How do I speed up my dawdler? (ages 3 to 4)

How do I speed up my dawdler? (ages 3 to 4)

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Slowpokes have been known to magically speed up once there's a race on. Instead of insisting that your dawdler hurry up (which isn't much fun), say, "Mommy's a cat and she's going to crawl to the table with you," or "Can you put on your coat before I do?" Your child will probably jump at the chance to make a game of it.

Preschoolers don't yet have a firm grasp of time, so the threat of lateness will fall on deaf ears. You may, however, be able to motivate your preschool putterer by telling him what's coming up next. Try saying, "Let's get your shoes on now so we can walk to the park."

If these tactics don't work, give up trying to turn your dawdler into a speed demon. Instead, adjust your approach to suit his personality, since coming on like a staff sergeant is likely to meet with resistance, anyway. You may even want to schedule his dawdling. If you know your preschooler is going to mull over the merits of three different outfits before choosing one, for instance, build in an extra 15 minutes in the morning to get ready. If you really are in a rush — the store's about to close and you're out of milk — calmly make your case, ask for his help, and try distracting him with a fairy tale as you hustle out the door. Chances are, he'll be so engrossed in your story that he'll forget to pitch a fit over the transition out the door. On days when you don't have to be somewhere, relax — a little lollygagging is good for everyone.

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