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What to do:

Self-talk. Say to yourself, "It's not awful that my child is dawdling, it's just inconvenient. I can handle this."

Empathy. Ask yourself, "How would I feel if my goal is to do something, such as get in the car, and my child's goal is to do whatever he wants to do? I understand how he feels. I sometimes don't want to hurry because someone wants me to."

Teach. Tell yourself, "I can help my child learn to follow directions when she needs to move quickly."

Play Beat the Clock and Grandma's Rule. Make hurrying a game. Set the timer on your phone and say, "Let's see if you can get dressed (or whatever you want your child to do) before the timer sounds." This uses your child's competitive nature to encourage him to complete tasks on your timetable.

Then say, "When you beat the timer, then you may play for ten minutes before we leave for school." This lets your child see for himself that good things come to those who stay on a schedule.

Use Praise to Motivate and Encourage. Praise your child's speed by saying, "Thanks for hurrying to get ready for school and helping us be on time."

Use Gentle Guidance. You may need to gently move your child through the task at hand (getting in the car, getting dressed, and so on) to teach him that the world goes on, regardless of his not wanting to do what you want him to do when you want!

Play Simple Games. Encourage your child to get ready by having him guess what Grandma has waiting for him to eat for lunch at her house, for example. Or ask your child to run to your arms when you want him to hurry to your car. You can also run races with your child to get him from one place to another.

Involve Him in Solving the Problem. When children are involved in the solution, they feel they have power and control. Say, "We seem to have a problem getting ready on time for soccer practice. Help me come up with a way for us to be on time." Then, praise his suggestions and tell him how helpful he has been.

What not to do:

Don't Lose Control. Don't give your child attention for dawdling by nagging or yelling at him to get going. Getting angry will only encourage your child to get more attention and exercise power over you by not doing what you want.

Don't Nag. Nagging your child to hurry up when he's dawdling only gives him attention for not moving. Disguise a hurry-up technique by turning it into a game, such as Beat-the-Clock.

Don't Dawdle Yourself. Getting your child ready to go somewhere only to have him wait for you tells him that you don't really mean what you say. Try not to announce that you're ready to go to the store, for example, when you're not.

The authors and Raised with Love and Limits Foundation disclaim responsibility for any harmful consequences, loss, injury or damage associated with the use and application of information or advice contained in these prescriptions and on this website. These protocols are clinical guidelines that must be used in conjunction with critical thinking and critical judgment.