When you’re a parent of school-aged kids or teens, there’s only one thing harder than getting them to go to sleep: getting those kids to wake up in the morning. As they get older, it gets harder and harder to get them to rise and shine. And the later they are, the more flustered, out of sync, and rushed they feel — which can screw up their schedule and mood (not to mention yours) for the whole day. It’s tempting to go the revisit the ice bucket challenge upon your stubborn middle schooler after 30 minutes of singing lullabies and gently shaking them doesn’t elicit more than a snore, but hold off.
One way to make waking up easier? Make sure they’re getting enough sleep at night, with nighttime rituals to get them those precious 8 hours. If you have older kids, there is an art to getting older kids to sleep, but it will drastically affect their mornings. There is no shortage of creative ways to get your kids out of bed in the morning, so we spoke with 10 real moms on how they get their kiddos up and at ’em. And none of them involve yelling. Shocker.
Lori, mom of a middle schooler, says she adds a little rock ‘n’ roll to the mornings. “I put on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon – the beginning of the song. Turn the volume up to 10! If you don’t know it, go listen, you’ll understand.” Playing one of their favorite songs (or yours, if you don’t want to hear what qualifies as music these days) in the morning, and gradually increasing the volume is a great alternative to the annoying alarm clock that gives everyone a heart attack when it goes off.
Hone your acting skills
Razwana created a character to help her son get out of bed. “I created a character named ‘Tiny Tim’ (yes, I know, so creative) who speaks in a high pitched voice, almost like Elmo. Tiny Tim runs across my son’s back, slipping and sliding, (his legs are my index and middle fingers.) Within 30 seconds My son is half asleep and giggling. Tiny Tim also likes to pick parts of his body and jump on them, help him open his eyes in the bathroom by covering his eyes, and then with a made up song, uncover his eyes at certain words. Lastly, Tiny Tim celebrates by jumping from one shoulder to another when he is finally up.” I can’t think of a better way to start the day than with giggles!
Or, your trumpet skills
Teresa, whose husband is in the military, tells SheKnows that when he is home, he wakes up the kids in an interesting way; “If a verbal ‘time to get up’ doesn’t do the trick, he comes into their shared room and, as loudly as possible, makes trumpet noises like they do in the military to wake everyone up. That always does it, sometimes eliciting groans, sometimes smirks and giggles, but it always gets them out of bed. When he’s not home, if they don’t get up when I ask them, I threaten to buy their dad a real trumpet. They always leap out of bed going, “No, no, no, nooooo!” For those of you who aren’t blessed with the ability to make trumpet noises, explore what noises you can make loudly, and go with that. Even if it’s just fart noises reeeeally close to their face.
Feel free to be evil
Tami, mom to two sons, has a harsher plan of attack to raise her kids from slumberland. “When I have a hard time getting my sons up I shake them and say, ‘Honey, school’s cancelled!’ and they leap up with a smile and say, “Really mom? No school?” To which I deviously walk out of the bedroom and say “Nope, jk.” Pure Evil. I like it.
Let tech help
Jodi, mom of 3, uses technology to her advantage in the mornings. “Each of my boys have a Google Home Mini in their room. I go in about 10 minutes before wake-up time, open the curtains and kiss them each good morning. Then when it’s time to get up I ‘broadcast’ “Wake up, it’s time for breakfast.” The mini broadcasts in their rooms simultaneously. It has funny sound effects, a rooster sound for wake up and a bell for breakfast. If that doesn’t work, on occasion I’ve taken out the mini bullhorn. It usually does the trick.”
There’s always bribery…
Sheri, who has 4 girls, says, “Breakfast bribe is the way to go — say, ‘If you don’t get up, you don’t get special breakfast.” (It’s not usually special.) One of my daughters is fiercely competitive, so a challenge always gets her going. I say, “I’m faster than you, I’m going to beat you downstairs!” If that doesn’t work, I up the ante with one of my favs after I’ve tried everything: “No snack or electronics tonight if I beat you downstairs!” Challenge accepted.
…and frozen marbles.
Li says, “I was miraculously blessed with one morning child, so I only ever have to worry about my son, who sleeps through his alarm daily. I keep a bag of frozen marbles in the freezer. If he won’t get up, I dump them into his bed. They will roll wherever his body goes, and leaves no mess.” Much better than the ice water plan. If frozen marbles are a little too much for you, try slipping a hot/cold pack under their sheets by their feet, then only one body gets chilly.
Enlist the pup
Cindy tells SheKnows she uses her pets to her advantage, “I send in the tail-wagging-super-happy-loves-to-give-lick-kisses puppy and open all the shades! The dog won’t stop licking them until they get up.” If you don’t have a dog, (or your dog is like mine and would just curl up with your kid and go back to sleep) buy a faux fur pillow or really hairy stuffed animal, and try tucking that under their covers while yelling, “Raccoon!” Not that I’m speaking from personal experience, but it will work. Trust me. Sorry Jack.
Or try a foot massage
Victoria says, “A foot massage is the only way to go. My 10 year old claims he can’t wake up without it.” Ask your pediatrician about reflexology for kids, or check out these tips for giving a baller foot massage. Body massages are a great way to wake up- wouldn’t you want to be woken up like that?
Establishing a morning routine that works for you and your kids is tricky, but routine is key. Keep your mornings light and happy by leaving plenty of time for them to stare at the cereal box for 20 minutes while their brains warm up, or fall back asleep in the shower for an extra 15. You’ll be happy, and your day will go better when everyone is less stressed to start their day.
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