Creative Child

Speed Up the Dawdler

by Sarah Lyons

Is your family always running late? Do you find yourself frustratingly repeating phrases like “Hurry!”, “Let’s go!”, or “Come on! We are going to be late!” every morning? Like many families, you may have a dawdler living in your house. Getting kids ready for the day and out the door, especially on school mornings, is challenging for any parent but when you have one (or more) children that seem to take their time every morning, getting anywhere on time can seem impossible. Here are some tips to help you speed up the dawdler in your family.

Set limits

Typically, dawdlers are easily distracted. Many times, I have sent my son upstairs for some socks and he has come back down barefoot carrying a toy plane. Reduce distractions by limiting toys and screen time (for both parents and kids) in the morning. Remind them that there will be plenty of time for play after school when their homework and chores are complete.

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Make it a competition

Many parents have success getting their dawdler to pick up the pace by creating a game or competition for them. Holly Searls, Olathe mom of four says, “We set timers for everything. There is usually a motivator connected to the timer. For example, if they beat the timer, they get to stay up later. A negative consequence may be losing TV time.” DeAnne Turley, Kansas City, KS mother of three, uses a sticker chart to motivate her kids. For example, if they are ready on time they get a sticker and if they collect 30 stickers they get a date night with the parent of their choice. Creating a competition or game out of each task in the morning is a great way to keep your child on task.

Be prepared

There are so many things to remember in the morning. Is there orchestra today? Practice after school? What’s for lunch? Do you have your math homework? The stress of these last minute questions can be greatly reduced by preparing the night before. “Choices seem to slow us down the most.” says Krystal Laws, Olathe mother of seven. “We pick out clothes the night before and lay shoes by the door. This makes the mornings run smoother.” Loading backpacks, packing lunches, and setting out any sports equipment or instruments the night before will help everyone feel more prepared the next morning and focus on the goal of getting out the door on time.

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