• How To Get Your Preschooler to School… On Time

    Posted on April 22, 2014 by Darcy in Crib Notes, Nursery School, Parenting.

    Confession: I am notoriously late. In my world, “on time” for work is any time up until 20 minutes after the official start of the work day. I am even worse for parties, which I will allot myself up to an hour of official lateness to be considered “on time.” I come from a long line of dawdlers and latecomers before me, and it has made me realize that our own bad habits are surely passed on to our children as they learn from us as they grow.

    It thus makes sense that my preschool-aged son is sllllllloooooowwwwww. Painfully slow. However, I do understand that this might not be a unique trait, despite all of the genetic cards being lined up against him. In fact, a frequent complaint among my mom friends is that they are constantly underestimating how much time it takes to get out the door with their children in tow. I am no exception. Despite the fact that we do the school drop off routine every morning, we are consistently 15-20 minutes late. (In case you are wondering, we live just a three minute walk from the school.) My son loves his school, so his lack of urgency to get there is not a reflection on the school itself. I could tell him that Batman and the Power Rangers are outside of our house handing out swords and ice cream cones, and it would still take him forever to get out the door.

    If these guys can't tempt him, I don't know what can...

    If these guys can’t tempt him, I don’t know what can…

    Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer for how to get your child to move faster. I have, however, for the benefit of my fellow latecomers, put together a time budget to make your mornings run a little smoother. With some careful time budgeting, you just may get your slow preschooler to school on time.

    Getting Out Of Bed
    Time Estimated:
    5 Minutes
    Actual Time Taken: 25 Minutes
    Reason: Sure, we all love a good stretch and to lay in bed after the alarm goes off, but with preschoolers, getting out of bed is an art form. They need time to stretch, roll around a bit, pull all the bedding off of their beds, throw stuffed animals around, and finally jump around the bed screaming in a sudden fit of energy before they actually disembark. There is not enough coffee in the world to artificially boost your energy level to the heights your preschooler’s has reached by the time he has sprung out of bed and started his morning. If only that energy could be harnessed for good instead of unbearable distraction.

    Using the Potty
    Time Estimated:
    Up to 5 minutes (depending on the nature of the visit)
    Actual Time Taken: 15 minutes
    Reason: Well, I am the mother of sons. My older son likes to “rest” on the pot. It’s only a matter of time before I walk into the bathroom to find him reading the sports section and the transformation into his father will be complete.


    Getting Dressed
    Time Estimated:
    10 minutes
    Actual Time Taken: 20 minutes
    Reason: I was advised by my son’s school that my son needs to work on his “dressing skills.” They weren’t kidding.

    Eating Breakfast
    Time Estimated:
    10 minutes
    Actual Time Taken: 30 minutes
    Reason: Many preschoolers take their meals like they are eating canapés at a cocktail party. My son will take a bite, engage in some witty repartee with his 18-month-old brother, take another bite, get up to circulate around the room, take another bite, enter into a discussion with his father about what’s on his schedule for the day, take a sip of juice, recount the best parts of “Frozen” mostly to himself, take another bite, etc., etc., etc. When he has finally finished his piece of toast and banana, he declares that he is “STILL HUNGRY,” and we start the long and painful process again.

    Brushing Teeth
    Time Estimated: 3 minutes
    Actual Time Taken: 10 minutes
    Reason: Preschoolers love mirrors, and they particularly love looking at themselves in the mirror. This is the time of the day my son dedicates to self-admiration. He makes muscles, practices smiles and tries out different facial expressions, does some martial arts moves, and brushes his teeth for a grand total of 15 seconds. What can I say? He’s a model of impeccable dental hygiene.

    Physically Getting Out The Door
    Time Estimated: 2 minutes
    Actual Time Taken: 20 minutes
    Reason: You see, even once the jacket and shoes are on, book bag is in hand, and lunch is packed, there will be several items that a preschooler will realize urgently need his attention. For example, my son will need to make sure his toys are still in the toy box, he will need to double check that no one has touched his Lego masterpiece, he will need to go to the bathroom (again), he will be struck by a Sahara-like thirst for water, and he will also realize that he is STILL HUNGRY. That Power Ranger, who is now giving out chocolate bars in addition to ice cream cones, is just going to have to wait. We’re not on regular time, we’re on Preschooler time.

    The Morning Routine
    Time Estimated:
    35 minutes
    Actual Time Taken: 2 hours

    So, as you can see, based on the above schedule, you should budget approximately two hours in the morning to get your child ready and out the door. Of course, you may also want to shower, dress, and eat some breakfast yourself, so why not set that alarm three hours before you have to leave the house. You have additional children, you say? Best get up four hours early. Who needs sleep anyway? You’re a parent!

2 Responses so far.

  1. Giovana Correia says:

    Wow, there are some great tips on here and definitely some realistic statistics! I enjoyed this blog post immensely. I think that being a mom really teaches us patience. http://www.dnjedu.com

  2. Deirdre says:

    Glad I’m not the only one hauling myself out of bed at 6 to be at school at 9!

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