I’ve often seen service dogs, or dogs that are in training, wearing little vests that tell people they encounter what they’re up to. They ask people not to pet them, or to give them some space, or other things that save their handlers having to make explanations 20 times a day about why you can’t pet their dog, or why they are, in fact, allowed to take their dog into a place that otherwise wouldn’t allow them. They’re kind of like the “Student Driver” signs on cars — they let everyone know that the erratic driving they might witness is for a good reason and they might want to put their patient pants on for 5 minutes. They’re different ways of kindly saying, “Important stuff is happening here. Try not to freak out.”
I’m thinking of inventing the same thing for my kids. Little vests that they could wear which would remind people, “I’m learning to be a grown up human, but I haven’t finished my training yet. Please be patient with me.” Or, “I’m just being a kid, please leave me be.” Because I think we all forget. I think we spend a lot of effort trying to get our kids to “behave” or “quiet down” or “settle down”, when they’re just being kids. Don’t get me wrong — part of learning to be a grown up human includes practicing sitting still on the bus, waiting patiently in line and being quiet in a restaurant. They should be working on those things. But they’re just practicing and learning, and we adults, I think sometimes we forget.
So I think I’ll invent little vests, or maybe hats, that remind the people they encounter to remember that they need a little more space, a little more patience, and sometimes some special consideration. I could use the reminder, too, since my kids hear “Hush!”, and “Sit still!” more from me than from the rest of the world combined.