How many of you moms and dads out there have been on the brink of pulling your hair out because your children are on their own time (inevitably super slow) and don’t seem to care that you need them to HURRY UP to match the pace of your life?
Yep! Been there only about 12,485 times.
Like many of you I’m constantly on the go and unfortunately too often than not am guilty of waiting too long to prep my little ones 10 minutes in advance that we need to leave NOW. Suddenly it’s exactly five minutes past when we were supposed to leave in order to be on time to wherever and my children are barefoot and still have a half-eaten breakfast in front of them. After about the 4,018th occurrence I finally gave this some serious thought and came up with a few ways of tackling this problem.
Here’s a few strategies I’ve found helpful to inspire our children to get moving faster.
1. The checklist. I’ve found this to work well for the morning routine. I grew really tired of asking my kids if they’d done everything they need to do in the morning to get ready for school. So I made a check list and wrote it on our chalkboard wall (you could easily tape a piece of paper to the wall and yield the same results.) We have a strict media usage rule in our home and have tied extra time to this list. Our kids are not permitted to use their tablets (or any technology/gaming) on school days. They are allowed 30 minutes each day of the weekend including after school on Fridays. They are also allowed one 30-minute television show after school each day but no time on any technology device at other times. As a result, they’ll do practically ANYTHING to earn extra media time. We’ve leveraged this for many things and getting them 100% ready for school independently in the morning (and quickly) is one of them. If they check off everything on their list and still have time before the bus picks them up they can use whatever time is left to play on their tablets. Each kid has their own chalk color to easily keep track. You wouldn’t believe how fast they get ready. It’s frankly brilliant.
2. The hand squeeze. This technique works well if you’re already en route (on foot) to your destination but your little one(s) is walking at a snail’s pace. I told my children (one at a time) that I had a secret signal just for them. When I squeezed their hand twice it was my secret message to them that they should walk faster. I told them that they could send me this signal anytime they wanted as well. Every kid loves a game and this made it more fun than just barking at them to pick up the pace.
3. Use different language. I figured out not so very quickly that my kids tune me out when I use the same language to get them going. “Hurry up!” or “We’re late!” or “C’mon, let’s go!” wasn’t working very well after the 482nd time I used those phrases. So I’ve had to get creative with how I ask them to MOVE IT already! Some favorites of late:
“Who’s going to be the best listener?”
“Race you to the car.”
“Let’s see how fast you can (get dressed/clean up the toy room/put your shoes on/etc.). I’ll time you.”
And when all else fails I break out into Spanish. (Did you know I speak Spanish?) It really gets their attention so try “Vámonos!”
So there you have it! I hope these few strategies help you get to wherever you are going on time and with a little less frustration!