i guess sometimes you do just have to be places quickly! We are currently trying to teach our eldest, just turned 3, to get dressed himself and i really have to fight with myself as most mornings we just don’t have the time so i end up doing it all for him.

    I really do need to chill out a bit!

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      When L was 3 I was forever dressing her in the morning as I couldn’t bear the time it took her to do it, but I was working full-time then, so I’m hoping to be able to slow things down a notch with my more flexible working now.

  4. Fabulous post. X
    Munchies and Munchkins recently posted…Super Speedy Suet Pudding – Great Bloggers Bake OffMy Profile

  5. Siobhan@EveryoneElseisNormal says:

    Totally with you here, well done for flagging this up and sharing the Huff Post post. This has been, and continues to be, something I will always need reminding. I know how much kids clocks are not adult ones and how much they need to be themselves, to day dream, to explore and yet i easily get stressed if we’re late for school. I think the problem is that they’re forced to fit in with the adult timetable way too early (i.e. school or child care). I wrote a post on the subject of kids’ time (kairos) vs adult worlds time (chronos) a while back which I think you’d love. Link is here: (tell me if it doesn’t work!) I actually think we ALL need kairos time, the time to day dream and allow things to happen ‘at the right time’. That’s why we tend to do as little as poss on a Saturday or a Sunday, to have no agenda days regularly, and esp in the holidays. Keep up the brilliant work! Its not easy but it will pay off.
    Siobhan@EveryoneElseisNormal recently posted…Things I discovered – September…My Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      We try to have quiet, unscheduled time at the weekend too. I’ll check out your post, thanks.

  6. Natalie says:

    Oh I really love this post as I am often saying hurry up to my boys esp in the morning and forget they are 4 and 6 and I am older than I care to say!

    Thank you for making me stop and think and also realising it isn’t just me who is in a hurry x

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      That’s what it was all about for me, stopping and thinking. Sometimes you do need to say it but I know I say it far more than is necessary.

  7. Jaime Oliver says:

    I am the same and utter those words more than i care to imagine i need to change that! x
    Jaime Oliver recently posted…Social Media Sites Love or Loath?My Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      I think it’s good as a reminder every time you start to say the words – it doesn’t work every time but it has calmed me down a bit.

  8. Kriss MacDonald says:

    I wish I could let my kids slow down but I’m convinced they’d still be putting their socks on when it would be time to go to bed.
    Kriss MacDonald recently posted…How to move or travel with cats or dogs to Britain? Passports for Pets Part 2My Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Ah yes, that sounds very familiar – we’ve now started creating getting dressed races to make speed a fun thing. The things we do!

  9. Kat says:

    I can totally understand how tempting it is to hurry them along. I have 3 boys and it is a wonder we leave the house at all some days let alone be on time. Getting the three of them ready is hugely stressful and the worst one is Big (13). All through the summer holidays I got the babies to nursery on time and got me to work early. I have been late nearly every day since he went back to school!
    I have yet to find a constructive way of speeding up our mornings but I will pop back and share them if I do
    Good Luck xx

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Do share if you’ve got any suggestions. I dread to think what I’ll be like once I’ve got two that need hurrying along, as at the moment the baby goes at my speed!

  10. Christine says:

    I’m guilty of saying ‘hurry up’ too much as well. Having said that, I don’t think the kids would get to school or I’d get to work in time if I didn’t say something! #pocolo

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      That’s exactly it for me too – it’s hard to find the compromise. Thanks for popping over and commenting.

  11. Verily Victoria Vocalises says:

    My daughter is the same age as yours and I find myself doing exactly this although I have toned it down over the last couple of months. My OH is worse though – and he rushes Grace AND me!! I’m going to show him this post! Thanks for linking to PoCoLo x
    Verily Victoria Vocalises recently posted…A Review of Clean Ovens Domestic LtdMy Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Hubs is bad too, he’s convinced that we’re the ones making him late all the time….

  12. That is a challenge you’ve set – and a very good one. I wish it was just “hurry up” that I needed to own up to saying. The more abrupt “just move it” gets used a fair bit, too. But this week I’ll see if I can be more chilled.
    Touchline Dad recently posted…1, 2, 3, ‘andstandMy Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Don’t worry, variations on the theme of “hurry up” are/were very common here too, but we’re working on it bit by bit.

  13. Oh wow this really resonated with me – I feel like every other word for me is ‘hurry’. It can take half an hour to get Curly Girl up and dressed in the morning, another half an hour to eat 5 or 6 bites of breakfast.. arrrgghhh!! But you’re so right. She is only four and does it really matter if she is a few minutes late for school? No. So I’ll accept your challenge and try my best to give up the hurry up. Great post x

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