Mornings are one of the most dreaded times of the day for parents and caregivers. Getting our children to be ready on time is for most of us no piece of cake, starting with the act itself of waking our children up [deep breath].
"Honey, time to get up!", "Good morning!", "Sun's out, time to get up!"
Nothing. No cooperation. Nada. Either that or a tantrum. Familiar? Why though? What's going on here?
Let's take a peek.
One of the reasons why children have a hard time getting up in the morning is because they haven't had enough hours of sleep. Therefore, one of the first things you might want to do to make your morning routine easier, is check with your pediatrician or with a trusted source of yours, how many hours should your child be sleeping at her age and make sure that those are available to her. You might also want to check if she's waking up and staying up during the night (some kids do) and if this is the case, take additional steps to provide her with what she needs. Additionally, you might want to take into consideration that some children need more hours of sleep than others. This is just their nature and it's OK.
Once you know that the necessary amount of sleep hours are covered, then comes what I call our "awakening style", aka the strategy that we actually use to wake the child up. I'd like to suggest that when you wake your child up, you do it in a loving, gentle and firm way. What does this mean? You will be warm and loving and at the same time, you will be very target oriented: it is now time to get up and there are no other options. Children can read our tone of voice and feel our doubts and therefore can tell if we really mean something or we don't, or if there is a chance to override our sayings. It is crucial then to approach the child keeping this in mind and with a firm resolution of getting her out of bed.
Another factor affecting our ability to get our child out of bed and going, is her past experiences in the subject. Let me explain: if a child is used to negotiating/extending her getting up, she will keep on doing that. If she's used that normally she ends up getting up when the parent looses his temper, then she will keep doing her part until that happens. Why? Because she'd rather be 10 more minutes in bed (even though the parent ends up getting upset), than get out of bed. Simple. More time in bed is precious and a child (or an adult) will do anything to get that. How can we overcome this? Keeping our objective in mind and not engaging in negotiation are key.
Sometimes children find that this time of the day is the only one that their caregiver really devotes to them and stretching it as much as possible is their way of saying "I love you. Please stay more with me". If this happens to be your case and you have no other available time during the day to engage with your child, then embrace it, stretch it and enjoy it. Wake your child up earlier and make this your special time of the day with her. Formally transform it into something fun that you both enjoy. When you do that, she will be happy to get up. Special time will be awaiting for her.
Last but not least, expectation is key factor when the time to get up comes. Expectation for what the day is going to deliver. If the child is looking forward to her first activity of the day, then, no problem. Getting up is easy. But, when the child is not fond of her first activity of the day though, then we see this reflected in her willingness to get up. Think of you as an adult. This probably happens to you too, doesn't it? So what can be done in this situation? I'd suggest that you allow extra time for your child to get up and that you make of that time something that the child is looking forward to. Shift her thoughts from getting up to engage in an activity that she's not fond of, to getting up to spend some quality time with you. Even if it is 15 minutes. Those are worthy of getting up.
These are some of the most common solutions (not all of them) to help parents with the process of getting their children up in the morning. I hope that you find them useful and I look forward to answering your questions. You can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Classroom Management Mentor.