Keeping on Schedule

Updated on December 21, 2012
L.M. asks from Hartly, DE
10 answers

I have a 6 yr old daughter that I am having a tough time keeping on schedule.

The problem I have in the morning is two fold...I have trouble getting her up on time (even if I am completely ready before her alarm goes off and can concentrate only on her), she's hard to wake up and get moving and the second part is that she is what I like to call a bit of a time warp. For example, if she's all done and ready and I say "ok, time to brush your teeth" it can be 10 minutes before she makes it to the bathroom (something that should take 5 seconds) and then she's got to go to the bathroom (something I've tried all morning to get her to do but now that the bus will be coming in 2 minutes she's finally gonna go because now she can't hold it. Yes, we have the scheule posted and she knows what it is. We have a timer too but she changes it when I'm not looking and it's not effective. I am sure that going to bed sooner may help (and it does a little but not much) but that leads me to the next issue.

The problem I have at night is three fold. First, I can't do everything so if I am working on keeping her on task and schedule regarding bath and bedtime the kitchen isn't getting cleaned up and nothing else is geeting done except my hubby on the couch falling asleep. Second, she tries to be a night owl and is a perpetual ball of motion. She's not one to go to bed and fall asleep but will snuggle with us on the couch and fall asleep (typically me). Third, my hubby is normally on bath duty since I deal with mornings alone. He often doesn't get her in the shower until it is time that she should be laying down and most of the rest of the time she's just getting out of the tub when it is bed time (she needs a bit of time after shower to settle down). Last night I was baking cookies and he said something to her about tv being off in 10 minutes and I reminded him that the tv was supposed to be off 1/2 hr ago and she should be in bed now. He replied "oh, I thought she was supposed to go to be 8". I reminded him that she is supposed to lay down at 7:30 and that has been the schedule (and it's posted) since late August. Tonight...he got her in the shower at 7:30.

So, my questions are what are your suggestions for making my mornings easier? and how can I get hubby to buy into the schedule for bath and settling down time at night?

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So What Happened?

You ladies all have valid points...some more workable than others. Just to clarify, I work full time outside the home too (unfortunately) and there are things I am trying to get done at night and/or mornings besides just get out the door. I often use the 15 minutes between her getting on the bus and me having to leave to do a little bit of something (fold laundry, empty dishwasher, and/or eat breakfast myself). If she misses the bus, I am going to have to take her to school because I have to go to work and would be late due to traffic at the school. I usually get home before hubby so I start dinner, waiting for him would make dinner too late getting done (for all of us). We don't do the "one cooks and one cleans up" because I don't clean up after him because he makes too much of an unnecessary mess. When I leave the clean up for him, it either gets done half way or not at all (and is then in my way the next night) so while that idea makes sense it is not workable for us. There comes a time in your life that you stop trying to change the broken and decide it is forever broken (if you know what I mean). We are ok w/ her snuggling to fall asleep, we just have to have her do it on time. Yes, she needs the early bedtime to be able to get up in the morning (she's a bear in the am already...lack of sleep makes her worse). She does like tv in the am but I don't allow it (if I did, I wouldn't even get her out the door).

For the most part, you all told me what I already knew (each in your own way). I am going to have to get hubby on board w/ the schedule. I have to get my daughter to stay focused on the task at hand...hard enough to do when it's just us in the am but when it's worse with dad home it is frustrating.

I am hoping this week has been worse because of the holiday excitement and she'll get better with stricter enforcement.

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answers from Houston on

Break her procrasitnation habit now as it will continue into being late with school projects, late to class and will folllow into adulthood where she will be late to college classes and to work.

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answers from Chicago on

my suggestion is to make a schedule that is realistic and stick to it. her schedule at 6 should be something like the following

630 am up for school breakfast, dressed, teeth before anything else at all happens which means no tv, ipod, music, computer, books etc. skip the timer its not working. and if she goes to school without brushed teeth so be it. she gets a consequence when she gets home. (no tv for the night or whatever her currency is) she will get it but you have to be consistent.

after school
3pm up to table for snack (snack is something light like a pc of fruit)
homework, bath before anything else. again, no tv, playing etc til done

then playtime til supper no reason bath has to wait til hubby is passing out on the couch. stick her in the shower right after homework before supper.

after supper
read for a bit and then into bed. and if she fights sleeping then to bed half hour earlier the next night. no giving in and no sleeping on the couch. bedtime is important.

the key is consistency and your not consistent if your allowing her to snuggle and fall asleep on the couch then why would she think that you mean it sometimes but not always? set the rule and the consequence and follow thru. if she finds out she looses something by not doing the rules she will fall in line pretty quickly.

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answers from Chicago on

First of all, if she's changing the timer, it's privilege lose-a-palooza time! That never flies at my house, nor at any hose where I am a sitter. My friends and family gave me carte blanche on punishing cheaters, and they enforce whatever punishment I dish out.

Second, if he is not sticking to the schedule you two agreed upon, he either needs to do it now, (like last August Now), or he needs to take over your housekeeping duties while you heavy hand the rules and regs. Oh, and you need to go in the living room and unplug the TV at seven o'clock. Yes, the grownups get punished too; it's a fact of life that we signed up for, and he'll have to deal with it, or get her in bed in a hurry.

Third, Not waking up in the morning? Three words: Bucket. Ice. Water. BTW, that usually takes care of the gotta goto the bathroom syndrome as well.

If not that, then pick her up(clothes and all), toss her in the shower, turn it on cold, then hand her the washrag and a bar of soap. Yes, I've had that done to me by my Mother, and I have in turn done that to my son(nearly eight). I have done it to my friends three children(and they all have had less than flattering things to say about their Auntie waking them up). Eventually she will learn to wake up, or get used to being dumped in the tub every morning. Not getting her teeth brushed when you tell her to? Drag her in there and hand her the toothbrush and toothpaste. If she tries to leave or stares at you, treat her like you did when she was first learning and you had to do it for her. Most Six year old's do NOT like the Baby treatment, especially if you follow up with the "are my baby girl's teeth shiny yet?"

Breakfast, limit her fluid intake(yes, you're gonna have to sit over her for a bit until she gets that she's not getting away with anything). My Niece tried to overrule my rule of limited fluids with breakfast(she said I couldn't make her goto school), and then "oops I missed the bus. Guess I have to stay home." I called her Mother, and we "walked to school"(my wee one in a wagon, she was hauled over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes). She had phoned the school and let them know we were walking in.

My son now wakes up at six, decides if it's a long bath, a short bath, or a shower, and if a shower, reads quietly until seven thirty(shower takes no more than five minutes max, including brushing teeth and my blowdrying his hair). Breakfast is decided when he wakes up, and his liquids are chosen ahead of time to go with the meal(also in smaller doses). It's now automatic, but it took a LONG time to get it up to this.

Bottom line. Hubby has GOT TO BE ON THE SAME PAGE, or it will never work.

Just my 2cp...(then again, I'm a MEAN LITTLE AUNTIE, and a stinker of a Mommy).

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answers from Miami on

Your daughter doesn't have any repercussions or consequences for making everyone around her responsible for her actions. Instead, you both are rewarding her for her irresponsibility.

Bathtime should now be after her homework and before dinner. No homework done and no bath, NO DINNER. I promise you that she will get these two things done in order to get her dinner when she's hungry. If she comes to the table after you and your husband have eaten, she has to sit by herself with a cold plate of food. Tell her that until she is ready for the bus for 5 days straight (mark it on a calendar everyday), including brushing teeth and toileting, she has to sleep in the next day's clothes she puts on after her bath. And mean it.

When you get her out of the bed with her clothes on from the night before, remove her from her room and lock the door. She is already dressed, so she doesn't need to be in her room anymore. Then she will have to figure out where she is going to go. It had better be for toilet, breakfast and brushing teeth if she wants a mark on the calendar being ready for the school bus.

No more TV at night. None. Disconnect the cable if your husband won't listen. Until she is in her room, no TV for anyone! Your daughter can be a perpetual ball of motion in her room with a night light (remove her light bulb out of her lamp or ceiling) and lock the door if she continues to leave her room. When there is nothing to do in her room and she cannot come out of it to engage with you, she will get bored enough to go to sleep.

None of this is easy. It's 6 year old boot camp TO HER. The rest of us have been successful at getting our 4 year olds to do this. She is way behind on the scale here and has NO business being treated like a 3 year old. That's what you are doing, mom. Catering to her like a 3 year old. She is old enough to take her own bath for the most part, dress herself, toilet herself and get out of her room to be ready for the day.

Get going mom. And rein in your husband. NO TV!! (He needs to pay some price here too.)

Good luck and sending you strength!!


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answers from San Francisco on

Not sure what your routine is but my kids liked to have the TV on in the morning. That was fine with me, as long as EVERYTHING was done and ready, shoes on, teeth brushed, homework/backpacks by the front door, etc. Would that motivate her a bit?
I wouldn't even count on dad to "help" with this. Honestly, even with working moms it really does fall onto the women (not always but often) to get the "parent" stuff done. Let hubby be in charge of dinner, clean up, whatever else needs to be done and you focus on getting your daughter bathed and in bed on time.
Good luck!

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answers from Miami on

Basically you warn her half hour ahead of time this is the last episode of so and so and bath time. Set it on the tv remote and take the remote with you.Tv turns off run the bath or turn on shower then go get her and say water is running get int here now. Grap her and walk her to the shower. When she is inthe shower go to your husband right up to him face to face she is in the shower you need watch her. if he goes over great if he doesnt its your job and you dont do the kitchen. leave the Kitchen over night and explain to husband i'll need you too take care of the kitchen today and make dinner cause I need to make sure kid gets to bed on time. Same proceedure

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answers from Washington DC on

For the AM, the first thing DD does is go potty. NOW. Don't argue, don't fuss, don't pet the cat, do not pass go - go to the bathroom, and put your butt on the potty. In her case, that's when we change out of her pull up and into panties and I might even toss her clothes on her (or have her do so) while I do the next thing.

My DD gets a bath most nights by 8:30 and is in bed by 9:30. Or we try to have her in bed by then. Most of the time it works. If your DD is a night owl, does she need the early bedtime or not? And I've told DD she needs to stay in her bed, but she can read or play with her bear til she is tired. Most nights she is out in 10 minutes.

I wonder if you can get him to buy into her schedule at night by giving him an incentive. If you're chasing DD all night, no quality time for him. I'm not just talking in bed. I'm talking time to interact with each other. Watch a movie. Talk. Laugh. Snuggle.

My DH and I trade off things. If he cooks, I clean up. Every other night the other one does the bath and pjs. Every other week the other one shops for groceries, etc. So if the division of labor is that you always get DD to bed, what will he do for you instead?

I would use a timer she cannot reach. If she changes it on you, then there's a consequence. Like going to school with stinky breath or in her PJs or without socks or whatever else got missed because she messed with the timer and didn't do what she needed to do.



answers from Detroit on

Sounds like my oldest. We have five little ones and I do evening and morning routines alone, and it's tough. I have the same questions you do, mostly. Husband is tired from working all day; I don't expect him to put 5 little ones to bed.

Getting out the door in the morning, in the winter, I have to leave an insane amount of time just to get everybody in the van to drive the one to school.

I like the schedule idea. We don't have one that's written down but it's pretty much bed by 8, though often it's trying for the ideal.

Good luck!



answers from Portland on

It gets easier with age. We have a list of 5 things our kids (just turned 7 and 9 year old) need to do each morning. Make bed, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth and hair, put on shoes and coat. We only have to ask them if they are done with their 5 things now, because they know the routine. Keep it simple and repeat it everyday and she'll get it. I also try to allow for lots of transition time and last minute stuff. That last few minutes of trying to get out the door easily turns into 10 min.

As far as bedtime..that's a tricky one. There always seems to be something else to do that stalls bedtime. I guess it's up to your husband to start the routine at 7. We've tried that here..heading upstairs to start the routine at 7 and get them calmed down, but it's hard to do every night. This time of year is especially difficult. Lots of fun things to do to celebrate the holiday season.


answers from Norfolk on

Hi, Boss:

Get you a scheduling/appointment book from "AT A"

Have the number of columns for the number of people in your household.

Sit down with the people in the family.

In each column put the names of the people.

With each person, ask them questions about what he/she needs to be doing at a certain time throughout the day.

Put in the detail in the time slot.

Now ask him/her will there be any difficulty following this time schedule?

If there is, ask him/her how to he/she can solve the difficulty.

Then ask him/her, what will the consequence be if there is a failure to keep to the schedule?

Good luck.

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