How to Deal with Kids That Won't Get Ready in the Morning
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This is not what you need to see when you're trying to get out the door in the morning.

Who doesn't want to spend the day at home in her pajamas once in a while? Adults, however, know that's not an option if bills are to be paid and chores are to be done. Young children can't comprehend mommy's explanations about the importance of day care and school, so motivating them is a bit trickier than motivating yourself. You can deal with kids that won't get ready in the morning, you just have to adjust your expectations and plan.


  1. 1
    Think about everyone's morning needs. Do you need time to get ready before dealing with the kiddo? Does your preschooler need cuddle time or play time each morning?
  2. 2
    Write a list of tasks that need to be done to get out the door. See how many you can move to the night before and how many you can skip.
  3. 3
    Write down some short activities or routines that your child will enjoy in the morning. A short book before getting out of a bed, or holding hands and skipping to the kitchen together are some ways to bring more joy to the morning rush.
  4. 4
    Put those tasks and routines in order. Add approximate times, giving extra time where possible.
  5. 5
    Create schedule posters. You can make separate ones for each family member or post several around the house. Use your task list and either draw stick figures or use photos of your child doing those tasks.
  6. 6
    Review the schedule. Instead of reciting the same directions over and over when you're already stressed in the morning, review the schedule during a more relaxed time. You can even have your toddler practice putting his shoes on or getting his jacket.The Night Before.
  7. 7
    Plan outfits and meals. Let your little one help you with these tasks so she feels more in control. Lay out the clothes for the next day, pack lunches and snacks and plan breakfast. Give choices when possible.
  8. 8
    Review the morning schedule. Don't make a big deal out of it -- just do a quick rundown when your house is calm.
  9. 9
    Line up the bags. Put backpacks, lunches, briefcases and whatever else you need near the door so you don't have to worry about it in the morning.
  10. 10
    Put your kid to bed earlier. If you always have to wake him up in the morning, he's not getting enough sleep, which is likely to make him crankier.
  11. 11
    Put yourself to bed earlier. The more tired you are, the more difficult you'll find the mornings as well.
  12. 12
    Get input. Include as many suggestions from your preschooler as you can while still maintaining a realistic morning schedule. Remind her of her suggestions when she's unhelpful in the morning.
  13. 13
    Give yourself time. Try to get up and give yourself a few minutes before going to your kid and starting the morning routine.
  14. 14
    Give consequences. Instead of nagging, point at the schedule and move on. If your preschooler won't put on her socks, take her to school without them. If he took too long to get dressed and doesn't have time for breakfast, hand him an apple in the car.
  15. 15
    Create rewards. Try a reward chart with stickers on mornings that go well. Then plan a special day when the chart is full. If your child needs more immediate gratification, have a special in the car treat for those good routine days.


  • If you're the kind of person who is always running late, design your schedule so that if you followed it, you would be at work or preschool 15 minutes early every day. That way you've got 15 minutes of wiggle room built into your morning


  • Your child can sense your anxiety. The more stressed you are, the more stressed she will be. And stressed kids are more likely to act out.

EditThings You'll Need

  • Poster sized paper
  • Regular paper
  • Markers
  • Camera
  • Glue
  • Chart paper
  • Star stickers
  • The Schedule

Article Info

Categories: Education and Communications

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