Ready To Go...Making It on Time in the Morning
It is time to leave for child care, and somehow your toddler is
still in pajamas and has not eaten breakfast yet. How did this happen?
What is realistic to expect from a toddler? How can you make this
work best for the both of you?
A toddler is learning independence. That means he wants to do things
himself. He wants to put his shoes on by himself. He may want to
choose the clothes he wears. He may change his mind. You may see
this as being uncooperative or even defiant, but it is a necessary
step in moving from babyhood to becoming a separate person. Understanding
this motive, can help your response during conflict.
Here are some steps to try:
Assess the situation. Why did it happen? Was there enough time
or do you need to get her up earlier? Is her bedtime early enough?
Did she get distracted and start playing or watching TV? Set
the rule that TV is off limits until she is ready. Did you struggle
with getting yourself ready also? Try getting yourself ready
first before waking her, having a special toy for waiting times,
or taking her to the sitter before getting yourself ready. Did
she become negative and "fight" your decisions? Let her choose
between two cereals for breakfast or eating now or later. Pick
out two outfits and let her make a choice which she wants to
wear. Is she resisting being rushed? Wake her up 15 minutes
early just to tickle, giggle, and snuggle. Slow your pace and
have a special story together when she is all ready.
Generate solutions based on your assessment.
Decide changes you can make. Do you need to make a change in
your mood, values, or expectations? Is it okay to go to the
babysitter's in PJ's or with clothes mismatched, to eat dry
cheerios on the way or take it with you to the sitter? Cooperate
or closely monitor your child and assist as needed. Refuse to
lose your cool. Keep positive.
Decide changes in the situation. Can you reschedule time or
the order of activities, plan transitions or modify the environment
(bring out a special toy when ready to go or during waiting
Make a plan and evaluate if it's working.
- Buy a large apron or have breakfast in pajamas if spills are
- Buy clothes that are comfortable and easy to put on. Buy color
schemes that mix and match. Bundle outfits together so the whole
outfit, including socks, is chosen.
- The night before:
- Set the table for breakfast.
- Prepare everything that needs to go with you.
- Set a bedtime and ritual. Bath, book, and bed by 8:00 p.m.
- Have two outfits ready for your child to choose from.
As you experiment, you can learn what works best with your toddler
and is most effective for your situation. As your toddler nears
age 3, learning to cooperate becomes important and serves as a balance
for the drive to be independent.
Kids & Food | Help
Your Child Succeed | Your Child's Health
| Challenges of Parenting | Learning
to Get Along | Playtime Is Fun Time
| The Day Care Routine