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Is your kid an early riser?

Friday, November 27th, 2009 by:

Does your little one wake up before the crack of dawn? Peeling your eyes open and starting your day before your own body clock wants you to is no easy feat.

I am not a morning person. It doesn’t matter how much sleep I get, waking up is a process. My five-year-old likes to wake me up every morning at 5:45 by diving on my head. “Good morning Mommy! Hi Mommy!!!!!!…” I can’t remember my own name in the morning let alone my parenting skills. This is when I have to fight my hardest to respond and not react. She needs that wake up greeting and she needs me to not be horrible.

My solution? She can quietly watch TV in the next room until she hears my alarm go off. I leave a little snack by the TV and a drink so I can get in those last few minutes of sleep before the busy day starts. This is a significant improvement. When she was very young, I had to wake up because she needed to be supervised and even though my husband and I would share mornings, this was a difficult thing for me.

Here are some survival tips for when you have an early riser:

Stay neutral: If you are going to end up getting up anyway, then do it in a pleasant, or at least neutral, way. Getting up and being miserable doesn’t fix anything and just makes your child feel bad.

Have morning snacks ready: Have some healthy, but quick and easy, snacks ready to stop their tummies from growling. They will play better and be more relaxed, perhaps giving you a few more precious moments with your pillow.

Say what you mean and mean what you say:
If your child is old enough to go back to her room and play, or to go back to sleep, and this is something you expect–then no matter what happens, you can’t break your rule and get up. If you do give in and get up, all they have learned is that they have to up the ante, reinforcing negative behavior by showing them you don’t mean what you say.

Take turns sharing the early morning duties.
This can at least give you some mornings to catch up on sleep. Even if you are a stay at home Mom, being home with your kids requires stamina and endurance and you need adequate rest for that. Just because your spouse goes off to the office for the day doesn’t mean you should always be the one skimping on sleep. A day at home with the kids often requires more energy than a day at the office.

Prepare a morning toy basket: Keep a basket of new toys, or old ones that your child hasn’t seen in a while, and only have them available in the morning. The novelty of these items might give you that extra few minutes of snooze time.

Remember this too shall pass: Having a child that rises very early in the morning is temporary. Your kids will get to a stage where they can wake up and entertain themselves.

Praise your kids: It is perfectly okay to let your children know that there are times when you have to care for yourself. Thank them for respecting you and letting you rest. It’s good for them and it’s good for you.

Jennifer Kolari is a child and parent therapist, and found of Connected Parenting. For more information you can contact jennifer at or visit

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One Response to “Is your kid an early riser?”

  1. Around the Web… – Celebrity Baby Blog – Says:

    […] your child an early riser? Here are some tips on how to deal — Just the Facts, […]