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How To Get Children Out Of Bed In The Morning

One mother told me she was sick and tired of the war zone that occurred in her house every morning. By 9 a.m. every morning she felt like reaching for a major tranquilizer or something stronger. Her solution, which may be a bit too drastic for you, was to shift her entire time schedule. Rather than waking at 6:30 a.m. and fighting tooth-and-nail to be out of the house on time, she decided to make breakfast the main family meal of the day.

How To Get Children Out Of Bed In The Morning

"I read somewhere that you should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and have your evening meal like a pauper," she told me. "So I decided to reinvent our life. I'm up at 4:30 a.m. and I cook the best damn breakfast you have ever seen. The level of hunger from having a very light evening meal plus the delicious aromas wafting through the house entrance even the laziest pair of nostrils. By 7 a.m. we sit down together for the main meal of the day. To do this, we all need to be washed. Whereas we used to talk about how the day had gone, now we talk about our plans for the day."

Now you may not want to go as far as that mother did, but there are a few great ideas that I got from her that I regularly suggest to families with bright kids:

Make sure your bright kid(s) and you get adequate sleep.
Decide on the best time for the family to wake up, and start shifting the start of the day to that time. It may take you a few weeks to get there. That's fine. Focus more on the time people awaken rather than on bedtime. Once a wake-up time is firmly established, you can then put your energies into enforcing a bedtime. 

Cook a great breakfast. 

Not only will your bright kid's mood improve, she will find it easier to concentrate in school. A condition of sitting down to breakfast is being washed and dressed. Parents of bright kids often respond to this idea by saying that their child is not hungry in the morning. Try reducing food intake in the evening and see what happens.

Play music to wake people up. 

Half an hour before you expect people to be up, put on your favorite songs for the day. Play them loud. Sing along. One father who tried this told me his teenage son would get up just to turn his music off. 

Allow enough time. 

You simply can't mobilize bright kids in a short period of time. Sure, you can lay down challenges to the Competitors and the Dare Devils, reward the Debaters, cajole the Passive Resisters, praise the Manipulators, and wheel and deal with the Negotiators, but you don't want to do it every morning.
In one of the books, Raising Real People, there's a survey of parents on the top 10 things they did to get kids out of bed in the morning. Let me repeat them here.

  1. Play your old CDs at full volume.
  2. Invite their friends over for breakfast.
  3. Get a dog to jump on their bed. 
  4. Get a larger or scarier animal to jump on their bed. 
  5. Scream "Get up" into a tape recorder, and make a continuous |oop of the tape. Place the tape recorder outside their bedroom door and then creep off. 
  6. Have the family breakfast in their room. 
  7. Sneak into their bedroom and change the clock so it appears to be hours later than it actually is. Parents say this is a one-time event, but it's such good fun it's worth doing. 
  8. Have a morning phone call. If they have a cell phone, call it. As you will have wisely banned cell phones from bedrooms, they just may get up to answer it. 
  9. Come into their room and start an interesting conversation about anything, and don't stop until they get up. 
  10. Hop into bed with them and have a cuddle. Be warned, though: one mother who did this nodded off back to sleep and was late for work. 

To find out more, you can check out How To Get Children Out Of Bed In The Morning.