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parenting tips

How can I motivate my child to GET MOVING?

Dawdling comes as naturally to young kids as breathing. While parents tend to focus on the future, young children live in the moment and are totally absorbed by what they're doing. I often ask parents how many times they’ve said “hurry up” or “come on” to their kids during the week to try to get them out the door on time. Unfortunately, the more we rush them the more many kids slow down. For young children especially, it barely registers as more than background noise!

Kids simply don't share our urgency about schedules or getting to places on time. After all, toddlers and pre-schoolers can't even tell time, much less keep track of it. And many children struggle with transitions, especially around separation. Remember that kids don't deliberately put a crimp in our carefully planned schedules-- dawdling is simply their way of moving through time.

Here are a few ways to jump-start your dawdler:

- Be understanding. Acknowledge that what your child is doing is important to her. Tell her, "I wish we had more time to play with your dolls this morning. It looks like fun. But your friends are waiting for you at school."

- Give a warning. Children in the midst of an activity cannot stop on a dime. They’re totally absorbed in the moment. Give your child a gentle warning that he has five more minutes. Try setting a timer or using a visual reminder like a digital clock.

- Offer options. Let's say your two-year-old doesn't want to stop watching a video, even though the family needs to leave for Grandma's. Tell her that there are two ways to get to the car: hopping on one foot or being carried by you. Try to use a playful rather than a harried tone!

- Once in a while, let your child take his time. Instead of pushing him to leave the park, offer him a chance to play on the swings until HE has had his fill. Try saying something that you may have rarely said before, such as, "Sweetie, take all the time you need. I'm not in a hurry today."

Nancy's book, "LOVING WITHOUT SPOILING." has 99 other tips for avoiding power struggles using positive discipline and much more.

More Solutions to Parents' FAQs can be found in Nancy's books and articles found below.

Antidotes to Spoiling Kids
No parent sets out to raise a spoiled child. Here are antidotes to spoiling kids . . . and not just over the holidays.

How to Know if your Child is Spoiled
Are you caught in these spoiling traps?
Find out the traits of a spoiled child and learn to show love without spoiling.

• Sibling Rivalry
Learn nine solutions for handling sibling rivalry.

Have Your Kids Take the Sibling Survey
This unique questionnaire for parents to give their children will help parents better understand sibling and family relationships and offer clues to how kids really feel about their brothers and sisters.

Positive Discipline
Positive discipline alternatives to yelling, nagging, bribing, threatening and punishing.

Avoid Spanking
Spare the rod: to spank or not to spank?


Eight Weapons in the War on Anger
Nancy offers parents & Educators effective skills to handle their anger without hurting or insulting kids.