I'm having a hard time recently with my 3.5-year-old where I struggle to get him out the door in the morning without multiple tantrums and cries.
He usually gets up on his own and comes to my room where we snuggle a bit. Then we eat breakfast together, and after that I breastfeed his 4-month-old baby sister. Then things seem to go downhill from there. He does everything to avoid to get dressed and I have a hard time finding an appropriate response that will not just make us even more late.
For example, we used to have time outs, but in the morning he will exploit this to gain time and stay in the house longer. I struggle to find a direct consequence to apply when his behaviour becomes bad. For example, taking a toy away doesn't seem to affect him, neither is trying to get him to understand that the later we leave, the later I will get him at night (once in daycare he usually has a good time and is in no hurry to leave). He doesn't have TV time on week days so I can't remove this either. At night things go much better but we have some things he likes that we can use as leverage (dessert, story time). It seems inefficient to use those as a consequence of his behaviour in the morning because I'm not sure that he would be able to understand the connection.
After a while he will calm down, get dressed and then the rest of our routine goes smoothly. I must admit I often end up getting frustrated and under the impression that I'm playing in the same game that he sets me up day after day. I must regain control of this power struggle. Any suggestion?