Are you Ready to Go?

Young girl in front hallway putting on shoe and smiling
Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

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.

—Katharine Coggeshall

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.

—Karen Gauvreau

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.

—Danielle Beerli

'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.

—Tonya Wilhelm

"Are You Ready to Go?" the compiled article, first appeared on in July 2016. "Guess the Outfit" first appeared in the October/November 2017 issue of Focus on the Family magazine. "Caught on Camera" first appeared in the August/September 2016 issue of Focus on the Family magazine. "Out the Door ... Without Nagging" first appeared in the August/September 2016 issue of Focus on the Family magazine. "I Did It!" first appeared in the May/June 2010 issue of Thriving Family magazine. If you enjoyed this article, read more like it in Focus on the Family's marriage and parenting magazine. Get it delivered to your home by subscribing to it for a gift of any amount.

"Are You Ready to Go?" compiled article © 2016 by Focus on the Family. "Guess the Outfit" © 2017 by Katharine Coggeshall."Caught on Camera" © 2016 by Karen Gauvreau. "Out the Door ... Without Nagging" © 2016 by Danielle Beerli. 'I Did It' © 2010 by Tonya Wilhelm. Used by permission.

Next in this Series: How to Get Your Kids to Wear the Right Clothes for the Weather

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