Waking Up is Hard to Do
A Great Day Starts with a Great Nights Sleep
Sleep is vital to our health. Lack of sleep can leave us crabby, fuzzy in the head and lacking motivation – at the very least.
Do you ever talk about superpowers with your kids? My son asks me all the time, “If you could have a superpower what would it be?”
My first answer is usually to be able to speak every language in the world.
Close behind that is not needing to sleep.
He thinks these are incredibly boring ways to spend your superpower.
Unfortunately, if there’s one thing I’m not, it’s a superhero. And the less sleep I get the more apparent that is to everyone around me.
Moms have a tendency to shortchange themselves.
When my babies went down for a nap the last thing I wanted to do was sleep. My body was screaming for it, but my to do list was saying “GO!”
Sleep is the number one factor in an energetic life.
Sleep deprivation is a false economy – we eventually have to pay up.
I love this infographic from greatest.com:
Get better sleep tips and ideas at Greatist.com
How We Wake Up
Have you ever been jolted out of a deep sleep by a blaring alarm?
Adrenaline burst! Who needs caffeine?
Or, how about hitting the snooze button every 10 minutes for an hour?
I’m guilty of that too. Somewhere in my sleep addled brain I can’t seem to reason that a solid hour of sleep would be a heap more efficient than 6, 10-minute naps.
Some people naturally pop out of bed, alert and ready to go, the minute the alarm goes off.
I hear there are people that don’t even use an alarm. (Ha! I haven’t reached that level of biology.)
Other people need to wake up gently, in stages.
Which type of waker-upper are you? How about your children?
Smart Moms Secret to Smooth Mornings
Wake up before the family.
Morning Motivated Mom has a fabulous article on how to use this precious time.
Kathryn at Singing Through the Rain uses a kind and gentle approach.
Clean and Scentsible offers practical advice, but I especially appreciate what Jenn has to say about our attitude toward morning.
Rousing the Family
Small children seem to fall into two camps. There are the kiddos you can’t seem to get the jump on. They have a sixth sense of when you’re up. It takes a parent with spy-like qualities to score some morning quiet time.
The other type need help waking up – a gentle start to the day. Maybe a short back rub, or a cuddle, or time to look at a book.
It can be a challenge to accommodate this in the morning, but if your child has early-morning meltdowns on a regular basis, it’s worth it to build in extra wiggle room.
I have been my family’s human alarm clock far too often.
It does children a disservice to continue this.
A good rule of thumb is to transfer the responsibility of waking up as they reach middle school age.
Just say, “Your stay at the Ritz is up, dear child. No more personal wake up calls.”
A natural consequence of not being able to get yourself out of bed, once you reach the age of personal responsibility, is to set bedtime back 30 minutes – at least for a week. This isn’t a punishment and doesn’t have to be delivered like one.
It’s a mark of self-management to be able to monitor our sleep needs and adjust. Training our older children to do this will serve them well.
And by the way, it works for parents too!
4 Practical Suggestions for Smooth Mornings
Open the blinds and curtains. If it’s still dark outside turn on plenty of lights. This tells the brain to wake up.
Alarm clocks have come a long way.
There are dozens of styles to choose from.
For the hard to budge person there’s an alarm clock that hops around on the floor, forcing you to chase it around – a little exercise to start the day?
It comes in black too.
Picking out an alarm clock can be a right of passage. Like moving to a big kid bed was when they were toddlers.
Here’s something to stir up controversy: Do not rely on smartphones as an alarm clock. Children (even teens) should not go to bed with their smartphones in hand. The temptation (even for innocent distraction) is intense.
But don’t take my word for it – I found 100’s of articles and studies that back this up:
Huffington Post – Why parent’s should ban smartphones from their kids’ bedrooms.
Dr. Craig Canapari – Prevent sleep problems in kids: Keep technology out of the bedroom.
Health Day – Kids with bedroom smartphones sleep less: Study
Soft, lively music is a nice way to begin the day.
Organize the night before.
Layout clothes, outerwear, and backpacks. This preparation will go a long way towards a peaceful morning.
It’s a Matter of Time
Determining how much sleep the children need and then making sure they get it is our job.
Working backward to determine a reasonable bedtime, and then sticking to this is a part of a balanced daily routine. It will give back to your family 10-fold in harmony, good health, and sharp minds.
In Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss, Maria Papova says about sleep:
Ours is a culture where we wear our ability to get by on very little sleep as a kind of badge of honor that symbolizes work ethic, or toughness, or some other virtue – but really, it’s a total profound failure of priorities and of self-respect.
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What tips do you have for a smooth wake up routine?
If you have a blog post related to mornings, I invite you to post a link in the comments.