How hard is it for you to leave the house on time . . . with your family in tow? And when was the last time you arrived at a child's activity, and your child didn't have what was needed to participate? Parents everywhere are looking for ways to encourage their children to take more responsibility for getting out the door. The following tips are from parents like you, except that they stumbled on ways to give more responsibility to their kids in a way that worked for their family.
Guess the Outfit
To encourage my 4-year-old daughter to get dressed quickly in the morning, we play the Guess the Outfit game. I cover my eyes while she chooses her clothes and dresses herself. Once she is finished, I have to guess what she is wearing. When I'm correct, she gives me a pretend gold star. She is so eager to play this game that she gets dressed as quickly as she can. It has significantly improved our mornings.
Caught on Camera
My 7-year-old nephew had a meltdown every time he was told to put on his coat and shoes for school. I suggested that my sister record him putting on his coat and shoes, and each evening he and his parents would watch the recording together. It worked. Knowing he was being recorded gave him the extra accountability he needed.
Out the Door ... Without Nagging
To stop nagging my kids to get ready for their activities, I created cards for them. Each activity card (e.g., dance lesson) listed the day and time of the activity and had two columns: "Prepare" (have a snack, go to the bathroom, put on dance clothes, put up hair, fill water bottle) and "Do you have?" (dance bag and water bottle). A "Get ready by" square gave the time they needed to be in the car with their equipment. Each day I gave them the cards for their activities. They were responsible for the rest.
'I Did It!'
My daughter Kara was excited to start a morning school program. Unfortunately, that excitement faded as I struggled to get her and her younger sister out the door each day. To encourage Kara's independence, I made a "Good Morning Chart."
I took photos of Kara doing each of her morning tasks, such as making her bed, washing her face and getting dressed. I made the photos into tags and hung them from two sticky hooks I affixed to colorful poster board. I put the words "I did it!" above the second hook.
Now Kara goes to her chart each morning, looks at a picture of herself brushing her teeth and heads to the sink. She beams with a sense of accomplishment as she moves the tag from the first hook to the "I did it" hook and considers her next task.