If quarantine life has seeped into your soul as if it has been there forever (rolling my eyes as being tired of this pandemic now!), I’m sure you would agree that ‘time’ has become almost like an abstract concept. Those schedules and routines seem to be things of the past and day structures have become looser. And if you’re struggling to get your kids ready in the morning or to maintain some semblance of consistency each day, you’re not alone.
The Pandemic & Shift In Sleeping Patterns
While the past academic year has gone by virtually in survival mode, here’s to another every-day-is-pyjama-day school year. Indeed, the pandemic has significantly shifted kids’ sleeping patterns, let aside the effect it has had on their socio-emotional growth. I’m too embarrassed to admit how much later bedtimes became in my household as compared to pre-covid times.
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of sleep when it comes to how kids feel, behave, and interact with others, Like adults, sleep-deprived kids have a hard time springing out of bed; they also get grumpy when asked to do something they don’t want to do, and they have a harder time paying attention. The impact is compounded for children because now they are not even stepping out of homes or meeting their friends or indulging in much physical activity.
Lay Down Simple Rules First
Well, the rule is simple- early to bed- early to rise.
If they’re not going to bed early enough or if they’re not sleeping well during those hours, mornings are sure to be tougher. If you are struggling with morning wake-ups for kids, the first step is to start reworking on their bedtime schedule and make small gradual changes.
Besides this, kids need to move during the day. We know the limitations of these times- with long hours of remote learning, socially distanced classrooms, and Zoom play dates, the scope of physical activity is limited, but there do exist some simple ways of keeping the kids charged up into physical play indoors. Taking an active break, such as playing tag, dancing, or running a lap around the yard, after virtual classes can help kids focus better and, at night, fall asleep faster, too. A child that doesn’t sleep enough will definitely have trouble waking up.
Figure Out A Wake-Up Strategy
After figuring out how to put a child to sleep, which is by no means a simple process, a parent’s next task is to devise a strategy for waking kids up. Make no mistake, mornings are easier than evenings, but that doesn’t mean that a gentle shake is gonna get it done. The way a child wakes up can weigh heavily on their willingness to tackle the day with a positive attitude, which in turn influences the way they learn and develop. It’s actually an important process to really consider.
I discovered that two specific things prevented my kids from leaving their bed in the morning:
- Not getting enough sleep the night before
- No real incentive to wake up earlier.
And that’s when I discovered these 10 ways to get kids out of bed In the morning, more cheerfully and happily.
10 Ways To Get Your Kids Out Of Bed In The Morning
1. Give Them A Buffer
Do you wake up and instantly throw back the covers and jump out of bed? Well no, right? Who wants to do that? I am definitely not one for jumping out of bed. Why should I expect this from my own child? We all like to roll and stretch a bit, gaze outside for a moment, pick up the phone and maybe check to see if there’s something important, sigh a little bit, and THEN get up.
Just the same way, I now start the wake-up process 15 mins earlier. That way, when kids request, “Mumma, just 5 minutes more, please”, this mommy is more than happy to grant that wish. I open the curtains, set up stuff for their bath, grab a glass of water for myself and by the time I go back in, they are ready to wake up and with that smile! Try giving your kids a (short) set amount of time to lounge between ‘wake up’ and ‘get up’. It works.
2. Let In The Light
Natural light functions as a stimulator for our brains to release serotonin which, in turn, helps us feel awake. That’s why it’s a really good idea to let some sunshine into your child’s room about 15 minutes before you want them to get out of bed. Sunlight, literally, wakes up the brain.
3. Turn On The Music
Music is relaxing in any state of mind or any time of the day. And for morning wake-ups, it’s a sure-shot winner. You can make a playlist with songs of kids’ choice, preferable songs with positive lyrics and messages, strong beats or songs that start gently and then pick up.
This will definitely make their mood better and help them to escape that usual early-morning grumpiness. This can be a really good way to wake up your kid because music will obviously raise their interest and make them get out of bed. Moreover, they can continue listening to it while getting dressed and having breakfast.
4. Give Them Choices
What to wear? What to eat for breakfast? These are some of the choices you can involve your child in and arouse their interest in opening their eyes to look at you and respond.
This will keep the routine moving along and also provide them with a sense of control.
With my daughter, the word ‘glitter’ works like a magic spell. “Which glittery top were you talking about that you want to wear today? I can’t find it. Come here once”. And voila! Kiddo is out of bed!
5. Wake Up With A Cuddle Party Or A Tickle Monster Attack
If the good morning song doesn’t work (which is seldom), attack them with kisses, hugs, and tickles. I tickle my 5-year-old’s feet until he wakes up and I tell him that I’ll stop as soon as he’s on the floor. It works! You can also start a conversation about plans of the day, any new things that you would be trying with them. Anything that would excite them.
My kids get a real high when I tell them that we have a science experiment planned for the day and the excitement levels are uncontrollable. As the discussions start and move on amidst several questions from their end, they are already out of the bed and into the shower!
6. Do Your Household Chores In The Morning
Don’t get me wrong, it might sound a bit nasty, but sometimes this is the last resort I am left with. Remember back in our childhood, especially during summer holidays, the most effective ‘alarm clock’ was the humble house help who would switch off the fan just to broom around. Within a few minutes, I remember being up and about. So vacuum cook, whatever. Get the house going. It may not get them out of bed, but they won’t fall back asleep.
7. First One Up And Ready Gets To Choose Which Cartoon To Watch
My kids follow a very monitored and limited television time. So if we are having a particularly sluggish morning, mommy makes this announcement and the race to getting ready begins. Reward system works for people.
8. The Good Morning Song
Since the day I became a mom, I have reached the epitome of creativity and can actually make a song on the fly. A couple of such songs are like ‘morning anthems’ that I sing while waking up my kids. Trust me, children find it better than a croaky alarm clock and wake up with smiles.
9. Baby Sibling On Wake-Up Duty
Oh well, need I say more?
If you have a baby around (who is happily up even before the crack of dawn), let them come to the rescue for wake-up duty. Kids love snuggling around with little siblings and I think there can be no better way to get up in the morning. If you are a pet parent, they are great too for this responsibility!
10. Give Them An Alarm Clock And Teach Them How To Use It
You might have to do some “alarm training” before they get it. Just don’t let them hit snooze!
Nonetheless, a well-rested parent is the best possible alarm for children. The fact is that a parent’s attitude about the morning will be reflected in their child. If you wake up frazzled and angry, then you shouldn’t expect any better from your kid. Now that might mean waking up 20 minutes earlier to make sure that you are ready to provide whatever support your child needs.
So a really great idea to get your kids to wake up happy is to simply make sure they as well as you get enough sleep.
These (pandemic days) are the times when you really need to be kind to yourself as a parent and also be kind to your child. Everything is hard right now. We need to acknowledge that as much as we can. I hope you have some happy mornings coming your way soon!