Write me: rebecca@positive-parents.org

You need to be out the door in 5 minutes, and your child is still in his underwear.

Bedtime was 15 minutes ago, and someone still hasn’t brushed her teeth or got her PJs on.

Dawdling is frustrating. Kids don’t move at the crazed and rushed adult pace that we’ve grown accustomed to. Young children also don’t understand the concept of time and what “15 minutes” really means.

Here are some tips to reduce dawdling.

1. Start earlier! If you know you have a dawdler, rather than spend every morning or evening gritting your teeth in frustration, make a simple adjustment to your start time. Get up a bit earlier. Start the bedtime routine 30 minutes earlier.

2. Plan ahead. If mornings are usually a nightmare, do as much as you can the night before. Lay out clothes, pack lunches, gather backpacks, etc.

3. Give your a choice between 2 or 3 things. If she spends 45 minutes trying to figure out what to wear, lay out 2 or 3 options for her. Offer 2 breakfast or bedtime snack choices. If she doesn’t like your options, she’s likely to pick faster tomorrow.

4. Use a timer. If they take ages to get ready for bedtime, set the timer for a set amount of minutes. They need to be in bed and ready when the timer goes off or else they may miss story time.

5. Create a visual chart. These are really helpful for young children. It takes the nagging out of the routine because they can clearly see what happens next. Give them “completed” pockets or a chart to tick off for a sense of accomplishment.

Loving Courageously Through Dawdling:

1. Take the time to connect. Carve out 2 or 3 minutes during the rush to offer a hug and words of encouragement.

2. Let natural consequences unfold but be kind and empathetic about it. If they didn’t make it on time for the story, don’t give in and read the story but refrain from a superior “that’s what you get” attitude which will take away from the lesson. “I’m really sorry we don’t have time for a story. I was looking forward to it, too. I hope we have time tomorrow night. I love you.”

What changes can you make in your routine to lessen dawdling and frustration?

Join me tomorrow for “Loving Courageously Through Lying.”


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