Is There a Pleasant Morning Routine?

Updated on May 01, 2009
L.F. asks from San Francisco, CA
9 answers

It's so tough geting my daughter for to go out! Brushing hair and teeth, washing face is such a struggle! She always fights EVERYTHING. "NO! NO! NO!" If it's not a "No!", it's that she has to finish her milk, coloring, project, whatever; anything besides getting ready! Me and my husband are at wit's end, in the end we all are raising our voices, it's unpleasant and I dread getting her up! Please does anyone have ideas?

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answers from San Francisco on

I wish I had a better answer but I suggest bribing her with things she really truly loves. I do not do this much with my son but there are a few things such as brushing teeth etc. where I set the boundaries for the bribe first and then go through with it. If he decides later not to comply, I do not give the reward to him and explain my actions. To make the situation positive however. I make him do something (immediately after) he does not mind as much and give him a reward for that. He is definitely starting to get it.

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answers from San Francisco on

I am a big fan of distraction, while kids are still small enough to be grabbed and picked up. For example, if you tell her to brush her teeth, and she insists she has to finish her milk first, grab her, and swoop her up playfully, saying something like "Oh, little miss 'No, no, no!" and swing her around, and carry her off to the bathroom, and plunk her down, saying "Time to brush your teeth!" If she can get into the game, she will forget all about finishing her milk, or whatever other excuse she was offering. It makes clear to the child that you mean what you say, and you won't take "no" for an answer, but they get a chance to play with you a little, and you get to avoid a confrontation.

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answers from San Francisco on

My oldest son was like that. One idea a teacher friend gave me was to take him to school in whatever state he ended up being in when it was time to leave. If she is not dressed, grab something for her to put on so she will be decent, but just put her in the car and go. If her hair is not brushed, so be it. If she has not eaten, let her be hungry. She will not starve. If at 3-1/2 she cares about any of this, she will learn to get ready.

However, that son is now 20, and in hindsight the reason he rebelled about getting ready was that he didn't want to go to daycare, he wanted to be with me. I worked full-time at the time so there was no other option. But when your child is 20, you realize how fast it all went by, and you wish you had cherished those sweet years more. If you do not financially need to work, I suggest maybe cutting back?? so you can spend more time with your child. If you do need to work, maybe trying to spend more one-on-one special time with her when you can will help.


answers from San Francisco on

I have a 6 year old step son, when I met him he just turned 3 years old and had a lot of issues. We worked them all out, his Mom isn't one for rules and routines, and I am completely for them. When he started preschool it was HELL waking him up in the morning. He had never been to a school setting or day care. My lovely husband was already off to work, and left the task to me. His teacher gave me a CD of classical music that he would listen to during nap time. Every morning i'd play it, and he would slowly (he needed lots of time) to wake up. He did nothing in the morning, (no T.V., coloring, playing with toys) his main task was to get ready for school. If i let him do other things he wouldn't get ready for school, or we'd be late. Maybe you should talk away other activities in the morning, and make it her only task to get ready. We also did a chart with stickers, and tasks. Each task completed he got a sticker, at the end of the week we'd go either get ice cream or a new book. He started to realise mornings were only for getting ready. Needless to say, not that he is living with his Mom for kindergarden, his morning routine has changed, he watches T.V. and plays video games in the morning, BUT she says he gets up easier does his morning routine before she needs to ask him. And on weekends he is always ready to start the day with the help of the CD and the chart ;)



answers from San Francisco on

I have a 31/2 old, and have the exact same struggles to go anywhere, let me know if you find a soloution!! lol! Seriously, what I do that works alot of the time is to tell her that if she won't let me do it (hair, dressed etc, then here, she can do it herself, I hand her her pants and walk away. Then it's no, no, no, help me! And we get her ready. Easy? Noo, but I am just hoping that in time, it will get's hoping! Oh, and LOTS of praise when she is cooperative!!



answers from San Francisco on

Hi there
Well you could do like my mom did to me, cut her hair short enough where you don't need to worry so much about brushing. Also, would she brush her teeth if at the same time she saw you brushing yours. I do that with my son, I go into the bathroom and we brush together, same with face washing, although lately he has begun to get a towel , wet it and wipe his face. Lastly, I don't offer a choice and say, ready to get dressed, or ready to brush your teeth. I get his clothes out and before he can tell me wait, I dress him on the spot.
IF I seem to offer a choice or pause, that's when my son will say wait or give some excuse, I waste no time, scoop him up and get him dressed pronto..I stopped trying to reason with a little child long ago.. otherwise, I would have gone nuts.



answers from San Francisco on

Hi L.,

I'm familiar with this struggle and it's very annoying when you have somewhere to be! Plus it's just a horrible way to start the day.

My suggestions:

1. Make a game out of it. "I bet I can get dressed faster than you can" or "first person to finish getting ready get's an extra book at bedtime" or whatever strikes your kids fancy. This also worked great for being quiet. The "Who can be quiet as a mouse?" game created many much needed quiet moments.

2. I agree with Page the poster below about just sending her off the way she is. My sister is a preschool teacher (specifically 3 yr old) and she tells me she will care that she's the only one in her pajamas (don't know about the hair).

3. I've found that if I get the "getting ready" done right out of bed everything goes much more smoothly. It's like they have less fight in them right out of bed. Plus, I like the idea of a no dawdle morning so get ready then play/eat/whatever.

If you haven't read it, check "Becoming the Parent You Want to Be" out from the library. It's filled with information that helps you remember 1. this is totally normal behavior and 2. helps you deal with it in a rational manner. I've found whenever I start getting "annoyed" with a particular behavior it really helps me keep things in perspective and everything just improves! Anyway, it's great.

Good luck!

I almost forgot. Dr. Karp rewards kids with check marks on their hands. My son loves it. I actually use a little tiny heart stamp. At night you can go over the checks and why she got them. You can then reaffirm that when she gets ready quickly it makes you very happy and PROUD. However much praise you want to give her is great. Children are natural people pleasers so seeing you are happy will encourage that behavior.



answers from San Francisco on

Hope: One of my boys was impossible when he was younger. Angry, violent, destructive, stubborn, mistrustful, devious, etc. About the time he turned 8 he suddenly became a well behaved child! He may have just been a late maturing child, but I like to think that our consistency and refusal to allow him to control us also had something to do with it. He's almost 9 now, and he's terrific. I'm very proud of him.



answers from Sacramento on

My daughter is almost 2 1/2 and I had similar problems with her. It felt like every day was an arguement until bedtime and that's not how I wanted to do things. Now that things have settled down a bit (we moved) I started being firmer about my decisions and telling her that she doesn't tell Mommy "No" Then I always let her know exactly what to expect. "First we are going to sing two songs, then you get into bed, I rub your belly ten times, I rub your back ten times, Sing the Moon Song and go Bye Bye" That seems to have helped A LOT!

Good Luck!

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