Is getting your child ready for school on time going to make you pull all your hair out before Columbus Day?? Then this tip is for you…
During my oldest child’s kindergarten year (after the excitement wore off), getting her ready for school felt like a battle. Every. Single. Day. I felt like I was nagging her every step of the way – finish your breakfast, get your teeth brushed – and the hair, oh, the hair. Ugh.
Then I came up with this idea:
On a write-on / wipe-off marker board I made her schedule. Since she couldn’t read yet or tell time, I drew her schedule in pictures (with the words also). First I drew three “clocks”. On each one I drew the hands of the clock at 15 minute intervals (7:30, 7:45, 8:00), so she could gauge her progress. Underneath each I drew the thing she needed to have completed by that time. For example, under 7:30, she needed to have completed her breakfast, so I drew a bowl of cereal. Under 7:45 I drew clothes – she’d have to get dressed by then. Under 8:00 I drew a toothbrush and a hairbrush – she needed to have those tasks completed by that time.
And the motivator – if she completed each task on time, that earned her a half hour of TV after school. And it worked like a charm for the rest of the year. She would even often be ready for school much earlier than her schedule required. It was really amazing to see what a difference it made to give her the responsibility of getting ready on time, or choosing to suffer the consequences if she didn’t.
A word of warning, though. Be prepared to follow through with the consequences. In other words, when she didn’t complete a task on time, she missed out on a TV show. Regardless of the whining, complaining, or arguing. And believe me, there was some of that at the beginning. But just as with any kind of discipline, if you stick to it, your child will stop trying to use the whining, complaining, or arguing to manipulate you.
So try this out and let me know if it works for you!