Mornings can be hard even for those who are used to getting up with the sun.
However, since young children can often be irrational creatures in every regard, it can be especially challenging to wake a grumpy child and seamlessly get out of the door without losing your mind, or your cool.
It can amaze even the most seasoned moms to see such a peaceful angel sleeping only to turn into a Tasmanian devil when their eyes are opened before they are ready.
If you have ever felt the wrath of a toddler, you know exactly what I am talking about.
What is a mother to do when she has places to be, errands to run, work to attend to or even a doctor appointment for said child?
There are a few tips from some seasoned parents that may help make your morning go a little smoother and hopefully to at least soothe that wild beast you have awoken.
1. Make Sure Your Child Is Getting A Full Night Sleep
According to WebMD, there are specific recommendations for each and every age child.
Of course we know that each child is a unique individual but these guidelines should help you at least assess if your child is possibly deprived of those precious zzz’s.
For children ages 1-3 the recommendation is between 12-14 hours a day, depending on whether the child still naps.
For ages 3-6 the recommendation is 10-12 hours a day, with many children still napping until age 5.
For ages 7-12 years old a rest of 10-11 hours a day is ideal.
Finally, for those over age 12, the sleep requirements decrease to a mere 8-9 hours a night.
The amount of sleep your child has can directly impact the ability to rouse in the morning, as well as the mood you find your precious gem in.
2. Ensure That You Have A Steady Routine For Bedtime And Morning
Children thrive on routine. They like to know what is coming next as it makes them feel safe and secure, as well as calm.
Knowing this information should enable you to create a calm and steady bedtime routine that is the same the majority of the time.
For younger children it may be a warm bath followed by a story, for older children possibly a soothing sounds track of oceans or rainstorms, and for preteens creating a digital free zone in the bedroom to promote good sleep habits minus the media devices.
In the morning there should also be a routine created that enables the child to have their day started in like manner.
For younger children maybe an instant trip to use the restroom followed by teeth brushing and dressing, for older children maybe showering and taking care of bathroom routines.
Regardless of what type of routine you develop, keeping it consistent is key.
3. Wake Them Twice
Many of us adults are guilty of using our snooze button to allow our bodies to become used to the idea of waking in the morning.
As you develop your morning routine consider letting your children know that the first time you wake them will be gentle (maybe a kiss on the forehead or a soothing stroke of the hair).
The second time you come, you expect more than a flutter of the eyelids.
You can also institute either rewards or consequences for this obedience as well.
If they follow your rules and get up and moving right away the second go, offer a reward.
If they continue to fail to obey in waking and getting moving, offer a consequence.
Allow the child 10-15 minutes between wake up calls and see if that can help lull them from the grip of the sandman.
4. Let The Sun Shine In
Though it is very important in the evening at bedtime to have a quiet and darkened room to help lull your little one off to dreamland, it is equally important to create an energized environment in the morning.
Open the curtains, twist up the blinds and allow the light in.
Our bodies have natural rhythms that wake and sleep with light cues (just think of all of the poor people living in Alaska who spend exorbitant amounts of money on light blocking shades for the days of 24 hour light).
If your child is very difficult to rouse, start by letting the light in.
If you are in a season of no natural light at the hour you need them to wake, turn on the lights and see if you can allow them to wake on their own without the peaceful and dark nighttime cues.
5. Cook Breakfast
It is hard to sleep through the scrumptious smells of a well prepared meal.
When the grumpy starts to come out, let your child know what they can expect for breakfast once they are ready for the day (bribery here is not out of the question if there is a favorite meal they have).
Maybe you have prepared muffins the night before leaving the batter in the refrigerator for morning, go ahead and toss them in the oven so your home smells like a fresh bakery.
If you have more time at your disposal consider your child’s favorites and try to feed the good mood through the old factory senses.
6. Bonus Charts
Never underestimate the reward system.
Set some expectations and bust out a sticker chart.
If your child wakes and readies themselves without incident every day for a week, offer a small treat as a reward for the desired behavior.
7. Music To Soothe The Savage Beast
Develop a morning playlist of your child’s favorite energetic make-you-move-and-groove kind of songs.
Amp this up in the mornings to get them roused and going, hopefully without the grumpiness joining you.
8. Morning Snuggles
As previously mentioned some children need a little extra time to wake.
What better way to take advantage of this then to plan into your morning routine a few moments of snuggle time with your little one.
Climb in their bed and spend a few moments hugging and snuggling your little one awake.
As long as you plan for this time it should not derail your morning routine.
9. Competition Extreme
If you have multiple children, start a competition.
Whoever can get up and moving, dressed and ready to meet the day first wins.
It could be a prize, a title, a coveted spot at the breakfast table, the sky is the limit here.
The idea is to let their competitive nature shine to your advantage.
10. Ask Their Advice
If you have exhausted this list and you are still not achieving the goals you would like to achieve, sit down with your child and ask them what might help them.
Sometimes when we seek advice from our children regarding specific behaviors changing, we are surprised by the answers.
It might be as simple as, “I want to watch Nickelodeon in the mornings.”
You then have a starting point where you may be able to work something you hadn’t thought of in to your morning routine to make it easier on the entire family.
Give some thought mom and dad, to how you wake in your best form to greet the day, be creative and sometimes patient.
Using some of these tips should enable you to have a smoother, less stressful morning routine.
Now go wake that Tasmanian devil.