Raising Punctual Kids

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Confession: I was raised in an ultra-punctual family. So raising punctual kids has been important to me, by nature.

The Kendalls were always on time, often a few minutes early. Even today, if my sister, my mom and myself are all meeting up someplace (disclaimer: without kids) and coming from different places, we will all walk in at the exact same time, on the dot. Punctuality is in my blood.

Having kids made me loosen up a bit, because as we know, even with best efforts to get out the door on time, endless things can come up to alter departure time (i.e. “I have to go potty!” after getting buckled in the car. UGH!!!) So, I am not as punctual today with kids in tow as I would have been in my prior kid-free life, but still, I make every effort to be on time. Unexpected traffic can often put me over the edge.

Since punctuality is important to me, I have found myself inadvertently teaching my kids the importance of being on time.

So, here are some of my tips on raising punctual kids.

Work Backward and Set Departure Time 

The most important thing to being punctual is, of course, departing at the right time. My parents taught me to estimate driving time, parking time, walking in time, etc. When you factor in how much time it will take you door to door, you can figure out what time you need to leave.

Let’s say the family is going to a movie that starts at 3:30.  I would teach the kids to estimate about 10 minutes to drive there, probably 10 more minutes to park in the structure and walk in, 1o minutes to buy tickets and popcorn, etc. So, we would figure we should leave at 3:00pm to make it to our movie on time.

Estimate Getting Ready Time

OK, now that you have the departure time set, the next step is to teach your kids to estimate how long it will take them to get ready. Do they have to shower? Clean room? Pick out an outfit?  Have them pay attention to the clock when they are getting ready and look at how long it takes.

This way you can then back up getting ready time from departure time, and know, for example, if you are leaving for church at 8:45am, and it takes 30 minutes to get ready, you have to start getting ready at 8:15am.

I remember the days when I would budget an hour, sometimes an hour and 15 minutes to shower and get ready. Remember the leisurely showers, long blow dries, hair styling, careful make-up application?

That time is down to 20 minutes now with a shower, tops. Pretty amazing how become a mom can make you ultra efficient!

Punctuality is an Important Value

Raising punctual kids will be something they will thank you for someday, because to me, it is a really important character trait.

Whether it’s getting to a friend’s birthday lunch, college class, job interview or work shift on time, being punctual is something that will never steer them wrong. Because I have yet to meet many bosses that say, “Oh, get here whenever!”

How do you feel about punctuality and raising punctual kids? Do you have any tips to share? 


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  1. 1
    Susanne says:

    Great tips! We are pretty good but have our days…I’m going to start focusing on departure time instead of arrival time.

  2. 2
    Jen says:

    I honestly think that is the difference! My parents always stressed figuring out the departure time.
    Hope this helps! xoxo

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