Tips for a Distracted Six-year-old?

Updated on April 13, 2018
K.H. asks from Schofield, WI
8 answers

My six-year-old daughter has trouble staying on task in the morning and getting dressed for school, eating breakfast and brushing her teeth. To me it seems she is just being lazy but I'm sure that's not what's going on in her mind... but I'm starting to lose mine, so if anyone has any tips to get her to stay on task I would really appreciate it.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

To clarify, she's been this way since before what happened to her father, I've tried many things

Featured Answers


answers from Santa Fe on

I have to remind my 8 year old every morning to do the things she needs to do to get ready. I stopped having to remind my son starting in 6th grade. It's normal for kids to get distracted or not be good at keeping time in the morning. It's just a part of being a parent to remind them.

4 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Portland on

No offense, but I'm guessing she's somewhat traumatized judging by your last question.

I would talk to the counselor to see 'what's going on in her mind' as you say - surely you can't expect her to be functioning properly at this point. I would cut her some slack. Personally, I would expect you all to take some time off work or time off school if necessary.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Based on your other question, I think you have to deal with your daughter's trauma and emotional issues. I'll respond to that question as well, but your situation is not a typical "not paying attention" situation.

And PLEASE take your daughter's photo and both kids' names and personal info off your profile! Child predators peruse internet sites gathering info!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Toledo on

Having just read your other question, this is not what you need to be focused on.

Most 6 year olds need help staying on task in the morning. But right now, you need to focus on the fact that her father is suddenly no longer a part of her life. Please do not get on her too much for not staying on task in the mornings. Just gently say, "Suzy, please put your shoes on," "Suzy, breakfast is ready!" She needs your love and support!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

She is going to need reminders for a long time to come, so please try not to let this get to you. It is ok to be broken record sometimes. This is how it goes in my house every morning, and my kids have totally normal attention spans, they are just kids: "It's time to brush teeth." child walks towards steps, then sees cat and stops to pet him "Jane, it's teeth time." child goes up the steps and sees her sibling and starts to talk to her. "Jane, teeth please." child finally brushes teeth. "Your teeth are nice and clean, good job Jane." (A hug with some praise at the end is really important).

In the bathroom above the sink, I do have a printout posted that has this list on it (plus some funny cartoons):
Brush Teeth
Rinse sink

So at least once they are in there, they have a visual reminder of what they need to do.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

having just read your other question i'm very taken aback that you are attributing this little girl's distraction to 'laziness.'


give yourself and her plenty of time. give her patient reminders. remember that she's only six. remember that she's traumatized.

be patient. be patient. be patient.


but patient.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I have 6 yr & 8 yr old girls. My 6 yr old is quite on top of her mornings whereas my 8 yr old is not. I have posted in both their rooms the morning routine but I keep it simple: alarm goes off (10 mins window to rise), get dressed (10 mins), bed (2 mins). In the kitchen, I have posted the next steps and review it with them regularly for the first few days or as need be. I have another sign in the boot-room for times again so they know what to expect. I know this seems probably crazy for some people but it helps with visual learners. Additionally, I tell my kids that there will be no computer or tv time if they do not make their beds or unpack school bags. If they do not get to the kitchen in time to eat, they either go without or have to eat in the car on the way to the bus. If I have to drive them to school, they must do an additional chore for me or again no computer or tv time. My kids love their downtime after school so you should see them getter done. Also, my 8 yr old will go to a school for gifted children next year, so I have been working with her to realize that she needs to be up and out the door 5 minutes earlier in order to make that bus. I hope that can offer some ideas for you. Just keep going, I know it's tough some days. This seems to be working right now for us, but it's a constant work in progress. All the best!
PS you must find the thing that is important to her to get the fire lit. Also, you need to repeat to her everyone morning what will occur if she cannot comply. When she starts regularly complying then you can back off. Make sure to praise for her for every little step in the right direction. You can get her input in the times, etc.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

6 yr olds need your help.
You can't just tell them something and expect that they will do it.
For that matter - while 16 yr olds are better at it - they still need some parental prodding.
I'm sorry you're losing your mind.
There's a wide range of distractedness and I can't tell how bad you have it but staying on top of it and keeping kids on schedule is part of parenting.

Try getting her to bed a little earlier so you and she can get up earlier so things aren't so rushed in the morning.
Have everything ready as you can for the morning - clothes laid out, lunch made, etc - and then walk her through all her morning tasks every morning.
As she gets with the program maybe just let her do one thing herself until she has it down and then one more thing, etc.
It's a slow process so you will have to be patient.

3 moms found this helpful
For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions