It’s 5:00 am and my alarm tears me out of my slumber. I turned it off and grudgingly got up to prepare my daughter’s lunch and stuff for school. After 15 minutes I start to wake her up, gently shaking her and telling her that it’s time to get up for school.
After 10 minutes, I go back. Shake her again, not so gentle this time as she really needs to get up at this point. This is a tricky business because although most days, she obliges and gets up without a fuss, but there are some days when she doesn’t and goes on full-on drama mode — and I don’t know which one I’ll get for the day.
This wake-up routine is probably one of the primary reasons why I dread school days — especially those first few days after summer or Holiday breaks. I’m at the point where I’m asking myself if this is our regular mornings from hereon until they become grown-ups. Hopefully, not. So I need to find a way to make our mornings better.
As someone who loves to sleep and also has a hard time getting up in the morning, I can somehow relate to my daughter. Aside from the fact that perhaps she takes after me in this respect, I also know that the chances of me getting cranky in the morning are higher on nights when I don’t get enough sleep or rest. So perhaps, it’s the same with her.
Getting ample sleep is undeniably important for kids, as studies have shown that sleep can promote growth, boost learning, and even affect weight. So yes, aside from preventing morning crankiness, kids can get a lot of benefits from getting enough sleep.
If your kid is like mine who seems to get an unexplainable boost of energy whenever bedtime nears, then this is the next problem. So here are a few simple adjustments I intend to make for hopefully more manageable mornings.
Start adjusting her sleeping schedule a few days before she’s due to wake up early.
Early to bed, early to rise is not an easy thing to do when it comes to kids, and of course, threats of any kind will not work either. And I don’t know about you guys, but my daughter tends to push her bedtime to the limits during school breaks and we tend to be lenient about it. A few days before school starts, however, we try to bring it back to her normal early bedtime. So if she tends to sleep at 9 pm, we try to make it 8:30 pm for the next few days, and then back to her regular 8 pm for school days. All the while explaining and reminding her that she needs enough sleep to function well at school.
Set a clear morning routine.
Kids can respond better to lists and clear routines, instead of something abstract such as “getting ready” for school. So to set clear expectations to let them better understand why they need to wake up at a certain time to get ready. We can sit them down and list the tasks they need to do before leaving for school and include items such as:
- Eat breakfast
- Take a shower
- Brush teeth
- Get dressed
- Put on shoes
- Pack school bag
This way, they are better prepared and can plan the amount of time they need to get ready themselves.
Let them learn.
These solutions might buy you a few days of fuss-free mornings, but if your child starts getting cranky and want to sleep in again in the succeeding days, then don’t fret because this is completely normal.
Once this happens, try to be as chill as possible (I know, easier said than done) and remember that we can only do so much for our kids. And their life, or what they make of it, is ultimately up to them. So basically, we can let natural consequences take over. For example, if my daughter opted to sleep in and misses her breakfast, then she’ll get hungry before lunch break. Or if we didn’t have enough time to brush or style her hair, then she’ll have to make do with a somewhat disheveled mane.
We might be uncomfortable about letting them go hungry or sending them off with a less than perfect appearance, but the bottom line is, they have to learn that our actions or mistakes all have consequences. And letting them experience and deal with these can help our kids be more self-motivated to wake up early fuss-free and get out that door in time. And of course, stress-free mornings for us parents soon. 😉