How many times have you been trying to get somewhere fast and your little one dawdled, picking up every pebble and pointing out every snail while you snap at them 'come on, I know you can go quicker because I can hardly catch you sometimes'? I promise they aren't doing this to be aggravating. It's just that children are scientists, they wonder, they experiment, they observe, they question all the time. The Velcro fastening on their shoe that they just have to keep unpeeling for the millionth time while you are trying to get out of the front door is just fascinating to them, they can't help it. Often we are in a rush and just have to take a deep breath and help them to get to where we need to be.
To balance this when we can it's good to try to relax and let them explore. Perhaps that beach walk you'd planned might only progress a few yards, but let go of your frustration that they literally leave no stone unturned and just go with it.
As adults we block out much of the information reaching our brains from our senses as we need speed of thinking more than attention to detail. Adults often see a beach full of pebbles that are pretty much like every other pebble on the beach. For kids however each pebble really is different, and all those different colours and shapes and textures must be explored.
We learn a great deal from our children, as clichéd as that sounds. For many of us that lesson is that it is good to let go of our mental to-do list and just take a really good look at some bugs visiting a Sea Kale flower. If we constantly hurry little children and tell them to stop looking, listening, touching then right from the start we are crushing the scientist out of them, only to moan later on that older kids in the science lab don't want to make their own observations, they just want to copy the 'correct' answer from a book or the internet. This then is a plea to let kids stop and stare.
Slowing down when we can and being present in the moment is good for our own mental wellbeing, and it is also a lovely way to connect with kids and make them feel validated because we are taking an interest in the things they want to show us. Maybe on our list of things to do tomorrow we can pencil in 'go stare at stuff on the ground'.