Oops.

This morning I noticed that we were running a little behind schedule, so I told Raisin we’d have to hurry to make it to school on time.  Which, of course, caused her to start moving as though our entire house was the Chuck E. Cheese ballpit.  When cajoling and yelling shockingly yielded no results, I decided that I would be all Wise and let her experience the natural consequences of being late.

Except she didn’t care.  She missed “morning meeting” at school, something she talks about every flippin’ day, and cared not a whit.  So instead of teaching her that being slow causes her to miss things, I have taught her that lateness has no serious consequences.  I feel really good about that.

Suggestions welcome.  (I am considering telling her that we cannot go late — it’s on time or not at all.  Which I think would work in the short term, since she loves school and one of the other mothers has tried it with some success.  But in the long term would she get the idea that school is voluntary?)

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About Grape

I've got the world's best kids and husband. Great house, steady job. I'm living the American dream. The trick is to appreciate it. I'm working on that part.
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3 Responses to Oops.

  1. Jill says:

    I would have a chat with her teacher, and ask him/her to give Raisin a hard time if she is late again. I am about to have the same kind of discussion with our dentist regarding Lk and teeth brushing.

  2. Erin says:

    Threats and bribery, dude. Threats and bribery.

    If we get to school on time, we can (insert something cool here).

    If we’re late, no (snack, movie, scissors, whatever).

    Or, there’s guilt:

    All the other kids will be having fun without you/worried about you/teacher will be mad/they’ll all do something fun without you/etc.

    When in doubt, I make sure I do something she’ll totally hate – if you don’t hurry up, you have to wear the ugly shoes instead of the hightops, we won’t have time for pigtails, you can’t wear the cute tights, etc., you can’t pick out your own outfit, you have to take what I give you. If you do it right now, you can help with your sister, take a cup in the car, use my chapstick…

    threats and bribes, baby.

  3. Jody says:

    I try to think about my ideal actions when you ask this question, and not my real actions (i.e., nagging, yelling, random “consequences” that have no connection to the behavior) and what I come up with are:

    (1) Put up a physical checklist of what she needs to do to get out the door. Have her put a check each time she finishes a task, and if she finishes all the tasks by a specific time, she gets a star. So many stars in a week earns her a special treat with a parent–extra late-night book reading, Saturday morning breakfast with a parent by herself, etc. We did that in the last few months of Pre-K and it worked pretty well. (We put a clock right above the checklist and drew a picture of what the clock hands would look like at the pre-appointed time, which was, needless to say, at least 5 minutes before we really needed the kids to be ready.)

    (2) Let her be late. Sure, it may not bother her the first time, or even the fifth, but eventually, she’ll miss something she’ll regret and learn the consequences.

    (3) The later she gets to preschool, the less time you have to accomplish all of your tasks. Oops, nope, you didn’t get that favorite snack at the grocery store because you didn’t have time. Nope, you didn’t get to Target for the Valentines today because you didn’t have time. You get the idea. I think that’s probably a fairly advanced concept for such a little girl, but it’s never too soon to introduce the idea….

    Like I said, this is the ideal and not the reality all the time in our house, but we’ve all been there with the morning routine, and I do think off-loading the responsibility onto the kids as soon as possible by using a chart definitely makes a dent, however small, in parental stress.

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