Are you losing sleep over waking up your tween or teen in the morning? Quit yelling and try these unique tips (that really work!) to get your kids up and out of the bed in the morning.
Teens and tweens need around nine hours of sleep each night and if they don't go to bed early enough, they can be waking up during their deepest phase of sleep making them groggy and grouchy. Try pushing back bedtime an hour or so and see how much easier mornings can be. None of these fancy tricks can work if your child is chronically sleep deprived.
Now that we have that lecture out of the way, try some of these parent-approved tricks for waking up your kids in the morning.
Use a wake up light
Light tells your body it is time to wake up. You can open up the blinds and curtains about 15 minutes before your child should wake up to ease them out of sleep, but this doesn’t always work if they must wake up before sunrise, which is often the case during the winter.
This is where a wake up light alarm clock comes in. There are many different types on the market, but this Verilux Shine Natural Wake Up Light alarm clock ($69) is great because its light gets progressively brighter, which allows a smooth transition from sleeping to waking.
It also lets you choose different soothing sounds, such as ocean rhythms or songbird serenade, or you can choose an alarm tone or your kid's favorite FM radio station.
Turn your teen's iPhone into an alarm clock
You know how most teens go into withdrawal if they don’t have their phones with them at all times? Use that to your advantage by turning their iPhone into an alarm clock with Distil Union's Snooze Alarm clock ($40). This is compatible with iPhone 4/4S and iPhone 5. You simply download the free Snooze app in iTunes that turns the iPhone screen into a dimmable clock display. You then slide your phone into the alarm dock and they are responsible for setting their alarm clock and turning it off (by hitting the rubber snooze bar) and waking up in the morning.
This leads us to the next tip…
Teaching responsibility and consequences
Family therapist and licensed professional clinical counselor Lisa Bahar says it is important to set your child up for success, but also let them deal with the consequences that may arise from being tardy. For example, if they ignore their alarm clock and are late to school, they may have to go to detention or miss out on a field trip. Yes, it may take some motivation on your part to not go in and wake them up, but letting them learn the consequence and knowing the importance of being on time is an important life skill for teens.
“The consequences will ultimately provide the child the strengthening of the impulse center and judgment center and may in the long run, create better life skills for the future to come as an adult,” she says.
Futuristic "Blue Blocking" eyeglasses
“A novel way to advance the circadian cycle has been proposed as a way to solve the problem associated with the early starting times of middle and high schools,” says Richard L. Hansler, Ph.D. and director of Lighting Innovations. “Because the students like to stay up late working on their computers or watching television, their melatonin cycle is delayed. This means that in the morning, the cycle doesn’t end until well after they are in school.”
He states that new research shows that wearing glasses that block blue light is actually the same as far as producing melatonin.
“Wearing blue-blocking eyeglasses a few hours before bedtime resets the internal clocks to an earlier hour,” he says, resulting in your tween or teen waking up feeling more rested.
If your teen rebels against wearing the blue blocking sunglasses before bed, they also have special light bulbs and filters for iPhones and iPads.
At the very least, have your teen and tween stop using all electronics a few hours before bedtime.
Enlist the help of Fido!
Not a fan of technology and prefer to wake them up, old-school style? Get some help from your family dog!
“When I was a teenager, my folks would do anything from vacuuming, to pounding chicken cutlets with a meat hammer and singing chants (my mother), to slamming the laundry chute door,” said Dr. Chad Laurence of Corrective Chiropractic. "The one thing that always worked would be that my dad would slightly open the bedroom door, and the dog would jump up on the bed, give you a good face wash, and wake all of the kids up. I mean, how could any of us be angry at the dog? We would lie there for some time later, and then my dad would do it again!”
Clocky alarm clock
Sometimes the only way to get your teen or tween up in the morning is to make them physically get out of bed – which is where the Clocky Alarm Clock on Wheels comes in ($32, Amazon).
This cheeky little alarm clock makes all kinds of noises as it rolls off the bedside table and around the room — forcing your teen to chase it to turn it off. (Bonus points for the parents who get entertainment value out of watching their dreary teen chase the alarm clock around the room!)
Let them earn rewards for waking up
Turn the morning routine into a learning experience that makes mornings easier!
“To help parents get teens and tweens up in the morning for school, one helpful tool is creating a structured routine with points that can be earned for special privileges, money, etc.,” says Carrie Krawiec, licensed marriage and family therapist at Birmingham Maple Clinic in Troy, Michigan, and Executive Director of Michigan Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.
She says to create a morning schedule consisting of five points, for example:
- Be up by 7 a.m.
- Get dressed
- Teeth brushed
- Eat breakfast
- Backpack ready
“They could be the ones that are the most difficult or a mix of ones that are easy to accomplish with ones that are a challenges,” she says.
She said you could assign points with more difficult items earning more points — or you can keep them equal. “You should expect 70 percent success from your child," she said. "There can be small rewards for getting 70 percent each day (an iTunes download, extra screen time) and larger rewards for getting 70 percent of the week accomplished (a movie with parents or friends, choosing family dinner) and even larger for a month of 70 percent or better (getting nails done, hair feather, money toward a desired item).
Play your tween awake
“We try to play our kids away in the a.m. — no joke,” says Elaine Taylor-Klaus. She says tickling is a big hit, as is the threat of getting sprayed by the water bottle or “younger brother gets to ‘pounce’ on older sisters. For teens who have started to drive, letting them know they can drive to school may also be the motivation they need to get out of bed."
Smell them awake!
The smell of bacon cooking or their favorite bagel toasting may help encourage them to get out of bed. You can also use aromatherapy to your advantage and light a candle with peppermint oil, which is supposed to increase alertness.
If all else fails…..
“Do it the old-fashioned way: Pour a cup of cold water on the sheets and pillows! When a warm, cozy bed turns cold and damp, much of the appeal of sleeping there disappears,” says Dennis Zaremski, Director of Marketing at Sites by Hand.
You probably only need to do this once, as the threat of doing it again should be enough to jolt them out of bed!
TEll us!^ How do you get your kids out of bed in the morning? Leave us a comment below!