Advanced search

Encouraging a reluctant 4.5 yr old to get dressed for school - any tips?

(14 Posts)
MrsMargoLeadbetter Mon 14-Jan-13 09:14:56

The stress of DS (4.5) refusing to get dressed before school is taking its toll on all of us.

I think in part we are to blame as we don't have a set routine. I like to get up early (6ish) to check my emails etc and DH doesn't get up until 7:10. DS generally wakes whilst I am downstairs. I typically give him some fruit. When I go up to get ready he comes with me. Then the funs starts. However these timings do change from day to day.

He needs to be ready by 7:40 so DH can drop him at breakfast club. I sometimes leave for work before this or i might be working from home as i freelance.

He just doesn't want to get dressed. He runs around, plays withs toys etc, chants "bum, bum" etc shock Anything but get ready. He can get ready he just doesn't want too.

It is has been particulary bad since school started again, so I guess that might be a link. He does generally seem to enjoy school.

I have said to him (in a bid to ensure he is dressed first) he needs to get ready before he has fruit, but this resulted in an hour of on and off tears and tantrums.

Have said to DH that perhaps we should have an offical schedule which sees us a get ready upstairs by 7ish and then all come down. Will explain this to DS and maybe do a chart with times on etc. With a bit of tv assuming there is time.

We had previously let him watch the ipad if he got ready, but then there was a melt down when it came to leaving time.

DC2 due in June, want to get into a routine for now.

Any tips/suggestions?


LilyBolero Mon 14-Jan-13 09:16:15

We found that making 'getting dressed' the VERY first thing the child does works well - so no food, breakfast, etc till they are ready for school.

concessionsavailable Mon 14-Jan-13 09:23:05

What Lily said.
Plus, choose and lay out clothes the night before.
No attention/ begging/ chasing around, a simple "We all get dressed before breakfast, let me know when you have stopped screaming are ready".
One mumsnetter once took her DC to school in their pyjamas when they refused to get dressed, apparently they only needed to do that once!

happynewmind Mon 14-Jan-13 09:35:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Reaa Mon 14-Jan-13 09:40:07

I had a sticker chart, I had things like uniform on, breakfast, brush teeth etc you could try one with socks on, trousers on etc, you could also set an alarm and play beat the clock and give DC a sticker for every time he beats the clock.

lljkk Mon 14-Jan-13 11:04:22

Routine is your friend, (sad to say, I hate it too, but it makes life happen).

With mine it's better to feed them first thing and then make them get dressed after. I have a schedule in mind by which time things need to happen or I need to start making them happen, I vary that schedule at my peril. I scold them if they won't let me get them dressed and I am not above dragging them out the door into the cold if they are being especially difficult. Then we stand there together until they agree to cooperate.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Mon 14-Jan-13 13:52:19

Thanks everyone, lots of good tips and ideas. Will try getting dressed first with no discussion or distractions. Have told DH his "lie-ins" need to stop too. We need to be up and united!

happynew - can you come and be my supernanny type??? i love your attitude.

Thanks again, good to hear others thoughts and experiences.

goodtoesnaughtytoes Mon 14-Jan-13 14:04:33

Oh Margot I have the same problem with my Dd(4). It's just so stressful every morning and I end up shouting at her which I really don't want to do. I'm back at work in two weeks and I'm feeling pretty anxious about getting myself, dd plus baby ready and out of the house on time. hmm I think I will start a reward chart.

happynewmind Mon 14-Jan-13 14:27:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

goodtoesnaughtytoes Tue 15-Jan-13 09:09:04

Margo, I made a reward chart last night. Dd1 was very excited about it. I explained it all to her and used lots of colours and got some Winnie the Pooh stickers ready and she was brilliant this morning! I have promised her a certificate at the end of the week if she gets all the stickers.

I might need a bedtime one next blush

MrsMargoLeadbetter Tue 15-Jan-13 13:07:24

Ah I see happynew, impressive all the same!

Oh that is great goodtoes!

Quick update from us: last night we did a session of "this is what is going to happen" with some drawings last night.

This am, he didn't want to get dressed with us, but we ignored6 as was suggested on here. So DH and I went downstairs dressed and got on with stuff. He did a bit of running about in his pants, but in the end realised he needed to go back up and get dressed. So due to the generous schedule there was still time for him to have fruit and a quick play with some toys. And he ^skipped off to breakfast club!!

I am not stupid naive enough to think it is sorted, but even one day of less scream/fits/crying/naked dancing is an improvement.

Thanks so much again, it really helped to gain your perspectives. Here is to less stress!

secretscwirrels Tue 15-Jan-13 13:11:08

Who is in charge here? You need to (pretend to) be fierce and follow all the good ideas here. He will not hate you for making him get dressed.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Tue 15-Jan-13 14:25:04

I am not generally a push over! I always try to pick him up on bad behaviour, (naughty step, withdrawl of fun things) but the trouble with the mornings is that there is limited time and lots of stress. It was becoming a rut.

But yes, there is lots of wise advice here that already seems to be working, thank goodness.

tigersmummy Tue 15-Jan-13 17:38:59

We had this since DS started school in September - each morning was an absolute battle with tears and shouting (mainly from me shock) and even resulted in DS being taken out of the house for school in pjs one day and pants the other, then dressed in the car. It was horrendous.

First day of the school holiday I told DH that it had to change for the sanity of everyone. We got a kitchen timer and every morning he was given 10 mins to get dressed, then he would get a sticker on his reward chart and we could do whatever we were going to do that day. It worked wonderfully.

Now our school day routine is as follows; 7am he comes into our room once his clock goes off; we go downstairs and get some breakfast; then we go back upstairs to brush teeth, wash and get dressed in the 10 mins before the bell goes off. If he does all that then he gets a sticker for his chart, a token for his teacher (which goes toward their reward system) and he can watch TV for half an hour whilst we get ourselves and DD sorted. He tested the new routine on his second day back at school and didn't get the rewards; cue lots of tears but he hasn't done it since.

Similar routine for weekends and holidays only slightly later start (7.30).

£3 kitchen timer - who would have known it was that simple??!!

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: