21 answers

6 Year Old That Can't Seem to Move Fast in the Morning!

My 6 year old daughter (who is in Kindergarten) does not know the meaning of the words "please move quickly" -- especially in the morning when we are rushing to get ready for school. I literally have to carry out of the bedroom, dress her and constantly remind her to eat her breakfast. Then I'm constantly asking her to go brush her teeth and get her shoes on. There is no TV on during our morning routine until all 3 of my children are ready to walk out the door for school and obviously only if we have time left. All 3 get up 1 hour before we have to leave so I know we have enough time, but my daughter just does not move except for at a snails pace. This makes me go crazy when I'm trying to get out the door on time. We've never once been late for school, but I would love for the mornings to be more peaceful and easy. Any suggestions for getting her to move a little faster so that we aren't screaming at each other anymore???

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I also had sluggish kids in the morning(actually they still are as teens, but they take responsibility for themselves now). When they were younger they were slow and fought me about changing their clothes. SO, much to my mother's and mother-in-law's horror, I dispensed with pajamas. I would dress them in the clothes they would wear the next day before bed, and that step was done when they woke the next morning. Yes, they were a little more wrinkled, but most of their clothes unwrinkled quickly, and they didn't seem to care what they slept in, as long as they were comfortable. D. K

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We have the same problem, but we now have a points system. They all earn points if they get ready for school on time WITHOUT any nagging. It's working! Mine have different things they're working to earn with their points (we value them at a quarter each). Last night, they decided to spend 4 of their points for $1 ice cream night at Baskin Robbins.

S.

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HA! I'm glad to hear my daughter isn't the only one that acts that way in the morning!

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I have a squirt bottle for just this kind of thing! It works wonders and keeps me from screaming at them! Don't judge me! :)

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Hi D.,

I had this problem briefly with my daughter. I told her that since she was so tired in the morning that she would have to go to bed earlier until she was able to get up and ready quickly in the morning. Her bedtime was 7:30 and she didn't have to get up until 6:30 so she already had 11 hours to sleep. I just put her to bed at 7 instead and told her that how smoothly mornings went would determine her bedtime that night. I laid out in detail exactly what I expected from her (get up when I tell you, don't make me come in there 5 times to make sure you are up, get your own clothes on, brush your teeth without being asked and eat your breakfast quickly, etc). It worked like a charm and now she gets up with a good attitude every day EVEN when she really is tired.

I think it took some of the power-struggle out of it when I told her she had to go to bed early because she was so tired in the morning rather than because she was being punished for her behavior. It's a very logical and natural consequence. You are too tired and therefore you must need more sleep. Let's make sure you get extra sleep tonight. She was an only child at the time but this would have really worked if she had siblings who were allowed to stay up later because they were less tired in the morning (especially if they were younger!).

I hope this was helpful for you. It worked extremely well for me!

Best Wishes,

E.

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I, too have a 6 year old (boy) that we refer to as a snail in the morning. We bought him a Sponge Bob alarm clock that he can turn on and off himself (although there are some days when he just turns it off and goes back to sleep just like I do). We moved his bedtime up and wake him up much earlier now and we also use cartoons as an incentive for moving faster. We have seen much improvement. Good luck.

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I have had this same problem with some of my children. She could be going through a growing spurt so she's extra tired. Try putting her to sleep an hour earlier for the next week and see if she has more energy in the morning. She just may be needing a little more shut eye at this time. If that doesn't help then you'll have to go to the next drastic step. It will probably be more difficult for you than her but she will get the message if you can follow through. Are you ready for this? Let her go to school in the morning as ready as she gets herself with out you screaming or forcing her to do it. If she doesn't get a full breakfast that's fine, have a sandwich bag of cearal or piece of toast for her to eat in the car. She may have to go with her hair not fixed or her teeth not brushed or maybe even in her pj's (bring her clothes in a bag so she can change in the car) but she will see that it's her responsibility to get up and get ready in the morning and that you aren't going to do it for her or get all upset because she's not obeying. You have to keep a calm voice and attitude and let her see that it's not affecting you, her actions are affecting her. Talk to her teacher before you deciede to take this step so she will know what's up if she shows up to school half ready so she can reinforce your plan of helping her become more responsible. Good luck and be patient it may take some time , but this whole process of helping our kids mature takes persistance and endurance. :) with love

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First, get a cardboard clock and post it near a central clock. The old kind with hands and numbers, not digital. Set the cardboard clock for the time the car will be leaving. Show this to your daughter and explain that when the two clocks look the same it is time to go. Remind her how many minute until the car leaves. (45, 30, 15, 10, 5) At the 5 minute reminder, if she is still not in her clothes, put them in a grocery sack and set them by the front door.
When it is time to leave pick up the sack of clothes, put them in the car near where she sits go back and get your daughter and put her in the car. Then continue on with your day as usual. She will either get dressed in the car or as soon as she gets to school. If you really feel she needs to eat breakfast and she hasn't gotten around to it throw a granola bar in the bag with her clothes.
I have already tried this with my two year old. Last week he decided to get dressed by the time we were in the third isle of Costco. This week he was desperatly trying to get dressed as I came back in the house to let the dog in. (he had his sweatshirt on upside down). This morning he got dresses as soon as he woke up. He has only been up for 45 minutes and is dressed and fed.

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Hi D.
My name is J.. I'm a 60 year old with my great nephew, I tell him that the things we have planned are not going to happen because you don,t move fast enough and we won,t have time to do them. Try telling her she is too pretty to be so slow. If she wants to stay pretty she has to brush her teeth(no one likes yellow teeth). Pretty eat their breakfast. Don't be too critical. Use the pretty girl approach. Let her know God loves her and He is not pleased.

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Hi,
My niece had the same problem, she is 6 as well. Have you tried a reward system like they do in her class. Something you hang on the wall and after each task is done they get a happy face sticker or something. then at the end of the week, you can either do an activity or they did snack shack on fridays. It worked perfect, she is always aware of her behavior and they have great mornings.

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My son just turned 8 but I had the same problem with him for Kindergarten and 1st grade. So this year I tried something different. His alarm goes off at 7:00am, school starts @8:00
He turns off the alarm and goes back to sleep, so I go in and whisper in his ear..Would you like to watch cartoons this morning? Man! It works like a charm! I never would let him watch TV on school AM before so now its a treat but the catch is, he has to get dressed 1st. I do help him a bit sometimes if he's tired but it does get him moving. Then I make breakfast while he's watching TV. If he comes to eat when I call, he can go back to the TV for maybe 5 or 10 min. after he eats and brushes his teeth. Your daughter would probably rather stay home so she drags her feet. Or she could be like my son, and just not have a clue that the world runs on a tight schedule so she'll have to learn that. I totally understand how you feel!

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Hi D., Well I guess my eight year old moved to your house! My friend I will tell you something, if your 6 yo is like my daughter..she won't change. They do not have the same notion of time that we do, and they are just unique in this sense. My advice? Forget "changing her" because you won't. Try to find varied techniques (each will only last for a while and then you have to change) some ideas...a reward chart, a small competition (let's see who gets ready first), make her talk out loud what she is doing (for ex. I am putting my shoes on..next I'm going to find my back pack) that helps them keep concentrated and keep on task.Hope it helps!

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I agree with what a lot of the people have said so far. Keep in mind that your daughter may not be a "morning" person. If she doesn't want to eat in the morning, just make sure she has a good, healthy snack to take with her. Let her teacher know when she hasn't eaten breakfast, because this could affect how well she does in school in the morning. I've heard that making the kids go to school in their PJ's if they aren't ready can sometimes motivate kids to get ready faster in the morning. Good Luck, and remember to try to take your cues from her and be cool and calm in the morning :).

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I also had sluggish kids in the morning(actually they still are as teens, but they take responsibility for themselves now). When they were younger they were slow and fought me about changing their clothes. SO, much to my mother's and mother-in-law's horror, I dispensed with pajamas. I would dress them in the clothes they would wear the next day before bed, and that step was done when they woke the next morning. Yes, they were a little more wrinkled, but most of their clothes unwrinkled quickly, and they didn't seem to care what they slept in, as long as they were comfortable. D. K

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I had this problem with my son. I started putting his clothes in the car and told him to be dressed by the time we got to school or he would go in his jammies. The breakfast thing I know it seems horrible but If they don't eat when they are suppossed to than that is too bad. Usually it only takes a few mornings and that will stop, sometimes longer. Doing those things doesn't make you mean or a bad parent it makes your kids realize there is no more messing around!

1 mom found this helpful

We have the same problem, but we now have a points system. They all earn points if they get ready for school on time WITHOUT any nagging. It's working! Mine have different things they're working to earn with their points (we value them at a quarter each). Last night, they decided to spend 4 of their points for $1 ice cream night at Baskin Robbins.

S.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter also moves slow in the morning. She is motivated by TV, so I made a chart of all the things she needs to do before I will turn on the TV (get dressed, brush teeth, eat breakfast, etc.) The chart has made her more independent because she knows what needs to be done and has helped form a routine. It has words and pictures to make it easy to identify each task. I'll email our list to you if you want. The only other thing I would suggest is getting her up earlier because maybe she needs extra time because she moves so slowly?

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D., D., D.~
I am laughing as I sit here becuase I used to be just like you - until recently. I make the rules/I change the schedules/I am in control.
I have 2 boys: 8/6 and one daughter age 11- we have 2 bdrm/1 bath- so figure the rush hour there... 60 little minutes and 3 bodies to get out the door- HELP!!! right?
Well, I decided it was time to save my sanity. I wake up the girl (oldest who takes more time with all that hair) 6am, then I get in the bathroom by 6:30am, do my thing basics- then by the time all this is happening- the boys' have already woke up started watching t.v. and now are ready for their turn at 7am- they take thier little 15 min to finish up and wha-la we are out the door by 7:20am!!
One rule*** if they have not eaten by 7am- they have missed bfast and will have to eat at school. Knowing the rules saves you the trouble of this mess, along with headaches for them each day going to school!!
Now schedules can always be arranged. And the morning fuss can be very fun- it may take a few tries to get this going, but once they know what times they have- you will succeed!!!

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Accept her slowness, and plan for it. My oldest son is the slowest thing on the planet. He's 18 and still slow. He can take 5 minutes winding a cord around a controller. If I give him a chore I have to leave the room or I will go nuts watching him take 3 hours to do something that could be accomplished in 10 minutes. I've seen him run once. All the yelling and freaking out never accomplished a thing. Save yourself the aggravation.

p.s. - There is an upside to this - I think these kinds of people are actually more mellow and relaxed than the rest of us, they'll probably live longer.

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Hi D.!

Oh Gosh! It's soooo frustrating when they can't move fast isn't it? Well, we have/had the same problem, my son is also in Kindergarten and his is all-day school.

After trying everything since the beginning of school, the only thing that has worked, is going to bed much earlier. Not necessarily sleeping, just laying down earlier. This way I can get him up 20 munites earlier than I used to, and we DON'T have this problem any longer (most days).

I cannot make him move fast. Period. I've learned that he doesn't really have any concept of time, so how could he understand the pace I am asking of him yet? My frustrations were getting the best of both of us, and who wants to have "tears" before school? Not me!

Going to bed earlier and getting up earlier was our solution.

By the way, I eventually took a small "poll" in my son's classroom and discovered that nearly his whole classroom of parent's feel the same way we do! So, I guess it's a normal Kindergarten thing! :o)

Good Luck!

:o) N.

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I so feel your pain on this. My 9-year old and I are BOTH slow movers in the morning...whereas my husband and 14-year old pop out of bed all happy and ready to go!

Having a child who is this way, and being this way myself for my entire life....you have to accept that you are not going to change this about her. But, there are things you can do to make it better.

Put her into a "wake up" routine (if you haven't already). Set a clock radio to go off, an alarm clock, whatever, as long as it is the same thing every day. If you wake her up yourself, start to slowly get her responsible for getting herself up (with a little help from you of course). If she is like my son, no matter how softly and gently you say "time to get up" they feel like they are being yelled at.

Also, have her involved in a routine in the evenings to get as much ready as possible for the morning. Most likely your daughter will not ever become a "morning" person...so this is great training for her when she becomes an adult and doesn't have mom there to help! Have her pick out her clothes, find her shoes, pack her lunch, get her backpack by the front door, etc., before she goes to bed. This will make her feel more in control of her mornings and less like she is being hassled by you to get out the door. It will also minimize any of those last minute "traumas" that take place in the a.m.

Best of luck to you! Let us know how it goes.

I have a 7 year old daughter that hates to move it some morning so here is what I have done. We have a paper bag that has 630am on it (that is the time we have to leave the house), if she is ready to go by that time she gets what ever is in the bag. It could be just a frute snack or change anything that is small. She has no idea what is in the bag until it is time to go. This has really worked for us.

yup yup yup...very...slow... daughter..., got one of those myself. :) She is almost 21 now and she is STILL slow. No amount of pressure I put on has ever helped and in fact, I SWEAR, she moves slower if I pressure her to hurry. I have concluded that it has something to do with the organizational process of her thinking. If I could raise her over again, here is what I would do:

Get her a notebook that is her planner. Let her decorate the cover with stickers, pick a cover she likes, etc. One page a day that stays in the notebook. Each evening, have her make a list of tasks/responsibilities for the next day. If mornings are your only problem, you can have her just list those things. Help her to estimate how much time is needed to do each thing. Have a clock with the minute and hour hands available. (A lesson in time management and telling time all at once!)

With your help she lists each item, in order that they need to be done, and as she does them she crosses them off of her list. This puts her in charge and fully responsible for herself. More importantly, it teaches her to organize her time and her tasks. I nagged my daughter a lot and did many things for her in the interest of "hurrying" and she never learned these valuable skills.

PRAISE HER PRAISE HER PRAISE HER when she gets everything done, on time, without you having to remind her or rush her. At the end of a week when she has done it every day, you can give a reward if you want to. (I don't recommend that unless it is just special time with you because kids should learn to do things and just be proud of themselves and the accomplishment is the reward without always expecting to "get something". That's the other thing I would do differently if I had another chance at raising my daughter...)
L.

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