6 Ways to Get Your Child Out of Bed in the Morning

Getting your child out of bed on time can be a frustrating task if you’re giving repeated wake-up calls without any results. If you continually nag your child - and practically resort to dragging him out of bed - you’ll become the one who is responsible for his behavior, not him. It’s important for kids to learn how to take responsibility for getting themselves out of bed after they’re awake. The following strategies can increase the likelihood that your child will get himself up: 

Problem-Solve Together

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If getting out of bed becomes a regular problem, use it as an opportunity to problem-solve the potential issues with your child. Discuss the possible reasons why he’s having so much trouble getting out of bed. If Mondays seem to be the biggest issue, for example, discuss how to make the transition back to school easier.

Sometimes the inability to get out of bed is a symptom of a bigger problem. A child who dislikes school, for example, isn’t likely to leap out of bed. If your child wakes up easily on non-school days, you may be dealing with a school-related problem and not necessarily and sleeping issue. Discuss the issue with your child and check for possible underlying problems.

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Establish an Earlier Bedtime

Consider whether your child is getting enough sleep. Perhaps an earlier bedtime is in order if he can’t wake up on time. His refusal to get out of bed may be signaling that he’s just plain exhausted. Keep moving the bedtime back by 15 minutes until your child is able to get up in the morning in a timely fashion. Allow him to earn back a later bedtime by getting out of bed on time.

Create a Regular Routine

Establish a healthy routine and try to stick to it every day. A child will get used to winding down after dinner he always gets into his pajamas, brushes his teeth, and then reads before bed. Create a regular morning routine as well so your child understands why it’s important to get out of bed on time.

Encourage Healthy Habits

Take a look at your child’s evening routine to make sure he’s getting healthy food, plenty of exercise, and time to relax before hitting the pillow. Limit screen time use before bed because staring at screens can keep kids awake by interfering with the brain’s natural rhythms before going to sleep.

Use Logical Consequences

If your child’s refusal to get out of bed is interfering with his daily routine – like he’s late for school – logical consequences may be in order. For each minute he doesn’t get out of bed, make his bedtime that much earlier that night. Or if he misses the school bus, make him do chores to earn the gas money it costs to drive him.

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Create a Reward System

Sometimes a reward system can help motivate a child to get up and get going in the morning. A simple reward might include saying, “If you get up the first time I wake you, you can have pancakes for breakfast.” Or tell him that as soon as he’s dressed and ready for school, he can watch a few minutes of TV. The faster he gets ready, the more time he’ll have to do something fun.

Sticker charts, token economy systems, and more formal rewards can also help motivate kids who need some extra incentive to get out of bed on time. An older child who can wait longer for a reward may benefit from a bigger reward on the weekend for getting out of bed on time each day during the week.

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Seek Professional Help

If your child is going to bed at a reasonable hour and he still just can’t seem to get up despite your discipline strategies, talk to his doctor. Although sleep disorders aren’t common in children, they are possible. A doctor can ensure your child is getting enough sleep and order any additional testing if necessary to rule out a sleep disorder.

If your child gets cleared medically and you still have ongoing issues, consider counseling. A mental health professional can assess your child for other issues that may be contributing to the problem. A child who is experiencing depression, for example, may struggle to get out of bed. Or a child who is bullied or struggling with an undiagnosed learning disability may be trying to avoid going to school. A counselor can assess for problems and also provide guidance on parenting strategies.

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