The mornings are getting colder and darker, it’s no wonder kids find it hard to get up in the morning for school! Here are some tips from WebMD to make morning time a happy time in your home.
1. Start Planning Early
Family psychologist David Swanson, author of HELP– My Kid is Driving Me Crazy, says it’s important to recognize that transitioning from the relaxed schedule of summer to the structure of the school year is a process. “Parents make the mistake of waiting until the last minute,” Swanson says. And if you wait until the night before school starts to get the kids to bed early, you can’t expect a smooth morning. Start preparing your kids at least a week before school starts.
2. Look Beyond Bedtime
“If we approach sleep appropriately,” Swanson says, “we look at a kid’s whole day. If you want your kids back to sleep on time, have dinner at a set time and limit the computer, TV, and video game time,” he says. “You’re not just trying to get them back to bed, but into a routine.”
Many parents expect teens will give them a hard time about a cell phone or computer curfew. Swanson suggests talking with them about privileges and consequences. He suggests a script along the lines of, “We’ve given you the privilege of having a cell phone, handheld games, etc., and we’ve entrusted you with them. If you can show us that you can stick to this transition, great. But if you are using them after bedtime, you’re showing us you can’t manage it and we need to help you.” Swanson says you can help by being prepared to take the items away if your child can’t stick to the plan.
Spivack also urges parents to avoid days that are too full. ”Kids can’t be scheduled every minute of their lives and be relaxed. Watch out for overscheduling and buying into competitive parenting. Make time for them to have a good bedtime. Chill time is more valuable than another class,” Spivack says.
3. Get Back to the Routine
After months of staying up late, you can’t go to bed earlier before you begin waking up earlier, Spivack says. So, at least a week before summer vacation ends, start setting the alarm clocks.
Begin with a wake up time that is about an hour earlier than usual. For example, if your 6-year-old goes to bed at 9 p.m. during the summer and needs to get back to an 8 p.m. bedtime for school, begin by waking her up at 7 a.m. instead of letting her sleep until 8. Then try inching her bedtime back the next night to 8:30 p.m. On day two, wake her up at 6:30 a.m. and aim for an 8 p.m. bedtime.
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