Tween Is Tardy to School

Updated on April 14, 2011
A.R. asks from New York, NY
22 answers

My eleven year old is often late to school. I think our morning routine needs changing. My husband and I get up about 45 minutes before she needs to leave (we mean to get up earlier, but hit snooze button three times). My daughter gets herself dressed, but I still do her hair (it's super long, curly, and tangly -- but do other 11 year olds do their own hair?), then I make her breakfast and lunch and get her backpack together while her dad gets dressed to take her to school. (I work at home.) Any suggestions? Big thanks.

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answers from Gainesville on

I think you need to stop hitting snooze or set the alarm earlier. You need to set a good example to her by getting her out the door and to school.. That said i have had the same issue. I was late getting my kids to school b/c i worked out in mornings and i wanted to shower b4 i took them, and I couldn't do it all and get them out the door on time, they always ended up being distracted and had to do one more thing or forgot something or shoes weren't on.. So now I bring them first then shower and go to work..

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

Try packing the backpack and lunch the night before. Then you can just grab it as you are walking out the door.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Jacksonville on

Why are YOU putting her backpack together? She's 11. My 9 year old does that... and has since she was in 1st grade. Actually before that, but I sometimes was late getting her take home folder put back into it after signing it.

Have her put it together (whatever that actually means- getting homework in it? supplies? ) before she goes to bed at night. She ought to be able to do her hair on her own, I would think. My daughter's hair isn't curly, but it is LONG and it's hard for her to get all the tangles out sometimes, but she has come a LONG LONG WAY in the last year. She can put it in a ponytail all on her own. It doesn't always look as nice as when I do it for her, but she doesn't really care. She is 9 in 4th grade.

It really sounds like the time issue isn't HER though. Sounds like you just need to make yourself get up sooner. Try going to be 30 minutes earlier.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Do her lunch bag the night before, plan breakfast for a whole week so it cuts down the time on thinking what to do.
Braid your daughters hair at nights so there is not tangles and is easer to do her hair (no sure if other 11 years old let their moms do their hair, mine doesn't any more, unless she is having a really bed hair day).
If you have one, put your alarm clock with music, and far away from your bed.
Have a second alarm clock to 15 min. before she has to leave.
Once you are settle in your new routine it should get a lot easier.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I wake up 1.5 hour before she has to be there (shes 6) but we also do bath in the morning too. We usually have about 10 minutes to spare. Which is nice, just to make sure we are not forgetting anything. If she doesnt bathe in the AM, I think an hour should give her plenty of time to eat and get dressed.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

How about packing the lunches the night before? Sure she is old enough to start working on her own hair. I think the most important thing though is for you to get up earlier and stop the snooze button delay. I usually put the responsibility on the kids this age but it doesn't seem like you are giving her or you enough time in the morning.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I would say to have her pick out what she is going to wear at night along with making her own lunch and getting her backback ready before she goes to bed. That way in the morning she just has to get herself dressed, eat breakfast and be on her way. Less rushing!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

"Army Sargent Mom" here...that's what my family calls me in the morning. In the evening and on weekends I'm just plain old "nice, lovable mom," but not in the morning during the work/school days. I do everything by the clock and my alarm clock is set 10 min. fast, so it doesn't matter if I hit the snooze alarm. Can't everything for the lunches early, because we like our sandwiches fresh. Hubby eats left-overs for lunch, so he's real easy to pack for. You really need to figure out how long it takes to accomplish every detail in the morning and go by the clock. My son, hubby, and I have to be at school/work by 8:00AM. Our goal is to be in the car to warm it up by 7:30AM, no later than 7:35AM. (I don't like to drive fast.) Here's our morning schedule:
5:30AM - Mom's up and starts her day. I wash my face and get completely
dressed and ready to roll.
5:50AM/6:00AM - I wake up the dog to get him to go out for his business and
throw the ball for the cat, so the cat doesn't get "jungle feet" and
torment the dog.
- While the dog's in the dog run, I pack the lunches and
soak/wash the fruit for breakfast.
6:30AM - Time to play rooster. I wake up hubby by turning on the bedroom
light, throw my son's clothes on his bed and ask him what he
wants for breakfast, (Only a few choices.) make sure his alarm
is set, and remind him he had better get up or the army sargent
will be back up to wake him up. (Not as nicely, so it works.)
6:35AM - I start breakfast, so my son's is done by 6:50AM and ours is done
by 7:00AM.
6:50AM - Son comes down fully dressed, brushes teeth and combes his
own hair. (I only spray down cow licks.) He eats breakfast, usually
garlic/oregano cressent rolls. (Pillsbury is wonderful and quick.)
7:00AM - Hubby comes down, and we eat breakfast.
7:15AM - I prepare the garbage and tell hubby/son, which ever one is
closest to finishing breakfast to get in the bathroom and brush
their teeth. I go to the upstairs bathroom to brush my teeth and
pull back any curtains that haven't been pulled.
7:30AM - I yell to have things turned off and tell them I'm going out to warm
up the car, which they know is a signal to "move it" or I'll be back in
barking orders.
7:35AM - Hubby takes out the trash and my son gets in the car. I go down
my list to make sure he says, "yes" that he has everything. Hubby
boards the "Mom Taxi."
7:50AM - Hubby is dropped off at work.
7:55AM - Son is dropped off at school.
7:59AM - I arrive at work.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

I found that making lunches at night and packing up the backpack and leaving it by the door helped a lot. Just grab and go. I also take the big bags of snacks and veggies and make up grab bags for the crisper drawer. Just use the snack size bags and divvy up the food, set them in the drawer, and in the evening just pick and pack. The same principle works for lunch meats and cheeses. You can also do slices of bread. At 11, DD can put together a sandwich during her lunch time.

Also, set your clocks ahead 7 minutes. The math isn't quick-n-easy to work out so your brain gets tricked into thinking it's later than it really is.

For your daughter's hair, put it into braids for the night then in the morning spritz with anti-frizz spray and finger comb. Get her ribbons or head bands to hold it back from her eyes so she can do it herself. Have her practice braiding it and putting it in a ponytail at night so she learns to do it herself. It should only take a maximum of 3-5 minutes to fix her hair.

Hope these suggestions help!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I don't know if this will help, but I find that days I can prepare lunches the previous night and just put them in the fridge, I am one step ahead when I start the morning. Also, I make sure my daughter packs up her backpack right after she finishes her homework so that we don't forget to pack something in the morning (besides her lunch!). Getting going in the morning is never easy - good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Make lunch & pick out what to wear the night before. Tying up hair, braids or ponytail keeps tangles to minimum. Use de-tangler spray in the morning to freshen up hair.
However, most important, she is learning her getting up habits from mom & dad. If you are hitting the snooze button 3 times, this is what you have to look forward to from her. You give yourself more time, she will learn to give herself more time. Also, be sure to leave early enough to get to school on time. If you & your husband are running late, she will learn to be late.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

My daughter is 11 and also has super long hair. I make her brush at night and I braid it at night for her, and then in the AM I just do a quick brushing and ponytails for her. I pack lunched at night for us all, with input as to what they would like. We do not eat breakfast together: the 11 year old drinks a Carnation Instant Breakfast and the 14 year old eats a granola bar. I eat a protein bar or shake in the car driving to work. Hubby just has coffee and eats later at work since they have a very nice large cafeteria.
I get up a full hour before we need to leave, and the kids about half an hour since they shower at night. they have their own alarm clocks and are responsible to get out of bed. They lay out clothes at night, and the morning routine is rush-rush but mostly on their own.
I think you need to sit down as a family and discuss what needs to change.
At this age she may decide she prefers to sleep 10 more minutes and have very short hair (my 14 year old made that choice). She may need help getting started on a new routine making lunch/choosing clothes at night, but it should become easier.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Wow, you are doing a lot for her! My 11 year old does her own hair, makes her own breakfast, gathers her own homework, gym clothes, etc, and packs it all in her backpack. My job is to wake her up and give 3 time reminders. 8:00 (usually the time both girls should get dressed), 8:20 (ten minute warning), and 8:30 (the time she needs to be walking out the door to the bus stop. If she misses the bus, she has to wait until I see my younger daughter get on her bus, and then drive her to school. This hasn't happened yet, but I think she would still slide in on time if it did. I'm never the type of person to run late. I'm always on time, usually plenty early. My 11 year old takes after me. You should see her at Disneyworld waiting for rope drop when her younger sister and Dad have to run off for the restroom! If she gets a tardy, she misses an end of quarter fun event, so she is highly motivated not to have that happen. If you're driving her everyday, tell her the time Dad needs to leave to get her to school on time. Get up earlier and have her start managing her own time. My girls actually prefer to get up insanely early to have some time to play and watch TV before school. They hate to be rushed. I always wish they would sleep a little later, but that is what works for us.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

If the hair is long enough I would comb and brush it at night. Put it into three or four braids and band the ends. In the morning the braids can be removed and the hair should be easy to comb through.

Pick out clothes at night, pack bags at night, select breakfast the night before and pack lunch the night before.

The only thing left to think about in the morning is getting up, washed and dressed.

You set the example for her future. Try getting into bed a little earlier yourself so you can get a longer rest which should cut down on the snooze button morning wacking ritual.

Even if you don't succeed every day the more you try the closer to success you will be. Hang in there. All of my kids that are still in school get themselves up, dressed and out without me. The youngest is in 8th grade.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Your tween should have her own alarm clock and be responsible for getting herself up. My kids got alarm clocks at 10, when they started middle school in fifth grade. I stopped being in charge of hair around 2nd grade but your daughter has a different hair texture than my kids. I really don't do anything for my 11 in the morning other than make his lunch, which he's capable of doing on his own but I don't need another body in the kitchen. He fixes his own breakfast (this started for my kids around 2nd grade). You can make her lunch the night before, and the backpack should be in order the night before (and she should be responsible for this, not you mom). My kids have never missed the bus. If you need to be up with her, put your alarm clock where ours is - across the room from the bed. But seriously, give her responsibility for herself.. When your child is late, she is missing instructional time for material that will be on tests she'll be taking and expected to know.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

Your could get her backpack and lunch ready the night before. And get out of bed when the alarm goes off the first time.

Or better yet....have her get her stuff ready the night before, and get her an alarm clock of her own!

By the time my kids were 11 years old they had their own alarm clocks to get up by. Got their own lunches and backpacks ready the night before. They also laid out the clothes they were going to wear the night before. And they got their own breakfasts, I always got up with them to make sure they had everything they needed and to see them off.

All 3 of my girls had very long hair and would die if I tried to do it for them! LOL


answers from Dallas on

3 tardies around here = 1 day absent Make sure you watch that!

My 16 yr old girl gets up at 6 to shower, get ready and leave by 8:40. I asked her why she gets up so early and she said she likes to take her time getting ready, eating breakfast, check FB and does not like to rush.

I admire her for making the choice to get up earlier to accomodate her routine.



answers from Austin on

The backpack and lunch should be put together the night before. And when the alarm goes off the 1st time get your butt out of bed! You are an adult if your kid is late its your fault. Be a little more responsible. And yes at 11 my child was doing her own hair.



answers from New York on

Get your daughter an alarm clock (set it a few minutes early). My kids are still preschool age but my mom got me an alarm clock in 1st grade. By 7th grade I was getting up before my parents to get to school (I walked so if I was late it was my responsibility).

I have fine straight hair so it isn't that much work. At 8 my mom said I could grow it long if it was always kept clean and neat. Between 8 and 12 I learned a number of hair styles I could do myself. Keeping hair braided or in a bun at night helps a lot. If you really need to still help your daughter give her a time she needs to be ready for hair brushing.

I an not a morning person at all so I do as much as I can at night when I am alert. Morning for me is about routine so setting good habits helps a lot.


answers from Biloxi on

You need to get up earlier :(

My 14 year old son needs to be out the door at 6:45 am to catch the bus. I set my alarm for 5am, snooze twice then get up. He sets his alarm even earlier !!!! so he can hit the snooze button more often, but is usually up before I am.

He gets his own breakfast (usually on the go foods, cereal or instant oatmeal), gets dressed, feeds the dogs and cleans up after them, brushes his teeth and then I flat iron his hair. (Shhhh, don't tell - he wants Disney Boy hair LOL) My job is to keep him on track and make sure he grabs all of his stuff on the way out.

When I had long hair - I braided it at night to make it more manageable in the morning - it is an option for you daughter. Breakfast can be quicker, on the go foods, and lunches and be packed the night before to save that time. Mostly, it boils down to getting up earlier to ensure that everything done so she can be to school on time. At my son's school if he is too often tardy he will get demerits and detentions so we work together to get him out the door. Plus, I hate making the 30 mile round trip to drive him to school if misses the bus :P

Good Morning and God Bless


answers from Kalamazoo on

I get up about 1.5 hrs before kids need to be at school - I hate being rushed and don't want to put that stress on my kids either. They are in elem school so the starting time is pretty late. I get up @7:30 and pack lunches and have breakfast done by 8am. Kids must be up and dressed and to the table by 8am. Then they have 25 min to eat and watch cartoons. 8:25 we brush teeth and do hair. Out the door by 8:35, we walk and school starts at 8:45am. I work at home also. I either take a shower after I take them to school or get up earlier at 7am. Getting my kids off to school in a healthy, non stressful, on time manner is part of my mommy job!



answers from New York on

do lunches at night get up earlier and you take her to school also braid or ponytail to sleep in no knots in am

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