Developmentally, children have the capability to get themselves up in the morning by the time they reach kindergarten. We have coached many parents who are still struggling with getting their children up in the morning, even when their adult child is in college miles away! Now is the time to empower your child!
So if you are the one in charge of waking your child up in the morning prepare to fire yourself from this job. You might ask, “How do I do this?” Start a conversation with your child. If they are still young, present the idea in an exciting tone. Something like, “Now that you are beginning kindergarten, you are old enough to get yourself up in the morning. You are in charge of yourself! We are going to go and pick out a fun and cool alarm clock that you like and that is easy to use. I will teach you how to set your own alarm clock and turn it off when it’s time to get up.”
The local Target and Walmart will have kid’s alarm clocks or you might have a better selection online. Either way, involve your child in the process. Remember, you are empowering him to be in charge of his own life skill.
You might say, “But what about their smart phone or IPad to set the alarm?” This sounds like a good idea, however, technology addiction 101 says to leave all your electronic devices out of your bedroom, especially for children. It’s far too tempting to get back on your phone without your parents watching eyes! Children are much more susceptible to addictions as their brains are growing. They will not be able to self-regulate as well, until the age of 25. These devices are addicting enough for us adults. Please consider delaying getting your child a smart phone or IPad. This is the #1 family conflict in American homes today!
If you have a child that is older and you feel the above conversation doesn’t resonate with you, you may have to start the conversation off by taking the responsibility for the challenge. “You know I have been really bugging you about not getting up in time for school lately and I know this makes you mad at me. I don’t feel good about how the way I am treating you in the morning. I have created this challenge by being in charge of waking you up every morning. Now I realize that wasn’t such a good idea. You are very capable of getting yourself up in the morning and I prevented you from growing in this area. Let’s come up with a plan that puts you in charge of getting yourself up in the morning.”
With this approach you are taking responsibility for the situation and this helps create a solution. You, as the parent need to be prepared to watch him struggle and perhaps even be late for school. This may need to have to happen in order for him to learn how to manage his own time, otherwise he will always depend on others to wake him up in the morning. Self-empowerment is important and a responsible child needs parents who create opportunities for children to become responsible. Live strong and Empower on!