3 Tips to Get Your Morning Dawdler Moving

Kids and morning chaos

Are your mornings chaotic?

***Join us March 15 for a FREE webinar: Get Kids to Listen without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling. For more info, click here!***

Ahhhh… the good ‘ol morning hustle and bustle. Wasn’t easy before kids and certainly takes Olympian efforts now. Fortunately, Amy McCready, founder of Positive Parenting Solutions, gives her tips for easing the a.m. routine.

From Amy:

“It’s time to get dressed.”
“Come on – breakfast is ready.”
“How many times do I have to tell you that it’s time to leave for school?”
“Please hurry up!”

Does this sound like a typical morning in your house? If your kids move as slow as molasses in winter, you’re not alone. Morning dawdling is one of the most common complaints from parents of toddlers to teens.

Dawdling is defined as “taking more time than necessary, to move lackadaisically, or to linger.” My mother called it “dilly dallying.” No matter the definition, dawdling can turn a perfectly good morning into a nightmare!

No parent enjoys the endless nagging, pleading, negotiating and yelling that goes along with getting the kids out the door on time, and with everything they need for the day. But take heart: there’s no need to face this struggle every morning. The following three tips will help get your family out the door every morning, with no yelling required.

1. Put kids in charge of the morning. Kids as young as 3 years old can be responsible for turning off their own alarm clocks and getting ready for the day. To get out of the reminding business, work together to create a checklist (with words or pictures) of the tasks that have to be completed each morning and put your child in charge of getting everything done. Give your child a clip board and let him check each item off the list as it’s completed and feel the sense of accomplishment that comes from being independent.

2. Tame the morning nag-fest by implementing “when-then” routines A when-then routine is a tool to help your kids stay motivated to get everything done in the morning—even the “yucky” stuff like brushing teeth and getting dressed. Essentially, it structures your morning so that all the not-so-fun tasks are completed before the most desirable part of the morning like breakfast (or morning playtime, TV time, etc.). Let them use the morning checklist as a reminder of the order in which things are to be done.

Your family’s when-then routine, which you create in advance, might sound like, “When you’re dressed, your hair is combed, the bed is made, and your backpack and lunch box are by the door, then breakfast will be served.” If your kids show up to the table in pajamas with their hair a mess, you can smile and calmly say, “When everything in your morning routine is finished, then we’ll have breakfast.” Then simply walk away so you’re not available for whining or negotiating.

3. Low stress mornings start with you. The first step in your family’s morning routine is to get yourself up and ready to go first. Make sure you are up, dressed and caffeinated before your kids put their feet on the floor. While it’s tempting to sleep until the last possible minute, remember the mirror effect: your children will take their cues from you. If you are relaxed and prepared, they will be too. Anxious and rushed is no way to start the school day for you or your kids.

These tools will work wonders to remove you—and any nagging, yelling and reminding you’re prone to do—from the situation each morning at your house, and train your children to be more independent and responsible at the same time.

** Breezy Mama and Positive Parenting Solutions (as seen on the Today Show) are teaming up for a FREE webinar: Get Kids to Listen without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling. Join us March 15 at 8pm pacific to learn:

  • why kids really misbehave – it’s probably not what you think!
  • how your personality may actually fuel misbehavior
  • why “Time Out” and “Counting 1-2-3″ make misbehaviors worse
  • the 5 R’s of Fair & Effective Consequences so kids listen the first time you ask
  • tools & strategies to Wean Whining, Tame Tantrums and reduce parenting stress

To reserve your space, click here!***

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About Amy McCready:
Amy McCready is the founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and mom to two boys, ages 12 and 14. Positive Parenting Solutions provides a comprehensive online parenting course and unparalleled problem solving support for parents of toddlers to teens.

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  1. Thanks for this article! Very timely! I will work on implementing these tips tomorrow! (This morning was especially filled with “dilly dallying” after the 3 day weekend!)

  2. Susie — I’m with you! Lots of “hurry up” going on in my house -lol. Definitely trying Amy’s tips 😉

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