By Beth Pinyerd
I know that most moms will be truthful in agreeing with me that waking your children on school mornings can be a challenge.
I know that some families may not have any problems with their children getting up on time, but that was not the case in my household.
During this time, I turned to fellow moms and educators to get some advice. My son and I went through an abundance of trial and error to avoid arguments and stress as we headed out the door for school each morning. This Classroom Observer article is written to give some helpful tips that I hope will help families in waking up their child for school.
Instead of frowns on your child’s face, I hope these tips will put a wide morning smile on your children’s faces.
- Make sure your child is healthy and that there is no hidden illness that is making them sleepy. Sometimes seasonal allergies can make a child drowsy or lethargic.
Is your child getting enough sleep? The American Academy of Sleep Medicine provides the following guidelines for these ages:
- Preschoolers: 3 to 5 years old – 10 to 13 hours (including naps)
- Grade schoolers : 6 to 12 years old – nine to 12 hours
- Teens: 13 to 18 years – eight to 10 hours
Maintaining a consistent bedtime and wake up time for your children facilitates a smooth and easier morning schedule.
- Establish a consistent morning routine by planning and preparing the night before like packing backpacks, preparing lunches, setting out school clothes, shoes, etc. Children love to get positive reinforcement when they do things well. Putting a chart up reflecting the daily chores such as washing face, brushing teeth, combing hair, getting dressed, packing lunch, grabbing backpack and rewarding your child with a star or happy face is a good morning motivator. It also provides internal morning structure and responsibility when the children can see what needs to be done.
- Opening up curtains or blinds to let the sunshine in about 10 to 15 minutes before they get up provides a natural wake-up time for your children to meet the morning. Wake-up lights slowly emit light like a sunrise. These are so good to use during the winter months when it is still dark.
- Use sound to wake up your children by setting an alarm clock and radio or phone alarm. Set a music alarm with your child’s favorite songs to pleasantly wake your child.
- Make wake-up time pleasant and fun! A family pet is a good alarm clock. Pets can nudge, snuggle and playfully wake your child. Starting a delicious smelling breakfast that is your child’s favorite is a wonderful way to gently wake up your child. Siblings can play the game to see who gets dressed the quickest. If you have an only child, the parent can compete with their child or even time your child to see which time is their quickest and best!
I hope these few suggestions make your mornings more pleasant. Our children grow up so quickly, and we want them to have happy memories of their mornings at home. By the way, my 33-year-old bachelor son in Grand Rapids, Michigan looks forward to his Alabama mom being his alarm clock at 5:30 each morning! Rather than being stressful now, I cherish the morning talks.
Pinyerd has taught young children in the early childhood classroom for 34 years, as well as outreaching to the elderly in intergenerational settings. She has taught and outreached in the schools in Opelika and Baldwin County. She holds a master’s degree in early childhood education as well as a bachelor’s degree in family and child development both from Auburn University. Her husband is the late Carl Pinyerd, and she has one son, Gus Pinyerd, who has taught her so much about learning. Classroom Observer is here to serve the community in sharing the wonderful teaching programs in our local public schools, private schools and homeschools. The column is provided to enrich the education of our children, youth and families. Classroom Observer welcomes educational news, school news, pictures and events by e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.