Toddler Dawdling In The Morning

Nov 18, 2012 No Comments by

‘Every morning, it’s a struggle to get our son out of the house in time for day care. His dawdling makes us late for work and drives us crazy.

Your toddler isn’t dawdling to make you late or drive you crazy. In fact, he really isn’t dawdling at all. What he’s doing is moving at a toddler’s pace, which to working parents, frantically getting ready to leave the house in the morning, is painfully slow.

Trying to get him to move at your pace is not only realistic but unfair, and for several reasons. In experience. Chubby, unpracticed fingers work more slowly than adult digits, making getting out of his pyjamas and into his clothes a rather long and drawn-out ordeal. That explains your toddler’s perpetual pokiness, but it doesn’t solve your problem. To do that, you’ll have to work around his turtle-toddler pace:

  • Give yourself a head start. Getting an early bird start on your own routine (showering, dressing, breakfast making, and lunch-box filling up) will allow you to devote more time to getting your toddler ready, eliminating the last-minute rush, or at least making it less rushed.
  • Give your toddler a head start. If you want him to be out of bed, dressed, fed, groomed, tooth brushed and out the door by 8:15, you’ll probably need to wake him at least an hour before that. The more time he has to work with, the better the chance he’ll be ready on time – and the less pressure there will be to pressure him to hurry. (Remember that the more you prod, the more he’s likely to poke.)
  • Give your morning a head start. Free up more time in the morning (perhaps, even more time for sleep) by organizing everything that can possible be organized before you go to bed at night. Pick out clothes for yourself and your toddler (Pick them out together if your toddler tends to have definite opinions in the dressing department), and lay them out in a convenient sport. Listen to the weather forecast on the evening news and set the appropriate outerwear waiting at the door (including boots and umbrellas, if need be). Have your toddler choose the toy he’d like to bring along for the ride in the morning, and have it ready at the door, too (always with the understanding that it’s a toddlers prerogative to change his mind).
  • Set distraction aside. To keep your toddler on a getting ready tract, help him to dress in your room, or in the lavatory – out of view. If possible, of toys, bricks, books, TV, or the family pet. Or, if it works better, try getting him dressed right after you wake him, while he’s still half-asleep and less likely to be distracted or to protest the process (this will also give him some extra play time). Whatever you do, don’t to dress him while he’s engrossed in a game or a project. This will understandably upset him and curtail his cooperation.
  • Set your morning to music. Pick a record or CD to play each weekday morning that your toddler will come to associate with getting ready. Something lively and energizing – such as marching music – may help to boost his sluggish pace.
  • Set aside time for TLC. Instead of waking your toddler with ‘Get up, or you’ll be late for nursery,’ wake him with a hug. Set aside a few minutes in your schedule for some quiet cuddling, perhaps even a quick story before you begin your feverish round of preparations. Not only can this help relax both of you, but it may also help to make your toddler more cooperative.
  • Set a timer. Make a game out of getting ready. Set a timer for such tasks as getting dressed and washing up (but just don’t use it at breakfast since you don’t want to encourage him to race through meals); let him take the timer with him from room to room so he can have the fun of hearing the minutes tick by or watching the sand slide through. Be sure you leave more than enough time for each procedure, so that he has a good shot at beating the buzzer.
  • Set out with what’s keeping him. When a toy he’s playing with or a book he’s looking at is keeping him from making any progress, suggest that he take it along for the ride (or the walk) to day care.
  • Set appropriate expectations. Don’t expect your toddler to stop dawdling immediately or to always be ready to leave on time. Instead of nagging him about his slow pace, offer praise and encouragement when he gets ready on time.

On weekends and holidays, when it isn’t necessary to get out early, let your toddler dawdle to his heart’s content. Everybody needs some time off for good behaviour, even toddlers.


After The Baby Is Born, The Toddlers Year
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