Family Magazine

Wake Up You Sleepy Head!!

By Joanigeltman @joanigeltman
So how are your mornings?? Is your teen a member of the "I'm getting up!!! Leave me alone club!! Do you dread getting out of bed, knowing that your early morning will be fraught with cajoling, yelling, and threatening? Once you have become your teen's personal alarm clock, you have let them off the hook. They actually don't care about all the yelling, you have just become like their personal ringtone!! They have absolutely no motivation to to get themselves up when they know that you will do it for them. Before you take the steps below, first look around for any physical/environmental issues that need to be addressed. Is your teen's room outfitted with black out shades that make it feel like the middle of the night? If you have a teen with a wake up problem, get rid of those shades immediately!!! Like these lyrics from the musical Hair, 'Let the sunshine in"! If you go to sleep before your teen, is he/she on their phones late into the night, or watching Netlfix/Hulu/Itunes until they fall asleep. Do you learn nothing from the early sleep training you did with your baby? Remember all those books you read telling you not to rock your baby before you put them in the crib because then they will never be able to self-sooth to get to sleep. Think of Netfliz/Hulu/itunes as you rocking them to sleep. First their phones/ipads/laptops should be shut off using  parental controls, or you take all tech toys out of their room at a time decided on by both of you. After you have done these checks follow the directions below!
Let them know today what you will and won't do to help them with the new morning wake-up.
YOU WILL NOT: 1. Spend the first hour of the morning making it your mission to get them up. 2. Listen to their usual morning abuse as you continue to update them about how much time they have left before the bus/ride/walk to school is approaching. 3. Give them a lateness excuse because they just couldn't get their ass out of bed. 4. Give them a ride if they choose to stay in bed and miss their bus/ride/walk to school
YOU WILL: 1. Let them know that you understand that this transition to early AM's is really hard. You understand that they do not want to get up this early, and that they hate it. 2. Share with them what you are not willing to do with respect to getting up on time.(use above list) 3. Share with them what you are willing to do:
  • Work with them to come up with a plan. Perhaps you are willing to give them two wake-up calls. But if they choose to ignore those reminders you will NOT continue to shake, scream, or otherwise annoy the hell of them until they get out of bed.
  • Be happy to drive them to school or bus stop at the appointed time. But if they choose to not to get up in time to make the ride, they will be responsible for their own transportation that day. You will not wait around for them to get up and out!
  • Buy any new required clocks or alarms they might need to rouse them out of their deepest sleep.

Your teens have got to learn to be responsible for getting up on-time. My college freshman tell me that this is their biggest challenge when they get to college. Most of them report that they sleep through most of their first classes because they never developed their own plan for wake-up, instead relying on their annoying parents to do it for them. This is your practice time. It takes years to develop good AM rituals that work. This will take some trial and error. But please stick with it. You both deserve a better start to your day.

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