how to handle dawdling

Stay connected

Rushing around shouting orders and nagging can frazzle and discourage a child. The possibility of having to separate from you for all or part of the day can certainly be a factor that could be slowing a child down as well. Build in enough time in the morning to find a moment to connect, even if it is brief. Great ways to stay connected are to have a family breakfast, build in enough time to have a morning snuggle before the morning routine starts and checking in with each other for a hug between say, putting on shoes and actually heading out the door.

Adjust timing & expectations

Make sure you are waking up with enough time to get your things done but also with enough time to be supportive of your child(ren). Some children are happy to go through their routine all on their own, other young children still prefer to have help, even at five or six years of age. So, if your three year old needs help getting a shirt buttoned up or your five year old needs help getting hair detangled, or if your child needs company and encouragement, being available and having that time always built in to the routine is really important. On the flip side, if your child wants privacy to get cleaned and dressed, respect that, just let them know when you will be leaving and then, follow through.

Give choices but keep them limited

Children love to make choices but choosing what to wear, what to eat, which task to do first all while being on a time crunch can be overwhelming for some children. By limiting the choices, a child still has control over certain decisions but can better navigate the morning routine. For example, have a set menu for breakfast with two options you know your child will eat is more time efficient than asking “what do you want for breakfast?” and waiting for the answer, just to discover you don’t even have what they asked for in the house.