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need help with morning routine for 8 yo dd

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 


I am at a loss as to how to get my dd to get ready for school in the morning.  She either can't or just won't stay on task and do her morning to do's like teeth brushing, getting dressed, brushing hair, etc.  The morning goes like this- Dd comes upstairs and has to eat immediately, she is starving( I say this b/c I have tried making a rule like she has to be dressed and hair brushed before ahe can eat breakfast, but she is too hungry and it causes a screaming meltdown).  Then she kind of "spaces around" doing what she wants to do whether it is reading, drawing, picking her nose ;), etc.  At this point I say, "come on dd, its time to brush your hair".  She ignores me and keeps wasting time.  I keep badgering her until I eventually lose patience and yell at her.  Then she starts in with, "STOP YELLING AT ME!  YOU ARE AWFUL!, etc."  We are both really upset by the time she leaves for the bus. 

I hate starting every day like this.  I don't understand why she does this. 

I am at a loss as far as logical consequences.  When she misses the bus, it is me that suffers b/c I have to take the 1 year old out at 8 am and she falls asleep too early, etc. 

I guess I do believe she is capable fo focusing enough to get ready in the morning, although I sometimes have my doubts.  She is very spacey and slow moving. 

Thanks for your help.

post #2 of 8

I have a 8 year old son who is tough in the morning too.  He does get dressed before eating, but I lay out his clothes the night before so he doesn't think about what he might wear that day.


We keep his hair short, (buzz cut) most of the time, because he prefers it and he doesn't have to brush or really shampoo.  (sensory issues) 


I would be brushing your daughters hair for her.   Say, "Ok, it's time for US to do your hair.  Any special bows or elastics you want to use?"  (I'm known to bring the hairbrush to the kitchen table for my younger daughters...before they take off to play)


Make a rule of no reading, colouring, etc. until she's ready for school.  (our issue is tv)


And whenever she misses the bus, she loses out on whatever her thing is---video game, special outing, toy, tv for that day.


Good luck.  We are still working on the teeth brushing tantrums.  LOL

post #3 of 8

For me, what helped morning routine was routine. Consistent every school day, same pattern. & sequence.


- wake-up

- Breakfast

- wash face & brush teeth

- out of jammies & into school uniform

- hair (my DD I would braid it, DS had very short hair)

- socks & shoes

- out door


IF there was any time after the shoes and socks, then the kids could read or play


It also helped that the night before they bathed before putting on their jammies and prepared their school bags.


The school uniforms did save us time, because there was never any thought or choice involved. Even the color of hair ties was controlled.


We also would help them keep track of time. No nagging - just a statement of the time.


"We leave in 15 minutes"...."10 minutes"...."5 minutes".


Logical consequences

- if she dawdles and misses the bus, you take her there in your own sweet time & tell her it's her job to explain to the teacher that she is late because she dawdled? or she has to write a letter to her teacher explaining why she was late ("I was playing and ignored my mother" and you countersign it?)


- in the evening, explain to her calmly that this sort of behavior is not working - it makes you angry and frustrated and is not good for your family life. Explain that from now on if she misses the bus for school because of her dawdling she will.... (not her favorite TV show that afternoon; lose the [fill in the blank ] for that afternoon or evening.


Good luck

post #4 of 8

My kids LOVE checklists.  Takes me (and much of the struggle) out of the equation.  I printed up a checklist of stuff they needed to do every day, laminated it, and gave them it on a clipboard with a dry erase marker.  We go through phases of using it and not using it, but when we use it, things go so much more smoothly.  Mine are 6-1/2 and almost 9 now, but I started this first when DD was 4 and DS was 6 (DD's were pictures since she wasn't reading then).


I would tell her that when all the stuff is checked off, THEN she can fiddle around if there's time left over.

post #5 of 8

Quick ideas: 


  • Get up earlier 
  • Have a cup of milk, get dressed, then have the rest of breakfast 
  • Get clothes and school supplies ready before school (you probably already do this) 
  • Braid hair before bed 
  • I agree with "no reading" before you're dressed for school 
post #6 of 8

stand firm,calm and strong...you can do this x

post #7 of 8

Start the night before by laying out clothes and shoes, getting the backpack ready, etc. Get as much done ahead of time as possible.


I agree about brushing her hair for her while she eats.


Depending on who is at home and how it would work, have her dress in the dinning room right after eating. Just hand her clothes to her, and have her dress all the way to shoes. If she gets distracted, that way you can easily re-direct her because you will be right there (I know this wouldn't work in all situations). My second thought is to have her dress in the bathroom because there is less to play with in there.


Have something she likes to do, like drawing supplies, already ready before she starts to get dressed, and let her know she can draw as soon as she is dressed. If she gets distracted while dressing, reminder her that once she is dressed, she can draw.


Find a simply consequence for missing the bus, such as the loss of screen time for the remainder of the day. Something highly motivating to her, but easy for you. My DD who is in highschool went through a bus missing phase this year, and she has a regular movie night on Fridays with her friends. We told her no movie night until she made it to school on time every day, and she hasn't missed the bus since! She just needed the right motivation.

post #8 of 8

Oh I hate those days when there are arguments about getting ready, it leaves us all in such a bad mood!   I wonder if it's possible to let her eat first before getting dressed.  My DD is also hungry, grumpy and not awake in the a.m.  Kinda like her mom.  We have had the same routine since she was tiny and it works.  I let her get dressed after breakfast which just works much better for us.  She wakes up about an hour before she needs to leave for school, otherwise she doesn't have time to get things done at her own pace.  


There also needs to be a consequence for missing the bus, whatever your DD's currency is.  I really have to force myself to not gripe at her and maybe talk about it with her at other times so the expectations are very clear.  I wonder if you could ask her at some other time, when she is capable of having a discussion about it, how you can help her get off to school without fighting in the morning or missing the bus.  Involve her in the solution, she is old enough.  

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