Guest Author - Lisa Polovin Pinkus
Letís talk morning routines, moms. Not morning routines with three children under the age of four. Letís talk morning routines with thirteen-year olds, or eleven year olds, or children who could sleep forever no matter how many hours of sleep theyíve had.
Letís talk about how to help our tween and teen children take responsibility for waking up and getting ready in the morning.
It is difficult to get out of the house with young children. We are responsible for moving everyone along - for doing everything for everyone. We have to make breakfast, supervise breakfast, get children dressed, brush their teeth Ö do you know what Iím talking about?
As they grow older, our children get dressed on their own; they have a handle on the morning routine and what needs to get done; they can even make their own breakfast. But, they still cannot get out of bed.
If your child is like mine, on any given morning - it can take several reminders, nudges, and prods to get your child out of bed. My son thinks heís up; he believes he is getting dressed, but - when I check on him - he is still snoring, sound asleep. If you are like me, you threaten to let your child oversleep and miss the bus, but we all know that the consequence will still fall upon us. We have to call the school office. We will drive our child to school. We will be behind in our day because of our childís tardiness.
My son has the phone number to a local taxi service, as well as a mapped walking route to school on his bulletin board and, thankfully, he has not had to use either of those methods to get to school. Somehow, he makes it in time.
It is the stress of making it that gets to me. It is the pain of watching him run the two blocks to the bus stop and praying that he wonít come back ten minutes later because he missed the bus that gets to me. It is the anticipation of having to follow through on a plan I am not comfortable with.
Iíve tried everything to help. Iíve tried yelling, a loud alarm, and announcing that the bus is here. My son just cannot wake up. I have to give him credit for trying. Heís tried going to bed at an earlier time. Weíve cut out any electronics before bed. We calm the house an hour before itís time to go to sleep. Iíve even changed the times on the clocks in our house.
So, what can a mother do?
Alarm Clock Solutions
There is an array of alarm clocks out there that might do the trick for your child. One clock sends a propeller into the air when the alarm sounds. The alarm doesnít turn off until you return the whirligig to its proper resting place. Another alarm clock rolls onto the floor and your child has to chase it to turn it off.
If you want to stick with the plain old alarm clock youíve always used Ė you can try putting it on the other side of the room, so your child has to get out of bed to turn it off. If you choose this plan, make sure the alarm is LOUD or your child will sleep through it Ė just like mine.
There are many mornings I have difficulty getting out of bed in the morning. I rarely hit the snooze button, but I know what it feels like to not want to start my day. Use your empathy to help your child (and yourself) develop new habits. Start your day with morning prayer or a simple expression of gratitude for another day. Learn about sleep - its benefits, why we need it, and how to ensure a good nightís sleep.
Teach your children the ďtrickĒ of doing all you can the night before. Make lunches, set out clothes (sometimes my children even sleep in their clothes), and pack the backpack the night before. That will cut down on some of the rush time in the morning.
Goals are more likely accomplished when we write them down. Invite your tween/teen to write about why it is important to get a good nightís sleep and to wake up on time. Celebrate the little successes he makes on his journey to accomplish this goal.
Remember that word from the early years? Itís still important. Especially when it comes to sleep. Ensure that your child has created a rhythm that allows her to go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.
Ultimately, we want the responsibility of waking up to lie with our children. Help them achieve that responsibility but understand how difficult it is to master.
Here is the Flying Alarm Clock, available at Amazon, where I am an affiliate member:
Here is the alarm clock that rolls away when the alarm sounds: