There is nothing more obnoxious than an adult who is always late. This bad habit can affect an adult’s career and relationships in a negative manner. Early childhood offers many opportunities to teach children their place in a relationship to others. Taught early, children can develop good traits such as being punctual and honoring others’ time.
- Be a good example. Tell your child when you are working on a deadline to be on time and why you feel it is important. Try your best to get places on time, or even a bit early, and remark how good it makes you feel to be punctual.
- Point out negative tardiness in others when you see it happen. Without being harshly judgmental, explain to your children that being late can be hurtful and self-centered. Especially when someone is late for them, show them that what they are feeling is how others feel when they are late.
- Reward good punctual behavior with compliments and treats. Positive reinforcement is always the best teacher.
- Allow children to experience consequences when they are late. They may lose a chance to go to a special place because they miss a ride, lose their place in line or miss out on a coveted seat at the table. Don’t rush to make things right when your children are not punctual due to their own behavior.
- Teach children how to pace themselves and how to project how much time is needed to be prepared for a ride or responsibility. Watch the clock with them when they are dressing or bathing, and point out how long it typically takes them. Tell them when you see them procrastinating.