8 Tips for Waking a Cranky Child in the Morning
Weekday mornings can be the most tense time of the day: with preparing breakfast, packing lunches, getting ready for work, and trying to get everyone out of the house on time, the crack of dawn can be an all-out battle. Trying to get a cranky little person out of bed can take that stress over the edge of reason.
One thing that can make the mornings a lot less nerve-racking is having a household wake up on time, and without a fuss.
Some parents are fortunate enough to have perky morning children who wake up happy, smiling and full of energy, but for the rest of us, looking for ways to combat the morning wake-up blues, some suggestions are in order.
Below are eight things to know when trying to wake a not-so-pleasant child in the morning.
1. Make Sure Your Child is Getting Enough Sleep
Start by evaluating your child’s sleep schedule. Most kids don’t get enough sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, babies and toddlers typically need 12 hours of sleep during the night; preschoolers up to 13 hours; kids aged 5-12 should get 10 to 11 hours; and children aged 10-18 need to aim for 8.5 to 9.5 hours per night. If you need to change your routine to make sure your little one is getting proper shut-eye, then do it.
2. Let Them Go to Bed Earlier
Try having them go to bed 30 minutes earlier than their normal bedtime. You might have to let them wind down sooner. Turn off the technology; no phones, computer, or TV. Let them get comfy in their PJ’s and have them read a book to relax. Instilling good habits now will pay major dividends for the rest of their life.
3. Be Organized
Make sure you’re up at least an hour before the kids. If you work outside the home, be make-up and hair ready so you’re not struggling to get everyone together at the same time. Get the kid’s lunches prepared the night before and have their clothes laid out. So, when it’s time to wake up your sleeping angels you’ll have that extra time, when the unexpected expectedly occurs.
4. Let Them Wake up Naturally
Ten minutes before you actually want your child out of the bed just casually turn the light on and leave the door open. Try letting them wake up naturally. It’s tempting to let kids sleep until the last possible minute, but if you let them wake up on their own you might get less of a fight. Open the blinds to allow the sunlight to sneak through the window. Let them hear the sound of the crickets; the birds chirping; the dogs barking, and the natural sounds of the morning getting itself ready for the day. The more organic your child’s transition from sleep time to morning time, the more likely you’ll have a happy child on your hands.
5. Don’t Worry; Be Happy
It’s a sappy cliché but be cheerful and lighthearted in the morning. If your child yells or even screams when it’s time for them to get out of the bed then don’t match their negative energy. If fact, do the opposite and shower them with physical affection and positive praise. Doing so will go a long way into turning any bad attitude they may be exhibiting into a calm, peaceful mood.
6. Give Your Child Goals in the Morning
If your little one knows that they’ll earn more privileges if they get up at the designated hour, or get dressed on time, then they might be more inclined to wake up. Some of those privileges might be a bigger breakfast, or extra time on the computer, or the scenic drive in the car. You know your child so figure out what those privileges will look like, and help motivate a magical morning for everyone.
7. Have a Contest
This might work better for smaller kids, but if you get a little competition going in the morning you might get cheerful kids out of the bed, instead of cranky kids in the bed. Try saying something like, “Whoever wakes up first gets to listen to their favorite song in the car.” Or, if they’re an only child, you can challenge them with something like, “If you’re up before I count to ten, you can watch your favorite show before school.” Kids are competitive by nature, so use those instincts to help jump-start an amazing day.
8. Leave the Nightlight On
I can attest that on the days I want my oldest to wake up a little earlier I turn the nightlight on in his room, after he’s gone to sleep, and suddenly he becomes an early riser. His natural body clock is more inclined to wake him when he gets a peek of the light. So, if you want your darlings up on time and in a naturally good mood, don’t be afraid to let a little artificial light shine throughout the night, every once in a while.
It’s stressful enough trying to juggle the countless morning tasks, we mom’s manage, while trying to get out of the house on time. If possible, not adding an irritable child as one of those pressures is ideal. Hopefully, by applying at least some of these tips you’ll eliminate the morning madness and soon be waking up to a happier, more peaceful household.