Being on time is a helpful habit to have. In future it can help your kids start both their work and personal relationships on the right foot. Right now it can save you lots of stress. I don’t know about you, but nothing tests my parenting calm as much as running late and trying to get my kids to hurry up. Of course, when kids are very young it’s up to us to make sure they’re ready by a certain time, but we can start teaching them habits and skills early on that will make it easier for them (and for us!) later.
Get organised in advance
Do you always leave everything until the last moment and then spend precious minutes looking for your keys, phone and your kids’ shoes? That’s my default way of being. I’d still happily do exactly that if now I didn’t have triple the amount of stuff to prepare for any outing and if I didn’t have three pairs of little eyes watching me and learning. It pays to put some effort in to get everything ready beforehand and encourage your kids to help you. Before you know it, they’ll be doing it all by themselves.
Give your kids some responsibility
Kids love acting grown up and independent. Even if your children can’t tell the time yet, you can explain that when the handle reaches a certain position, they’ll need to finish their breakfast or start getting dressed. Then ask them to watch the clock for you and tell you when it’s time. In case they forget (which they will), gently prompt them, but without completely taking over the task, for example, “I wonder when it’ll be time to put our shoes on…” Older kids can try figuring out how long it takes them to do each task and what time they’d need to wake up to make sure they’re ready.
Engage your kids’ imagination
When you talk about why being on time is important, don’t turn it into a monologue. Before you offer answers, invite your kids to imagine what they’d be missing out on if they were late for school, to a party or a play date. Their imaginations will paint vivid pictures for them and they’ll want to get there quickly.
Teaching kids about time can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be an arduous task. Be lighthearted about it and turn it into a game, and all of you can have lots of fun with it.
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