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To expect my nine-year-old to get ready for school?

(36 Posts)
StuntNun Wed 17-Oct-12 13:23:34

The background is my two boys go to bed at 8.30 p.m. and have their light turned off at 9 p.m. In the morning their alarm goes off at 7.30 a.m. Their underwear, uniform and shoes are laid out in their room. Their breakfast is set out at the table by me while they are getting dressed (so they can decide what they want in the morning). Their school snack and water bottle are on the windowsill by the front door to go into their school bags.

DS2 is six. He gets up when the alarm goes off, comes to see me for a good morning hug. When I tell him he gets dressed (including shoes), goes downstairs, eats his breakfast, brushes his teeth and watches TV for half an hour until it's time to go to school. Then he puts his coat on, puts his snack and bottle in his bag and I do his hair.

DS1 will be 10 in January. Five minutes after his alarm goes off I take the duvet, blanket and pillow off his bed so he can't hide under them. Eventually I bribe, cajole, threaten or use emotional blackmail (e.g. the dog is waiting for a pat from you) until he gets up. He spends 25-50 minutes in various stages of undress until he finally gets downstairs minus his shoes and sometimes without his socks on. He then eats breakfast but it can be difficult to get him to eat much because by this time everyone else is waiting to leave. By the time I get him out of the house I am stressed out and exhausted.

Am I expecting too much of him? I try to make sure he has enough sleep, e.g. same bedtime at the weekends. I get everything ready for him. Short of dragging him out of bed, dressing him myself and feeding him like a baby, I don't see what else I can do to get him ready. I dread to think what it will be like when he goes to high school and has to be on time for the bus.

socharlotte Wed 17-Oct-12 13:28:55


TantrumsAndBalloons Wed 17-Oct-12 13:32:56

I'm the wicked parent who says we are leaving at 8:20.
If you are not dressed or haven't had breakfast I don't care.
You will go as you are.

And I meant it.

redskyatnight Wed 17-Oct-12 13:38:10

What Tantrums said.
Also use carrot/stick approach.

And I don't nag. I tell him when there are 10 minutes left before we go. Other than that I assume he is able to get himself sorted.

What time do you leave for school? Would it help to actually allow DS1 to get up later if that's what he wants - I think if you think you have ages it sometimes makes you go slower.

nokidshere Wed 17-Oct-12 13:41:06

I agree with redskyatnight - the more time you have to get ready the more tme you have to waste.

My two have to be on the bus (a 5 min walk from here) at 7:35am. I wake them at 7, they wash, dress, eat and leave at 7:30.

And if they were ever not ready then I would do as tantrums said!

StuntNun Wed 17-Oct-12 13:48:02

Thanks for the replies and your advice is appreciated. I was really wondering though, whether I'm expecting too much of the child for his age. It seems to me that if his little brother can do it, he should be able to do it. However they are very different: DS2 is by nature an early riser whereas DS1 likes his lie-ins. DS2 is a compliant organised sort whereas DS1 is careless and scatterbrained. We have been trying this approach (previously the boys were much more closely monitored) since the start of September and DS2 has adapted with ease whereas DS1 can't seem to handle it. I don't want to embarrass the poor lad by asking his friends' parents whether they are able to dress and feed themselves unaided. So... AIBU?

RillaBlythe Wed 17-Oct-12 13:49:52

My 4 yo gets herself ready for school including getting uniform out of heat of drawers etc. so I don't think you are BU.

Fairylea Wed 17-Oct-12 13:56:04

Yanbu. My 9 year old gets herself ready. All I do is provide cereal and hair do smile

However are you sure there's nothing going on at school to make ds procrastinate so much ? ... friendship issues, work problems too easy or hard... bullying ? I'm sure you know your son but just worth a mull over.

shewhowines Wed 17-Oct-12 13:57:54


He needs to have natural consequences to learn. If he doesn't have time for breakfast then he goes hungry. If he's half dressed then he's cold and embarrassed.

Don't nag. Explain clearly what is expected of him and remind him calmly, a couple times, of the time he has left.

Leave him to determine the time he needs to set his alarm for, and when he gets up.

In the long term you are not helping him to be independent and organised, if you do everything for him. Mine get their own clothes out and everything. A ten year old definitely does not need their underpants and socks getting out.

I must admit I leave everything to the last minute but the difference is, I am rarely late.

shewhowines Wed 17-Oct-12 13:58:49

A reward chart to motivate him?

lowercase Wed 17-Oct-12 14:00:02

i do the packed lunch and lay out uniform for my 9 year old.

we leave at 8.30-35ish, i generally wake her at 8.
(bath or shower the night before)

if i wake her before, it still takes the alloted time to get ready!

the single biggest thing that makes us late is the TV.
TV off = ready before time

Everlong Wed 17-Oct-12 14:00:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lowercase Wed 17-Oct-12 14:01:20

oh yeah, we have a checklist that she works through...

swimming kit?

TheDetective Wed 17-Oct-12 14:03:33

As you may remember, I had a similar issue.

DS is 10, and was making himself late for school by dragging his heels so much about getting ready.

He never had this problem until he was about 8. He would reliably get himself dressed from the age of 3!!

Anyway, we are now probably 4 weeks down the line in to 'no TV in the mornings'. This seems to have helped. He now gets up about 7.30, instead of 7, and has breakfast, then gets himself in the shower. We leave at 8.30.

I would maybe try giving him 45 mins to eat, dress, and be at the door? I'm not sure, but less time seems to have helped here. We have been late occasionally - but that has been my fault not his (traffic!).

NotWilliamBoyd Wed 17-Oct-12 14:03:44

Yikes I would say that my 9 year old DD is quite scatterbrained, but she gets up when called and gets herself ready for school, helps assemble breakfast for everyone (so she might sort cereal whist I do drinks or vice versa) and today she made her own packed lunch to take in. I expect her to do these things, to me it seems perfectly reasonable. Days that she's run late then she's not had everything she needs - so she's been more organised next time.

Yes I've in the past run with the 'We are leaving in 10 minutes time, no matter what state you are in'.

Another option if he won't get up in the mornings (that would drive me crazy!) is I would therefore take the line that he clearly needs more sleep so has to go to bed earlier.......... (cackles emoticon)

NotWilliamBoyd Wed 17-Oct-12 14:04:50

Oh and we have never had TV on in the mornings.

TheDetective Wed 17-Oct-12 14:05:23

I forgot to add, that I bought bed time 30 mins earlier, to 8pm, on the promise that it will be reviewed if he can show improvement.

He has shown improvement, but I'm yet to review it, because I think the extra hour (30 mins in evening, and 30 min morning) in bed is doing him good!

steppemum Wed 17-Oct-12 14:06:59

I totally agree with tantrums. That is my approach. But after reading a few other opinions on threads like this I have moderated slightly smile

Is he just not a morning person? One of my dcs is to be honest like set concrete in the morning. She is massively not a morning person. Very different to other two. She just can't move fast. I recognise that and work with it to a point (get everything ready night before, not make her eat breakfast when she has only just woken up etc) But you are already doing a lot of that and it isn't helping.

my ds is nearly 10, and we have really noticed over the last 6 months, that there are some things we have to nag, nag, nag on. We have started to give the respnsibility back to him. Now I say it is x o'clock and I expect you downstairs ready to leave at y o'clock. Can you do that? Great. backing off has really helped and he needs much less nagging now. The secret is though, that you will have to make him leave without breakfast, or half dressed, with no let out option.

BreconBeBuggered Wed 17-Oct-12 14:12:51

My 9-year-old would quite happily skip off to school missing a shoe or school sweatshirt if I threatened him with 'going as you are'. He is quite capable of getting himself fed, washed and dressed, and does so without a murmur if he's going out early for whatever reason. I do end up in his room sometimes on school mornings, getting wound up and flinging clothes out of the wardrobe for him.

steppemum Wed 17-Oct-12 14:15:43

just seen your second post. all 3 of mine aged 4-9 get their own uniforms ready the night beofre (4 yo has help), get their own breakfast, and get their own shoes coat etc. 7 and 9 yo get them selves teeth brushed and dressed. Yes I have to be there and remind people to keep going, but they are absolutely more than capable of doing it. I do girls hair. They have to pack and get ready own school bags night before, I do the packed lunches (although this morning ds asked if he could make his and did. Mine take turns to empty dishwasher in the mornings, all make own bed (well, my 7 yo non morning person rarely actaully gets as far as bed making, but it is a goal grin ) 9 year old has to feed rabbits and put them in the run.

I do think personality plays a part, and some kids are naturally more together than others, but we have to teach all our kids to be independent. I assume he is year 6? next year he will have to organise all his books and homework. He needs to learn some skills now.

Try sitting down with him and asking him what her finds difficult about the mornings, ask him what he thinks would help. Implement whatever he says, even if you know it isn't going to work, then review how it went.

imnotmymum Wed 17-Oct-12 14:16:20

My 10 year old DD like this . Goes to brush teeth stops to hug dog...FOCUS...gets lunch bag starts to make a drink ...FOCUS..she just lacks focus in the morning just press on with it!

steppemum Wed 17-Oct-12 14:17:51

Have to say to be fair that many some mornings I am still shouting COME ON HURRY UP IT IS TIME TO LEAVE up the stairs at dd sigh

But in princliple it really isn't a big ask grin

nokidshere Wed 17-Oct-12 14:25:06

Its unfair to say "if the 6 year old can then he can".

Everyone is different and should not be treated the same or compared to everyone else. Finding something that he can work with is the key - but that doesn't mean its the same routine as his brother.

picturesinthefirelight Wed 17-Oct-12 14:37:09

Tabby my two are 8 & 11 and have been doing this for a few years.

Their bedtime is a lot earlier 8pm or 8.30 on ballet/taekwondo nights.

Alarm goes off 7am. No one goes downstairs until they are washed & dressed to shoes. They are responsible for laying out their clothes/getting bags ready the night before.

If they are not up by 7.10 I shout them again. They have a time check at 7.30 and another at 7.45 and 7.55 then we leave at 8am. If they have not eaten- tough

It took just once to carry ds into the car in his pyjamas and to school that's all he needed ( I had sneaked uniform in a carrier bag)

Everlong Wed 17-Oct-12 14:41:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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