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WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR KIDS MOVE SLOWLY IN THE MORNING

With multiple kids getting ready at the same time, I needed everyone to be getting ready to head out the door on time.

"...My kids move so slow in the morning, especially our 8 year old... we needed our mornings to run more smoothly."

One of our readers recently told me how her morning looked... Here is what she wrote:

6:00: Time to wake up. I go in and gently wake her.
6:15: "Honey, you have got to get out of bed. Come on."
6:20: I pull the covers off of her.
6:22: She walks downstairs, with his comforter wrapped around her shoulders.
6:25: I throw her clothes downstairs for her.
6:30: Reminder to get dressed.
6:33: Reminder to get dressed.

Time is slipping away and she hasn't eaten, brushed her teeth or packed her backpack. I have 30 minutes to get everything done and I have two other children to get up and ready to go. Soon, she is grumpy and we are running late. I lose my temper and it only makes things worse..."

I understand. I have one like that, too. Here is what we did that changed things (and some great advice from our Facebook Friends):

  • My daughter used to drag the chain in the mornings until I drove her to school in her pajamas and told her she had to wear them to school. When she got upset I got out her clothes and she changed in the car. I told her it would be the last time I had her clothes in the car and if she wasn't ready when I needed her to be ready then she would go as she was. Sounds harsh but she is always ready now. ~Michelle Di Micco
  • My daughter was not a morning person. I would give her an Apple juice in bed about 20 minutes before she needed to get up. It made a huge difference, maybe she needed a sugar hit to get going. Well worth the effort. ~Margaret Austin
  • I had one child that would not pick up her clothes before going to school, I took everyone else to school then brought her home to pick up the clothes. She went late and was embarrassed to go late with an honest note about why... ~Deborah Bellinger
  • Set the rules, walk out the door so she is in charge of herself and enforce consequences.
  • Put her to bed earlier. I put my kids to bed at 7:00, so the mornings are a little easier.
  • Be sure that your child isn't having trouble at school. Being bullied at school is a great reason to stall getting ready for school in the morning.
  • Warn her before bed of what will happen if she carries on in the morning. Devise a punishment and stick to it. ~Deb Cornett
  • Don't worry too much about breakfast, but try this little trick for kids who don't want breakfast.
  • If your child has trouble waking, try setting a pre-alarm for about 2 minutes before you go in to wake her up.
  • Have you asked her why she behaves like she does? Not in the morning but in the afternoon when you are both calm. Ask her to create her own timetable and set her own rewards and punishment when things go good/bad. Then stick to what she has set. Might take some negotiation but worth a try. Tell her you are giving her the responsibility as she is older. ~Essie May
  • Don't ask her to get ready, tell her. Give her a choice as to when she can get ready. I've made the mistake asking my kids "are you ready for bed?" They of course reply "no" then when I start pushing them to get ready for bed; I get resistance. If I say "We need to get ready for bed time, do you want to read a story before or do you want to get ready for bed then read a story?" Then they have control on when, but ultimately they are going to bed on time. ~Heather Kimbrell
  • I feel the same lately. Couple of things: My 7 yrs old sleeps in her school clothes. After bath we get dressed, she wears leggings and shirts most of the time anyway. In a.m. all we have to do is redo her ponytail, brush teeth, socks and shoes. Also all 3 of mine eat in the car...boys toast sandwiches (they also eat at school) and she lately has been eating fruit or toast as well. I just don't have time for that struggle. We have sit down breakfast on weekends or the day I work from home. Also I make sure everything is laid out, prepared or already in car the night before. If I'm less stressed, everyone is. ~Amber McClain
  • We have a list on my son's wall of his morning jobs. They include getting dressed, putting his lunch in his backpack, putting his dirty clothes in the hamper, making his bed, brushing his teeth and wiping off the sink in the bathroom. We started by him earning a star every time he did his jobs without being asked and in a certain time frame. If he got 4/5 stars he earned a family activity on the weekend. But now he doesn't get any reward it is just expected. ~Katie Robinson
  • As the mom of 3 grown children and a 16 year veteran as a preschool teacher I know you have to find out what works for her, each child is different. Maybe she doesn't fully understand the passing of time; I like an old fashioned egg timer for this. Set the timer and tell her what she needs to accomplish in amount of time. Make it small tasks not(pj's off, then clothes on, etc.) not the entire time limit till you leave. Perhaps she does need to lay down the law, so to speak, and she ends up in the car with pj's on dressing in the parking lot. Or maybe just put her to bed dressed. ~Beverly Paris
  • It can be hard when your kids are tired, so try an earlier bedtime and try holding your kids accountable in the mornings (warning: this will be harder for you than for your child!)

Mornings can be stressful as it is, so try to make your mornings as easy as possible and have a GREAT day!

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