WFMW: delaying the morning wake-up call





My daughter used to wake at the CRACK OF DAWN! She was just an early riser and I could not get her to sleep past 6 AM. I learned over time to put her to bed earlier (supposedly if they are waking at 6, they should go to bed at 6. Yikes, I know!) Anyway, when I had my son, I was seriously dying from the early rising. When he was a newborn baby, I would finish that final 4:30 AM feeding and diaper change and just be getting back to bed when I would hear my daughter begin to stir and call for me. We needed a solution, because this mama was not going to survive with that happening for very long (my husband goes to work at 5:30 AM so he could not help out in the morning...when the kids are up in the morning, it is all ME!). I cannot remember where I found our solution (on the internet in a drastic googling frenzy to find help for a tired mommy, or if it was in a kids' magazine), but it was like GOLD to us.

Basically, what we did was install a timer (like for Christmas tree lights) from the hardware store to the lamp in her room. We set the time for a reasonable "get out of bed" time. I think we started with 6:30 AM and then slowly made it about 10 minutes later every couple of days until we stretched it to 7 AM. We introduced this new thing called "The Wake Up Game" to Logan and the game was played like this - when she wakes up in the morning, if her lamp is not on, then she can rest in bed or read some books in her bed QUIETLY until her lamp turns on. When it turns on, the game starts and she can come find mommy (hmmmm...I wonder where Mommy always was....zzzzzzzzzzzz). We made a chart to celebrate each day that we won the wake up game and decided to take her and her best friend to Chuck E Cheese for pizza and games when her chart was filled up! And, guess what - this mommy got to sleep until 7 AM from then on! :) Oh Joy! Oh Bliss! I know for many of us 7 AM is still super early in the morning, but it is a world away from 5:30 or 6 AM! We went the positive reinforcement route for getting this habit to solidify, but when we hit a hiccup and Logan informed us that she no longer wanted to play the wake up game, she was then informed that if someone doesn't play the wake up game, then that same someone loses their chance to watch their precious 30 minutes of TV in the morning. Needless to say, we are still playing the game!

The coolest aspect to it, is I really think that having that trigger actually started to adjust Logan's body clock, because over time she began to sleep until 7.

For more on healthy sleep habits for kids, go here.


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