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Posted on Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 11 a.m.

Stop the morning madness - 3 tips for getting your kids ready for school on time

By Angela Verges

Verges-bedroom -fort.jpg

Before you can wake your child, you may have to search for him inside of his bedroom fort.

Angela Verges | Contributor

In the quiet of the morning, the alarm goes off and so begins the battle of waking the kids. You go to your child’s bedroom and softly call his name, but you have to go back again and again to make sure he’s actually up. As the minutes tick away and he’s still not out of bed, you finally snatch the blankets off the bed in desperation.

Do you find yourself bending over backwards to get your child going in the morning? You are not alone. An article at says, “Parents should stop taking responsibility for getting their kids out of bed on time.” The article says that when a parent repeatedly attempts to wake her child, “You are working harder to wake up your child than they are.”

How do you end the morning power struggle? According to the article, the first step is to start by setting new ground rules. You have to give your child the responsibility for getting up. Sit down with your child during a calm time and discuss the morning routine.

Let him know that you will only give one wake up call. If his behavior doesn’t change, he will have to face the consequences. One consequence for oversleeping and being late for school may be having to make up any missed schoolwork.

Making sleep a priority is another tip identified to help ease the morning power struggle. It may be necessary to set an earlier bedtime for your child. You could tell your child, “You seem to be having a hard time getting up in the morning, which tells me you’re not getting enough sleep.” The article says to try the earlier bedtime for five consecutive days. If your child is successful, then the bedtime can be extended a little.

The final tip in the fight against the morning power struggle is to help your child problem solve his way to a better morning routine. Have your children come up with a list of things they can do to help themselves get out of bed on time.

If he wakes up with an alarm clock, move the clock across the room so he has to get out of bed to turn it off. Have your child pick out his clothes, and pack his backpack at night to avoid a morning rush.

Getting the kids ready for school in the morning doesn’t have to result in a daily power struggle. As parents, we have to develop a plan of action to help our children take responsibility for their morning routine. It can be a challenging task, but we have to have tenacity and know that calmer mornings are within reach.

What are your tips for avoiding a morning power struggle with the kids? Share them in the comments below.

Angela Verges is a writer and mother of two. She can be reached at


Sarah Rigg

Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 1:24 p.m.

It's not all about tough love and wilfull children. There's a lot of evidence that the natural cycles and rhythms of children and teenagers is different than that of adults, and teenagers just really are NOT awake until 9 or 10 a.m. So, anything you can do to help your children feel more awake in the morning (like setting bedtime earlier as is mentioned) will help.


Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 9:48 p.m.

Worth a try, I suppose, but the same evidence of the dissimilar cycles for teens and adults also shows that they are not ready to go to sleep until later than many adults. Trying to get them in bed sooner usually is a lost cause. When I was a teen I had to get out of bed at 5:30 a.m. every morning before high school to deliver the Detroit Free Press on my bicycle (120 customers). It never was easy but, with enough willpower/discipline, it can be done. The bonus was that I was wide awake by the time I arrived at school, and I am confident it was a big help academically, particularly for the early classes.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 11:32 p.m.

Some rug rats just can't sleep until later hours. I wish it was as simple as "going to bed earlier".


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 10:18 p.m.

Mutually agree on the time they need to be out of bed and then, for every minute they exceed that time, have them do one pushup or situp (their choice).

Elaine F. Owsley

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 2:36 p.m.

i found early on that my teen agers -three of them - would only fight with each other and waste time if I was in the arena. I gave the alarm clocks, we agreed they knew what time they had to get up, when the bus came (it actually stopped in our driveway to pick up neighborhood kids) and that they were responsible for getting to school. I made sure there were easy to fix breakfast items and they knew where they were. Then, I lay in bed half snoozing each morning as they quietly got ready and left for school without even talking to each other, let alone squabbling. These simply tasks are going to be part of their lives from here on. They want responsibility at this age and this is a great place to start. When the coast was clear, I got up and got ready for work.