Getting moving in the morning

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-20-2006
Getting moving in the morning
Wed, 09-20-2006 - 10:42am

I have a kindergartener, a 2nd grader and a 2-year-old. I'm looking for any tips or advice about getting my kids moving in the morning.

The grade-schoolers have clear, understandable charts for things need to accomplish in the morning. They set their clothes and shoes out the night before. They have their own alarm clocks to wake them up. All they need to do is get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, make their beds and take care of any dirty clothes. They go to bed between 7 and 8 and get up at 6:45, so I think they're getting enough sleep. We leave for school at 7:50.

I feel like the evil, naggy mom every morning, though, because they just drag their feet so bad. Any ideas on how to get them motivated? I've told them that they can watch TV (which is NEVER on while they're getting ready, BTW) if they are ready to walk out the door by 7:30. It doesn't seem to help.

I really want to send them off to school on a much happier note, and I want to start my day in a better frame of mind too! I appreciate any tips or tricks I could try.


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-31-2004
Wed, 09-20-2006 - 12:05pm

Lori, I think it sounds like you have set them up to succeed and you have done everything reasonable to make it easy for them to get ready. There is no reason why the Kindergartener and the Second Grader cannot get themselves nearly completely ready on their own. I mean... I swipe my kids' hair with the comb and check faces for cleanliness before they leave, but otherwise, they pretty much get themselves ready.

I think at this point, I would simply tell them when the car is going to leave. They know what they need to do. I would say, "The car is leaving in ten minutes." "The car is leaving in five minutes." Then, when it is time to go, "Everyone in the car!" If they haven't gotten dressed, then put their clothes in their backpacks and go. They can put shoes on in the car if they have delayed with that.

If teeth aren't getting brushed, you can tell them later, "I only give sweets to kids who protect their teeth by brushing. Let's see, John brushed his teeth this morning; here is your treat. Charlie? Well, we'll have to wait until Charlie shows me he can take care of his teeth in the morning. Maybe tomorrow will be the day!" Smile, ruffle his hair affectionately and move on.

I swear, the older I get, the more I realize the limits of my 'power' over my children. I can't make them do anything. But the consequences of their actions is a very powerful thing for ... not just children... everyone. If I know that my bus to work is leaving at 8:05 and I choose not to dry my hair before then, well then I have to go to work with wet hair and I look stupid the rest of the day. I don't want to look stupid, so that is a powerful motivater.

I think with parents, the trick is figuring out how to be fair. It is fair to our children to set up morning routines that they are capable of doing on their own. It totally sounds to me like you have done that. Now it is just up to them to do it.

You might drop an email to their teachers, explain the problem and tell them not to be surprised if your kids show up in their jammies one day. You might even tell the teacher that if there is a negative consequence at school, such as missing free time while they change in the bathroom, that this is alright with you. :D

Then you just watch empathetically while your kids learn their lesson. You can say sincerely, "I know how you feel. There have been days when I didn't get dressed on time and I felt like I looked weird because of it. It's no fun. Ahh well, there is always tomorrow, sweetie!"

The key is to be kind and not sarcastic.

Good luck,


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 09-20-2006 - 5:07pm

WHat about if you switch the order

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