Your 7-year-old now
Although kids this age can take more responsibility for getting dressed, putting shoes on, and grabbing a jacket, many are serious dawdlers. Some kids are naturally slow and deliberate, others are easily distracted. Others don't adjust well to change or make transitions easily.
Try these strategies to bring your poky puppy up to speed:
- Give plenty of warning. A five- or ten-minute heads-up can make all the difference when transitioning between play and other tasks.
- Don't interrupt play unless you truly have to. You might dawdle, too, if someone asked you to water the plants in the middle of a pivotal moment in your video game.
- Create a weekly or daily schedule around problem times so your child knows what needs to be done when. Kids respond to clear expectations.
- Praise promptness and impose consequences for chronic tardiness.
- Don't label your child as a slowpoke. Labels can be hurtful — and they can shape behavior. She may just try to prove you right.
- Watch your tone of voice. The minute some kids hear your pleading “We're late” voice, they figure, “I'll take my time. That'll really get her attention.”
- Buy your child a watch and an alarm clock.
Your life now
One way to keep the whole family in synch: Don't rely on your individual PDA. Post everyone's schedules on a large calendar that can be viewed by all. Assign each family member a different colored marker so everyone can see at a glance what's on tap and where the conflicts lie.
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