How do I get my kid up in the morning?

We have a five year old that can’t get out of bed in the morning (he gets it from his Dad). He will lay in bed for 30 minutes before getting out. This is a problem on school days because it makes him late for the bus.
We would like a positive motivater to get him out of bed. We don’t want to be negative and make him cry. We tried bringing him juice but that didn’t work. We have also discussed dumping water on his head but that sounds like an absolute last resort.
Does anyone have any ideas?

Well, first of all, I’d be sure he was getting to bed early enough to be getting enough sleep. Also, make the getting-up time consistent, even on weekends. And Dad should be sure he’s setting a good example. Allow for the 30 minutes wake-up time by waking him up 30 minutes ealier than you really need him to be up and about.

Just don’t check to see if he gets to bed early enough but make sure the sleep quality is good also.

Also forcing someone to bed too early could lead to low quality of sleep.

One thing you can try is tuning on his bedroom lights and/or opening his shades, but this goes hand in hand that at night he sleeps in a dark room, without nightlights or streetlights shining in his window.

He definitely gets to bed early enough and we are fairly consistent with that. He is a good sleeper and rarely wakes up in the night. We could try to get him up earlier. Maybe an alarm would work. I was actually looking for creative solutions that have worked for other people.

Wet a washcloth and put it in the freezer. Put it on his neck after the second wakeup call. My mom used that pretty sucessfully.

Get an alarm clock of the type that will continues sounding until the button is pressed. Set it and place it across the room so that it cannot be reached from the bed.

Alternatively, maybe he needs to get to bed earlier on nights before school days; does he have a set bedtime?

Nothing to add. But this thread did remind me of a scene in The Great Santini.

Is there a reason why you can’t physically remove him from his bed each school morning?

For greater reinforcement, if he gets out of bed late there will be no time for dressing and breakfast before the school bus leaves. Throw him out the door in his pyjamas and clutching a snack bar or something for sustenance. These are called **consequences. ** :wink:

He will be up at sparrows fart the next morning, I can assure you

Here’s a weird thought…

When I was a kid my mom had a job that resulted in a phone call every morning at 6:30. This was 30 minutes before I had to get up for school. When the phone rang, she’d come in and turn on my lights, and I would eventually get up on time because I had time to “wake up”, plus the stimulation of the phone ringing and the lights. I never got up because of my alarm or my parents’ alarm. Just 30 minutes after the phone rang.

Now, I live on my own. I have 2 alarms on my clock radio that go off every morning, and the radio plays. I sleep through both alarms and generally do not get up until I have to pee (which is the same time every morning - I’m awake enough because of the radio to notice the urge to pee). I am indeed lazy in this respect.

HOWEVER…even though I never hear the alarm (right next to my head), I always always always hear the phone (a room away), and usually jump out of bed when it rings. If I don’t jump out of bed, I at least get up shortly after it rings - i just can’t fall back asleep.

So perhaps you could condition your son like I was conditioned by my phone. Use your cell phone to call your house phone X minutes before he has to get up, then switch on his light. You will probably have to physically roust him for a while, but his body and mind just might end up trained to think phone - light - get up.

Worked for me :slight_smile:

I had the same problem, mom and dad never did cure me of it. The Army did. One morning the drill yelled “On Your Feet” and one second later I was hit in the face with a bucket of ice cold water, and a second after that a bucket of sand. That was in 1980. To this day I wake up right away. On weekends I might choose to go back to bed, but I am awake at 6:00AM everyday, alarm or not. (Wake up in the army was much earlier) I like the idea of the icy wash-cloth earlier mentioned, sounds like a more humane version of the same.

Personally, I think a warm one would work just as well. Put it over his eyes and leave it. It will get cooler eventually. But it would be a more positive thing than icy cold. I dimly remember my grandmother doing this…

The OP is lookiing for opinions rather than a single factual answer, so let’s put this in IMHO.


He’s five. How much of the washing/dressing/feeding routine in the morning is he responsible for on his own? I get the sense it might be a lot, since you aren’t simply picking him up and dressing him, etc. Five is kind of young to be responsible on his own for most of those chores. For a Five, it can seem like a lot more work than we’d think, since zippers, laces, etc. are trickier for them. If he’s on his own for a lot of the morning routine, maybe it just seems like a daunting amount of work. Maybe he needs more help/supervision. My parents were sticklers for self-reliance in these matters, but not until we were about seven.

The other thing that occurs to me is that you do not want to be bribing him to get out of bed. If you do, he will probably refuse to ever perform without the bribe. I’d recommend coming up with a reasonable punishment ahead of time and tell him what it will be. For example, “If you aren’t up and dressed in time to meet the bus, then I am taking away your favorite toy for a week. Mess up again the next day, and you lose your second favorite.” And so forth, until compliance.

The first time he does an acceptable job, you might give him a small reward. Don’t tell him to expect a reward ahead of time, or it will become a bribe. This is the carrot part of the training. After that, maybe give him another reward when he does well for a whole week. Don’t reward every time, or he will come to expect it. Maybe a little present for becoming “a real big boy” when he is doing this on a regular basis.

I would definitely suggest buying him a “cool” alarm clock so that he can learn to take responsibility for the waking up part himself. In my experience, telling a little boy “this is what big boys do, don’t you want to be a big boy like (man he admires)?” can work wonders.

Not a parent, but I’ve used this method on younger cousins and other charges of various ages, and it works very well. This is also the basic method some friends of mine have used to get their daughter potty trained and to achieve some other troublesome milestones.

My dad used to (when he was in a good mood) get us up by coming into our rooms and singing horrible annoying songs at us or just… being really REALLY irritating in a way that was a million times more irritating first thing in the morning. We’d get up just to make him go away.

When I was a very very little girl, like in preschool and maybe kindergarten, my mom used to get me up by sitting on my bed with me and talking to me while she helped me get dressed. It wasn’t that I couldn’t get dressed on my own or that I needed help… I don’t even know why she did it, but I liked getting to talk to my mommy in the morning and I liked being pampered that little bit. Plus with her sitting right there, I couldn’t just go back to sleep and I had to move around, which woke me up.

There was a short time when I was in first grade or so that my sister and I would get up early to watch Arthur or Sesame Street or something. We’d eat breakfast while watching TV and we’d be wide awake by the time we had to go to school, plus we had something slightly more pleasant than school (which, even for a little kid, can really suck sometimes) to get up for.

My dad used to whip our bedsheets off - which was fine until I discovered self-abuse…

Another one my parents did was feed us very early, so by the time morning came around, we’d be hungry and get up to eat breakfast. He swears by always “go to bed a little bit hungry” for losing weight too.

I second the talking to and helping get dressed route. It also may mean that this is a permanent feature of your mornings… My younger son at six is still in the toddler mode of “once awake cannot go back to sleep and must rouse the entire household”. The older one at nearly ten has learned to roll over and go back to sleep, and he is impossible to get up pleasantly.

So we get up unpleasantly - which means me talking to him, rubbing his back and giving him ten minutes warning. Then I call up the stairs that he is to get up. Then I YELL, then I go up the stairs and take all the bedding off and take it across to my room so he can’t grab it back.

He has never been to school in his pyjamas but he has gone un-fed on more than a few occasions…

Also we have a no-TV in the morning rule as they both yell and scream and cry for more, no matter what the time is and no matter how late it is. If they could agree to watch one programme and then have the TV off I would allow it but there’s enough angst in the mornings without deliberately causing any more.

One more thing that is vital in our family morning routine - If I am lazy about getting up then the whole morning goes to shit and we all end up yelling at each other. If I get up properly (which for me means a good 45 minutes before everyone else) and get my own self dealt with and caffienated, then I can be more patient and pleasant with everyone else. Shave even 20 minutes off that and it is not a pretty sight. - Does this have any relevance to your situation too?

And one other thing - close the curtains or blinds when he goes to bed but when you go to bed open the curtains so that he can be affected by the light changing as the sun rises. That certainly affects my younger son to a good degree though my older son is simply a zombie and nothing helps to be honest. I even have to remind him to keep his spoon moving, or the next time I look he’s glazed over, with his chin in his hand, and empty spoon hovering at chest level in the other hand, and puddles of milk and cereal all over the table…

My dad said his father used to put his finger on the end of my dad’s nose. My dad did it to me once…and it worked.

Or you can try my tactic. Stand at the bottom of the stairs and scream your fool head off like a crazy person. It doesn’t work, but you feel like you’re making an effort.

My daughter is five and will stay in bed and make her late for the school bus.

I turn on her light and tell her its time to get up. I then get in the shower. She knows she is to be dressed by the time I get out. If she isn’t out of bed I pull back the covers and stand her up myself. I don’t hurt her. I am gentle. I am her father and her little 5 year old brain likes it when I establish rules and then enforce them. It gives her security about her world.

But I think the art of making children respect their parents and obey is somewhat out of fashion.

Maybe you could have breakfast catered and hosted by Barnie the Dinosaur. That would be a positive motivator. Maybe you could ask him what you could do that would be positive enough to make him obey you. Is the juice you bring him fresh squeezed? Maybe you could get one of those trays and bring him breakfast in bed with a flower in a vase on the side.
Of course I am being facetious, but I see parents who are afraid to upset their kids to make them mind, and how the kids grow up to be spoiled brats no one wants to be around.

I’ve got a cat you can borrow. Heck, I don’t even need an alarm clock anymore because he keeps waking me up at 5:30 wanting to play.

I wish I could help more, but I was always one of those kids who woke up early (like 6 AM) without an alarm clock or anything. In fact, it wasn’t until really high school–where sometimes I’d have to be up at 5:30 to be at school at 6:30–that I really used an alarm clock.

My mother used to wake me up by throwing the cat and the dog on the bed on top of me. The cat and the dog hated each other.

Now, when my kids spend the night at her house and she needs them to get up, she leaves the cat out of the equation and just throws her big stupid goofy hyper clumsy lump that she calls a dog on the bed. Works just as well.

So get a puppy! Preferably a big dumb one that likes to play and won’t just crawl under the covers and doze off.