Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday: The Backwards Edition!

Shannon is hosting her usual themed WFMW this first Wednesday of the month, only this time, instead of giving advice, we get to ask the wide, wide world of internets FOR some advice! And oh, people, do I need this one!

Dawdlers. How do you hurry them up? I'm beggin', folks!

Hermione is turning 9 today, (Insert obligatory whine about "where HAS the time gone?!") and she dawdles over everything, turning life into a double-length affair. Worst is bathtime and toothbrushing. She gets off in her own little world and has no concept of how much time has gone by. Even when she buckles down and starts in on the job at hand, she tends to go oh so slow, on the pretense of being careful, but really just tiptoeing through the tulips of her mind.

Bathtime got so bad 3 weeks ago that I had to forbid all bathtime play until we move. (Which is - GULP - Saturday!) And the first week after I grounded her, the additional part of her punishment was that I came in the bathroom with her and watched her take a bath, cajoling her through the process to get her finished.

I can't do that all the time, of course. I have other things to do. But this dawdling has got to stop. It's not fair to the other members of the household, and it's not a good habit to be in. I've tried grounding, I've tried standing over her while she does her tasks, I've tried rewards, I've tried timers. Something's gotta give!

So - give it your best shot. She's a sweet kid, it's not a matter of being defiant, it's a matter of being off in her own world. (Although, the result to the rest of the family is the same, no matter the reasons. And believe me, we've talked about how selfish it is to take up and waste everyone else's time so badly.) We need to get this stopped - help!

I'll be gone most of the day, and will be taking down the computer some time on Thursday, so I don't know when I will get a chance to get back to you lovely commenters. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers this weekend, please!


Janelle said...

I set a timer for my lollygagger. I make it a game for him to beat the timer. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't.

I also make sure he has PLENTY of time for things that I know will be a sore spot. Again, sometimes it works and sometimes I am pulling my hair out.

Good luck. I am anxious to hear some of the other answers.

Julie said...

I feel your pain girl. I have this same problem with my 8 year old. Some of it is due to his ADHD. The timer is a great idea. You're right, you shouldn't have to babysit her during bath time. A timer w/ consequences i.e. - you have 5 minutes to wash and if you're done then you can play in the tub for 10 minutes. If you're not then you have to get out and you don't get stories at bed. Or something like that. It will take a few times of the consequences, but it does help.

Sometimes we'll also turn stuff into a race (including me). Such as who can get in their seat and get buckled first. Of course I'm not sure if this hasn't backfired as my 8 yr old is way too competitive :-)

Jane said...

I set a timer for everything in the classroom. By breaking tasks into five minute intervals we get a lot more done. It really does work.

Debs said...

I'm afraid no advice, but I think I may have been this child when I was little!
The word 'nearly' has a whole different meaning in our house, as in 'Are you finished in the bath yet?' 'Nearly' - translated as I'm still in my clothes and I haven't got in the bath yet.

Sorry for the lack of advice, but thanks for reminding me! Oh, and I don't dawdle now (I'm 25!)

Activities Coordinator said...

I have an almost 11 year old estrogen producer and here's the bad news. It's gonna get worse before it gets better. Here's the good news. We haven't killed each other yet and we're still speaking.
I have found setting a timer helps. Get her an alarm clock. Also, five minute warnings are good. It's finally soaked in that when I say five minutes, I mean five minutes. Last but not least, deep cleansing breaths (on your part) are a must. Click your little ruby slippers together and say, "I am in a happy place," three or four times. It might not help but your daughter will be laughing so hard she'll forget you want to strangle her, thus eliminating the need for therapy in twenty years. I hope.

Janelle said...

We use a timer too. For the bath when the timer goes off, he gets out. If he hasn't even gotten his hair wet my response is, I guess your friends get to see your dirty hair. We also set the timer for picking up toys and when it goes off anything left gets taken-either put up or in the trash. It gets our kids moving pretty good!

Courtney said...

I am really anxious for all the responses here. My 6yr old is SOOO slow. He sits at the supper table for HOURS!
We have found that simple reasoning works well. For example, if you sit at supper all night long it will be time for bed and there will be no play/story time. And in the morning, if you don't get dressed and teeth brushed, you WILL miss the bus. Or, your sister has cleaned her room and is going outside to play, you can join us out there once you have cleaned your room so you better hurry up.
Sometimes is works, sometimes not so much.

Mandy Houk said...

I agree with the timer idea. Also, you might need to get her up earlier, and (this is the hard part) try to limit your cajoling. She'll become conditioned to it and never learn to hurry herself up on her own. It's also a great way to get alone time with mom, even if it is with a stressed-out mom! If you get a brightly colored, cute timer (you could have her pick it out herself), that could take your place. Try to find one with loud ticking, and pray for strength! =)

Not the Queen said...

Timers work for us, too.

Dawn said...

It looks like the timer is the hands-down winner. We use the timer for everything. I don't always set it at the beginning of a task, but if they are taking too long doing something then I'll say I'm going to set it. Sometimes if they know I'm going to set it they'll say, "Don't set the timer. I'll hurry." And they usually do, but if they don't, the timer turns on. I also have check lists for my kids. They have a morning routine that includes getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, getting school stuff together, etc. I have found with them having a list of things to look at and check off it makes them move a little quicker. I have to admit that one time my son, who was about four at the time, took so long to get his shoes on that I finally gave up and made him walk out to our vehicle in his bare feet, in the snow. Needless to say, the next time I told him to get his shoes on, he did it very quickly.

Kim said...

I have the same issue with my 10 yr old son.

I set a time limit for doing things - 5 mins to get his teeth brushed and into PJs or for every minute he is over he loses on his video game time or goes to bed that many minutes earlier - of course you have to stick to this.

It has to effect her in some way or it won't bother her.

T with Honey said...

I agree. A timer is your friend.

We set a timer when Princess gets in the bath tub. She wants to wash her face herself but like to procrastinate. But if she hasn't washed her face before the timer goes off then I get to do it.

Set a timer 5 or 15 minutes before changing activities or leaving the house. Give a 2 minute warning. It is amazing how quickly my daughter will move then.

:: Suzanne :: said...

I set my cell phone alarm to go off in the morning when it is time to come to the table and again when it is time to leave. It is loud enough that the whole house hears it and I don't wait. I've had them running down the driveway after me but once.

Molly said...

Thanks for asking this question...I needed to hear the advice, too! I laughed outloud at Debs' comment about the word "nearly!" In our house the culprit's word is "almost!" Just know you are not alone!

Little K said...

Have you tried using a schedule that breaks down the entire task? This could include steps like wash hair, wash face, wash neck, wash arms, etc. Giving her something to look at may help her focus and take her out of her “own world”. (Of course you would have to somehow make it waterproof since it’s going in the tub, but it would keep you from having to be in the bathroom instructing her.) If necessary you could include steps like wash neck while counting to 10, wash arms while counting to 15 (or whatever the appropriate time to wash a body part) this might also keep her focused on the task since she’s counting out loud. In time this could probably be faded out pretty easily.

Anonymous said...

The "list" is an excellent idea. I do that with my 13 year old so he can stay on task.

We also have a CLOCK hanging in most rooms of this house, INCLUDING the bathroom. Sometimes having them try to finish "before the big hand reaches the 5" (or something like that) is a good way to get them to reach their objective. (A race against time.)

Same thing with the timer. I know you said you've used it & it didn't work. But every now & then, try it again.

There have to be consequences when they don't get the job done....oops, no time for dessert because you took too long. Oops, only one story tonight because you didn't get ready in time. (Just warn them ahead of time of what's going to happen if they don't HURRY UP!)

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Set time limits for tasks that you think are reasonable, and then reward her for finishing the task within the timeline. This could be the form of a penny in a jar, a sticker on a chart, etc. Once she gets so many stickers, pennies, etc., the bigger reward would follow. This could be something of her choosing that you both discuss and decide upon in advance (such as a trip to the movies, money, a toy, etc.) Be careful to not set the # of pennies, stickers or whatever too high in the beginning or she might get discouraged if she isn't able to get a taste of the big reward within a reasonable time period. You can gradually increase the amount of stickers she needs to get before getting the big reward so that she isn't getting rewards all the time. You will need to have a clock visible for every task so that she can stay oriented to how much time has passed. Believe me, as a dwadler myself, I promise you that positive rewards for being on time have been much more effective at prompting me along than negative consequences ever have. But if you take the clock out of my line of sight, you might as well plan on me wasting away numerous amounts of time as I too get off in my own world and lose all concept of how much actual time has passed. Also, one last thing, be sure that you allow at least one or two tasks now and then that you don't set ANY timelines for...Let her lollygag as much as she wants. It is stressful for us "lollygaggers at heart" to always have to try to be driven by the clock and it is completely relaxing to get lost in our own little worlds every now and then with no reprecussions from anyone.

Zen Master said...

What a great question.

Unfortunately, I have an 8 year old and a 5 ear old like this so I am actually here to learn with you and have nothing to add that would help.

I've tried the breaking down tasks thing. Still not working. The timer doesn't work either for some reason their ears don't hear it, lol. But I'm going to give it another shot since it works so well for many. Maybe if they each had their own personal timer?

Purring Piggy said...

http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/TEACHmagazine/281205/ Here is a good article by Lorrie Flem about dawdling. I find her materials balanced and very useful.