Updated: Jul 7, 2019
Decisions, decisions, decisions... Have you ever kept track of all the decisions you make every day?
ALL. DAY. LONG.
You hear, "Mom, which pair of jeans should I wear?" You empower your child, “You decide, dear.”
Elementary school uniforms got my vote. They cut out a lot of decision making. But, high school.... that's a whole different topic.
Time is ticking and you realize that breakfast isn't happening since the clock is begging you to get the kids out the door. You grab the protein bars, thrust them into each child's hands, and with amazing lightning speed you zip up their coats. Proud of your quick decision.
But now you begin to second guess that breakfast choice.
After dropping off the children, you head to work albeit to an office or back home, it doesn't matter because you are still faced with more decisions.
"Where do I file this receipt?" "When should I start dinner?" But first..."What's for dinner?"
Sorting the laundry...whites, colors, darks...."What do you do with multi-colored garments?”
What if the decision you make causes more decisions?
You decide to make your child's favorite dessert. You wonder out loud, "Do I have all the ingredients? Where is the recipe? How much sugar...."
What's worse, you say? INDECISION.
"I don't know, mom," as your child shrugs their shoulders while quizzing them on which book they want to read as you stand in the middle of the library.
And then the ‘last minute’ indecision..."What is your report going to be about?” “How will you write it before tomorrow’s deadline?"
Silence. A shoulder shrug.
An utterly exhausted child stands before you. They have had their fair share of decision-making for the day.
THEY. ARE. DONE.
The speed at which some children process language can make the difference between feeling confident and feeling overwhelmed.
Making a decision requires processing language efficiently.
What is Slow Processing Speed?
Slow processing speed has nothing to do with the intelligence of the child. It simply means that the brain goes through the motions of understanding language, weighing options, and deciding which option is the best at a slower pace than their peers.
How Does Slow Processing Speed Affect Executive Skills?
Let’s clarify an often made mistake. Processing speed is not an executive skill, but it can affect executive function.
Slow processing speed impacts working memory, flexible thinking, organization & planning, and attention skills.
Children with slow processing speed will often stop paying attention in class because they can’t keep pace with the lesson.
"Sometimes my brain thinks as slowly as a snail crawling through peanut butter."
So imagine how exhausting you can become by the end of the day when the day has been spent on processing language in slow motion.
Always feeling like you are two steps behind everyone else.
What Are Some Slow Processing Speed Interventions That Can Reduce the Overwhelm of Making Decisions?
This is the way the brain thinks. It can not be sped up. But, systems can be put into place to lessen the decision-making stress.
5 Ways to Lessen Decision-Making Overwhelm Using These Slow Processing Speed Interventions
ORGANIZING your child's room, backpack, even creating a predictable routine in the morning and evening can relieve the load of decision-making.
HELP your child hold information as they are processing language to make a decision.
TEACH your child to use imagery when they hear language. Hook information onto the images. Help them to imagine their decisions...right or wrong.
USE their image to make sense of language to formulate the correct decision. Then test their decision by moving their image forward in time. What do they see?
GIVE your child a couple choices. They can 'play' the choices in their image and SEE which decision is best. Finally, they can connect language to that image.
Understanding how your child processes language, giving them the time to process, and then allowing them to out-put their decision at their own pace will help to build their confidence and feeling of worth.
I outlined what slow processing speed is and how it affects Executive Function skills of memory, thinking, focus, planning and attention.
I discussed 5 ways to lessen the overwhelm of making decisions using slow processing speed interventions.
I’m willing to bet every parent wants their child to succeed, feel valued and have the desire to dream about how they will impact their world.
Blessings to my readers,
P.S. Give your child(ren) a hug today. Tell them how proud you are of them.
P.P.S. As for that little snail, I bet it will be FIST PUMPING to celebrate when he makes it through the peanut butter.