WFMW: Help Me Get the Kids Ready On Time!

Wednesday April 1, 2009
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It’s been a while since I particiated in “Works for Me Wednesday”, so it may be cheating to resume with this “backwards” edition.  But the idea this week is instead of posting a solution, I post a problem and YOU, faithful readers (and anyone else who wanders in) – share your solution.

My delimma this week (and every day of every week) is how do I get the kids up and moving so we are where we need to go ON TIME?  The baby is easy, he wakes on his own and is waiting on me.  The older two (5 & 3) have reached that age where they sleep in and when they do wake up, they move like molasses.   They are capable of being self-sufficient (dress themselves, brush their own teeth), but it is like pulling teeth to get them moving in the morning.  I end up resorting to nagging, pleading, and threatening to get them ready so we can get out the door on time.

It is so NOT how I want to start my day.  So…what works for you?

This post is part of the WFMW series, now hosted at the We Are THAT Family blog.

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15 Responses to WFMW: Help Me Get the Kids Ready On Time!

  1. 1
    Megan says:

    A few ideas. one – we have an iron-clad rule in our house – you don’t come downstairs until you are fully dressed. So no breakfast or anything else til dressed. two – if you don’t get down in time, breakfast is eaten in the car. We usually end up with granola bars or poptarts in the car. three – take them to school in their pjs. We have only done it once, and she got dressed in the parking lot likity split when we arrived at school. Good luck!

  2. 2
    LaLa says:

    This is an area we are still working on, but one thing that helps my 8 year old is letting him know that bedtime will be earlier that night if he doesn’t get ready on time.

    Something else that helps is kind of what your last commenter was saying. They can eat and watch cartoons once everything else is done. Word to the wise though – make sure the cartoon will be over before you need to leave or you’ve just created a whole new problem for yourself! =)

    As a last resort, you could always follow them around with a spray bottle of water and squirt them if they get to slow. I’m not saying I’ve ever done that though. Ahem…..;)

  3. 3

    You have a three year old that sleeps in? And a five year old? How do you define sleeping in? I mean, SERIOUSLY.

  4. 4
    Kendra says:

    LL – the secret to getting them to sleep in is to HAVE TO BE SOMEWHERE! If you guys HAD to leave the house each morning, I guarantee they’d start sleeping til half past inconvenient. LOL. For the record, mine will generally wake around 7:30, lay in bed or otherwise dawdle until 8ish, at which point I start beating the drum, yanking the sheets, etc. Actually, I usually go in around 7:45, open the blinds, give my cheery good morning sunshines and let them hang for a bit longer. But they need to be eating breakfast by 8:30 to catch their ride at 8:45 to get to preschool by 9. And we do have the rule you need to be: dressed, pottied, and teeth brushed before breakfast, but it is still pulling teeth. I think I need to let the consequences happen instead of “making” them be ready…

  5. 5
    Sharon says:

    I think it’s hard to get ones that age to do a whole lot independently–they aren’t developmentally completely ready yet. We have a 3 & 4 1/2year old. Actually, the 3 yr old is a AM person and it is no problem for him to be up and dressed/done before anyone in the house. The 4 year old is much slower so I usually start on him earlier. He needs me to pick out his clothes yet and wants me dress him, although I don’t do that much anymore. I encourage him a LOT more than the 3yr old. I also talk a lot about what we are doing and usually, it motivates them. I am sure to point out their fav parts such as a park we’re visiting or if we are going to the store, what they can do to help participate.

  6. 6
    Renee says:

    I misread the title of your post and I got all excited because I thought you were going to share how you get your kids out of the house on time.

    We do the same rules as you and the first poster – you have to be dressed to eat breakfast. I put out Wendy’s clothes and walk away. He does much better if I leave the room. Lydia who just turned two in February can dress almost as fast as he can.

    I am going to do a quick blog post with a funny picture and point people to your site to give you more advice.

  7. 7
    Nancy says:

    Renee, directed me over here to leave advice, but sorry I just came to get it. Thanks for the ideas! 🙂 Sorry I’m not of any help!!

  8. 8
    JMBMOMMY says:

    Wow, I am like the other commentor—a 3 and 5 year old that sleep in REALLY??????? My 3 year old is my alarm clock every morning at 6:00!!! So I totally can’t relate–ugh! 🙂 I don’t really have a problem with my 5 year old…but we leave at 7:40 and I wake her up at 6:30—so it gives her an hour to eat, dress, brush teeth, make her bed, and potty 🙂 The days I oversleep—are horrible! I would agree that if she didn’t get up willingly and ready to move…I would make her go to bed earlier…and I have no doubt she would hate that.

  9. 9
    monica says:

    I wish I could be of some help but since I am usually the last one dressed, pottied, and with brushed teeth…I will just have to read your tips to Amanda and see if she can teach me to be on time. I am trying harder now that she has started telling me she hates to be late and it makes her nervous! Yikes! I better get a groove on!

  10. 10
    Pat R says:

    Hi kendra,
    Wow, bet the idea from Megan would work! Sam is such a clothes horse, doesn’t seem he would want to go into school with his pj’s on—on the other hand, he might think it was great…hmmm.
    Have you ever looked at the http://www.HouseFairy.org website? It is an offshoot of FlyLady and it getting kids organized generally. You might find some some helpful hints there.

  11. 11
    mombrud says:

    We found a wonderfulsystem called “Children’s Miracle Music” http://www.childrensmiraclemusic.com/
    It is a little bit of an investment but it has been working for us for over 2 years! Sometimes we will stop it for a while but we always go back! We have changed up the reward system to keep it fresh. I would recommend it. Every morning isn’t a scene from a perfect Disney movie but it is much better than the threats and screaming! Our kids are 9,6,4 and 18 mo. Our 4 yr old is just getting started with it but that is because the CD is in the older kids’ room. It may take some supervision for the first little while to get them”trained” but it is worth it to have manageable mornings most of the time. And it has another CD to get them to bed! Bonus!

  12. 12
    Buffy says:

    OK so this was a major issue this fall when it was time to take J to school. G is a sleeper and on weekends sleeps in until 9 if we let her. So after many painful mornings, I resorted to a reward chart. We don’t use this anymore because it’s old hat now, but it definitely worked. Every morning she has to do all of the following in between 7:45 (when I wake her) and 8:45 (when we need to be pulling out of the driveway). Eat breakfast, Get dressed, Make her bed, Brush her teeth, wash her face, Mouthwash, Brush her hair. On my chart there is a picture for each of those. She got a sticker for each one that she did so 8 for a day. If she was successful with stickers for the week, she got a prize. (Like a new lite brite refill or a pet pal). This took about 2-3 weeks and she got it. We took a small break and now it’s much simpler. She knows if she doesn’t do all of these things it’s no Leapster in the car. (only place we let her do Leapster) But I felt like the initial step by step positive reinforcement was needed first to accomplish the morning ritual. Too many steps for there little brains to consume. Hope that helps!

  13. 13
    Laura Ross says:

    After getting the kids up, I go downstairs and play fun music and try to dance with them. I also believe that even my 11 year old needs 10-11 hours of sleep so we have bed time here at 7:00, the older kids can stay up and read if they want to but lights out completely by 8.

    I have learned that some are early risers and some aren’t and the natural consequences are very effective. (Though they can leave with messy hair but not smelly breath, the teachers still have to work with them!)

  14. 14
    Christie says:

    My blog is entitled “Pop Rocks for Breakfast” because that is how I get my daughter up in the morning. She is NOT a morning person at all (none of us are), but if I offer a fun treat, she springs right out of bed. So I may be a terrible Mom (cringe), but we are always on time to school… 🙂 Bubble Yum and ice cream work just as well (and of course, I throw in some cereal or a granola bar, so she actually is getting normal food too!).

  15. 15
    Melissa D says:

    Same problem here with my 3-yr old daughter…. I finally had to get her up a half hour earlier and spend a few minutes with her in my lap cuddling. (usually just 3 or 4)… Then I’d sit her in the kitchen to watch me make breakfast. She just needs more time to get to that waked-up point. So does my husband, so I’m used to it — I am one of those who jumps out of bed rarin’ to go and can get ready in 10 mins down to makeup and shoes, so it’s not how I roll, but I have to respect their internal clocks if at all possible. 🙂

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