Beyond Games: Speed Up a Slow-Moving Child

Does your child seem to take hours to complete homework that should only take minutes? Does he struggle to get ready for school on time every morning? A slow-moving child who is sluggish about getting things done often cannot help it. Many of these kids simply take longer than their peers to complete tasks, even if they appear to be fully engaged and attentive. A slow-moving child might need an extra 15 minutes to get ready for school in the morning or eat his dinner in the evening. In this edition of the LearningWorks for Kids Beyond Games series we suggest strategies that can help the slow-moving child.

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Help a child develop an appropriate sense of urgency.  Tell him that he will have time for a favorite activity only if he completes a task or assignment by a certain time (and stick to it!).  It is important not to overemphasize a sense of urgency, however, particularly with children who are prone to being anxious or overly self-critical. But an appropriate sense of urgency can generally help children who delay starting or seek distractions.

Discuss the passage of time. Introduce concepts such as “time flies” when a child is immersed in an activity. Help him to understand that engaging in a very interesting job or being really focused in class could make him less likely to watch the clock and wonder when something will be over. However, this could work against him if he is involved in playing a game or having fun and loses track of time. Point out that he needs to keep track of time in order to be able to complete homework or chores on schedule.

Use time out from work and breaks to increase the pace of work completion. Five- to 10-minute exercise breaks can help a child with time management. These could include anything from jogging in place to doing a set of push-ups to walking around the classroom.

Give warnings and rewards. Provide alerts to get your child prepared to act and move. Small rewards such as the chance to choose the radio station in the car or a small food treat can be helpful when you set reasonable expectations for a slow moving child.

Complementing these core strategies with the use of apps, websites, and other technologies often leads to the best solutions to improving a child’s ability to keep track of time. Some of the best tech tools to help a child with tracking time include:


mytime Organizer is a professional-grade productivity app functional enough for adults to use at work and accessible enough for use by school-age kids. Users are able to organize their short- and long-term tasks into colorful blocks that act as individual stop-watches. Perfect for helping build time management, planning, self-awareness, and organization skills while keeping track of chores, schoolwork, and other responsibilities.


HabitRPGHabitRPG is an web- and mobile-based app that makes tracking tasks and chores a bit more exciting. RPG in the gaming world means Role Playing Game, and that’s what kids will feel like they are participating in as they get virtual rewards for real-life actions.  In-game gold, items, and level-ups will incentivize kids to stop procrastinating and get going.


Scholastic-Reading-TimerSometimes kids need help improving time management and self-control when it comes to a specific area. Kids who have trouble with reading might resist practicing doing so, and the Scholastic Reading Timer is a good solution to that problem. Kids can keep track of their reading list and time spent reading and parents can check their child’s statistics.

Featured image: Flickr user Leah Tautkute

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