Helping Child Get Ready in the Morning

My seven year old daughter hates mornings! My DH and I battle with her everyday just to get up and eat breakfast. She goes to bed by 8PM every night and gets up at 6:45, so she is getting a good chunk of sleep. However, when she wakes she complains about the cereal she picked out, the clothes she picked out and that her stomach hurts. I have taken her to the doctor and there is nothing wrong with her.

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She usually doesn't know where her shoes, backpack or coat is. I purchased a basket just for her stuff so she would know where to look but she won't put anything in it. I'm usually late for work and then angry when I get there. Any ideas on how to make the morning go smoother? I'm out of ideas. Thanks!

Melissa from Arizona

February 10, 20090 found this helpful

Give her her own alarm clock, and let her do some growing up. My 12 yr old did the same as yours. And my 14 yr old has been getting herself ready since kindergarten.

Why? Because the oldest has felt the consequences of not getting herself ready for school. Late for school, rushed, bad hair, wrong shoes etc. and she hated that more than getting up.

My youngest had fallen to depending upon her older sis to wake her and then also act as "snooze button". Not anymore. She now has her own alarm clock and her own consequences to deal with when she doesn't get up and go.

On another note I recently met a man who at the age of 10 was told, by a doctor, his body needed 10 hours of sleep. Maybe she needs to go in for a check up.

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February 10, 20090 found this helpful

I like the alarm clock idea. Have her pick out her clothes and get the backpack ready the night before--even if that means her missing her favorite program because she chooses to be messy. In the morning, you get ready and keep calm. I know someone who told his sons that if they weren't "dressed" and ready to go when it was time to go...they would go "as is." She may never be a morning person and all she may need is a piece of fruit or toast on the way out the door. However, "bad attitude" has to have some kind of consequence. Double check with her teacher about her behavior and make sure she is fine at school.

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February 10, 20090 found this helpful

Bless her little heart, sounds as if there is something physically wrong.....just because the doc says there is nothing he can find does not mean you should not take her in again and check things out...do a cbc if you havent already done one, do a diet challenge, she may be reacting to milk or grains....she sounds disoriented in the morning..give her lots of praise and make a chart for when she does thingss like pick out her clothes, gets up, etc and give her a treat at the end of the week for complying.

You might take her to a therapist who might can let her talk about what is bothering her..it could be something wrong at school, or any number of things...please follow through on trying to discover what it is.....she sounds sensitive, so be soft and encouraging to her..

Good Luck,

robyn

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February 10, 20090 found this helpful

My daughter raises her children like I raised her. At night before bed, have your daughter lay out the clothes that she is going to be wearing the next day, have her find her shoes and lay them on the floor beneath the clothes. Go to the kitchen and make her pick out what she is going to have for breakfast and lay out any medicines or vitamins so they won't be forgotten.

Wake her up in the morning. IF she doesn't get up, give her a 2nd call 5 minutes later. Wait another 5 minutes and if she isn't up or put a little bit of baking soda in her mouth...THAT"LL wake her up! My dad use to do it to us kids when we were growing up. Also, make bath time at night just before bed so she can feel relaxed enough to have a really good nights sleep.

Make sure she takes her vitamins of a morning so she can have energy through out the day. IF after all of these changes then I'd say take her back to the dr and ask him to check her for worms. That can ZAP a childs (or adults) strength. Some doctor's say that humans can't catch worms. They are full of it! My mother always could tell when we were wormy and she would worm us. As an adult I lost my energy so bad it was to the point I didn't know what to do and thought if things didn't get better I'd just roll over and die cause I had such a hard time even getting out of bed! I found a natural dr instead of the medical dr I had been using for 18 yrs because I got tired of him telling me that I was just getting old! I was only 40.

The cause was worms. Once I started taking the natural meds that the natural doctor gave me. I started feeling better and getting my energy back within 3 days! It was a lesson learned, and yes, I did go back to my medical dr, and I let him know what I did and what it was. Oh yeah,

By the way, make SURE to hid the video games and such because she may be waking up and sneaking in there and playing for most of the night and then going back to bed in the early morning..(I caught my son doing this when I had trouble with him not wanting to get up and go to school!) Hope this helps. Beverly in Havana, Arkansas

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February 10, 20090 found this helpful

Is she like that on weekends when she has no school, if not may be worth talking to her teachers and finding out if she is being bullied or upset at school for some reason. My eldest son went for 6 months, dragging his butt off a morning, and we almost went crazy, turned out he was being bullied by a much younger child and he was embarrassed to tell us.

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February 10, 20090 found this helpful

I know you think she's going to bed early enough, but it's possible she's simply not getting enough sleep. If she can't wake herself up in the morning without an alarm that's a good sign she's not sleeping enough (some kids need 11 or more hours of sleep).

When I wake up too early I get awful stomach aches - not sure why, but my son has the same problem.

If you can't allow her to sleep in later in the morning, can you get her to bed earlier? Or even give her a few extra minutes in the morning and give her some kind of breakfast she can eat on the way to school.

Also, since she's obviously not a morning person, take a few minutes with her each night to get things organized and ready to go in the morning. Make sure she's got the stuff in the basket you got her BEFORE she goes to bed.

You can also try checking out parenting websites. They have tons of articles about morning routines since it seems to be a struggle for many families.

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February 10, 20090 found this helpful

Some kids are just not morning people. I'd check and make sure all is well with other kids at school and to prepare at night and give her choices. Do this as part of her pm routine and make a big deal out of it when she does it right and there is no fuss. most kids act out over lack of attention and I know when working and trying to raise kids time is not something we have a lot of.

So kudos for you for keeping up on it but bottom line is we all like to hear job well done or how proud someone is of us when we do something right so why not try positive reinforcement. Rather than frustration over being late as we all do. I'm sure you and your daughter will find a routine that works for both of you. Good luck d

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February 10, 20090 found this helpful

I agree with dekelder, there may be a problem at school. The sore stomach is a sign that she doesn't want to go to school. Try to talk to her or ask her teacher.

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February 10, 20090 found this helpful

I had similar problems with my son. Never got any answers or advice that truly worked. When he became a teenager he was diagnosed with reactive hypoglycemia due to several dangerously low (in the 30's) episodes. Turns out that his symptoms upon waking (tired, grouchy, disorganized, STOMACH ACHE) were due to low blood sugar and often the sugar in most breakfast foods would further aggravate it by causing a "reactive episode". Now we keep it in check by many small meals per day with balanced carbs. He never eats a large meal or one with too many simple carbs. Wish I knew much sooner. Hope you can get to the bottom of it. I know all too well how frustrating and heartbreaking it can be.

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February 11, 20090 found this helpful

Some children are just not morning people. Try getting her in bed half an hour earlier, even if she doesn't sleep she will be resting in bed reading or doing some other quiet activity. Give her an the extra half hour in the morning to quietly wake up and eat her breakfast. Also, set up an award system. Every morning when she is ready on time give her a chip of some kind to be turned in at the end of the week for a special treat. The treat could be a special toy she has been wanting, or a trip to the ice cream store, or even an ice cream cone at McDonald's.

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February 11, 20090 found this helpful

Get the stuff ready the night before! Make a checklist of things that she needs to do starting a half hour before bedtime. That way the list is the bad guy and you only have to nag to check the list instead of multiple things. Have a before bed routine and a morning list as well. My kids lists are in their heads now but at this age they need a visual to let them know what's next. You can use stickers to motivate and an even earlier bedtime as a consequence. www.flylady.net is very helpful in developing routines!

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February 11, 20090 found this helpful

Divorced mom of four here, working two jobs didn't leave a lot of slack time in our schedules to fight the morning grumpies. I learned a LONG time ago to have the younger kids sleep in the clothing they wanted to wear to school the next day. That is one way we save time every morning. The breakfast argument is solved by them eating at school.

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February 11, 20090 found this helpful

Our daughter writes a note and leaves it for us telling us what she wants for breakfast

We also allow her to choose between 5-7 outfits (she picked out for the week and placed in the front of the closet-temperature appropriate, etc)

She likes alone time in the morning so we wake her up and then she has to complete her grooming by a set time (a bell or music played works instead of yelling up the stairs)

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February 11, 20090 found this helpful

Sounds to me like your daughter needs some TLC because you are a "work outside the home mom". Try giving her attention wrapped in love instead of frustration at her behavior. Maybe she doesn't like the routine of you going to work.

That is not always fixable with coming home, however, you can still let her know she is very important to you. You can show her in fact. Take the time with patience absent of the stress you feel in your life.

Our kids pick up on our stress and they will react. Also, if they want attention they feel or think they are not getting, they will do anything to get any kind of attention.

Does she wake up to you cooking breakfast on the stove? The smell of fresh food cooking and coffee in the coffee maker? Those are warm feelings of home that need to be created to encourage a peaceful and warm and loving atmosphere. I think that in our busy schedules some mothers leave off of the "build a warm loving atmosphere" part of homemaking because they are so busy with working and just trying to survive their own schedule.

Our kids get left behind in the dust and they don't like it. Thus, the mornings that begin such a schedule and life are not looked forward to. Cold cereal? I wouldn't look forward to cold cereal on a cold winter morning. What about scrambled eggs and toast and hot chocolate?

Let her know she's important enough to put effort into. She sees you put effort, time, stress, thought into other areas of your life and I think it would benefit you and her to pay more attention to her.

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February 11, 20090 found this helpful

We have two boys with the same issues!!! LOL! The best thing that works for us is threatening with an earlier bed time that night. Then when that has happened, I write it on the calendar so I don't forget by that evening. It has only happened a couple times! Then I just have to mention it to light a fire under them! Good luck! Lots of great tips on here!

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February 11, 20090 found this helpful

You've garnered lots of response to your problem so I'll just add my 2 cents worth.

I would do as Jillian suggested but I would also make wake-up time a bit earlier to allow more time for her to poke around. I'd tell her that since she obviously doesn't get enough rest (even though she DOES) she needs to go to bed earlier. If the problems went on another day I'd set bedtime back even earlier. Maybe by the time she has to go to bed as soon as she gets home ffrom school she'll decide to behave.

She would have to lay everything out at night and would NOT be allowed to change her mind in the morning. Back packs and everything else she takes MUST be close to the door or where you decide.

I'd fix breakfast (MY choice! and it wouldn't be COLD!!) and she'd either eat or not...HER choice. There would be NO grumbling at the table. Grumbling is to be done in HER room to herself.

When it's time to go, we GO - ready or not. A friend had to get to the place where all 4 of her children had to get dressed in the back of the van on the way to school before they would believe her.

The most important thing is to DO WHAT YOU SAY. That's also the hardest thing. She's gotten used to jerking you around and (sorry if this offends) it sounds like she's good at it. You've got to take back control. I have only become so incredibly smart because I've reared 3 strong-willed boys.

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February 11, 20090 found this helpful

It may be that even though she is going to bed and sleeping, she is not sleeping soundly. I have a magnesium deficiency and if I don't take my magnesium at night before I go to bed, I don't sleep well and wake up the next morning disoriented and grouchy. I also have food allergies, which causes me to act grumpy, sick, and disoriented if I don't follow my diet. I had to go to a chiropractor with training in nutrition to get this figured out. Another thing I do is to make sure whatever I am wearing complete with underwear and socks is laying out on my dresser where it is easy to find. I also make sure to have a good hot breakfast or I will not be able to think straight when I get to work.

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February 12, 20090 found this helpful

First I need to tell you that most children need 12 hours sleep. I made sure the night before that she had picked out her clothing and had her backpack ready for school. Now I'll tell you what worked for me. When my daughter was 8 years old, she was a dawdler in the morning. I had to constantly be on her to get finished eating, brush her teeth, etc. so she would be ready when the car pool came. My friend suggested that I buy her an alarm clock and explain to her that I would not be waking her up and it was her responsibility from now on to get up when it went off and be ready for her ride. In whatever condition she was in, when the ride came,I was to hand her shoes, lunch pail and send her out the door. She wasn't particularly concerned how she looked that first morning and it was pretty bad.

This is what did the trick. When she got home, I gave her a snack and then told her to get ready for her nap. "Nap?? she exclaimed. I said "yes, young children need to be helped to get ready & take naps and she was behaving like a young child. She took one nap and never again did I have to be responsible for her in the morning. From that day on, she was on top of it and out the door on time with everything done and it was a pleasant morning for all of us.

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February 12, 20090 found this helpful

Like most people suggest - set a morning and bedtime routine, get your child to talk about the day (if possible) and if there is anything at school that is worrying her and then see the teacher. I find that my 3 kids often don't want to talk after school but I get more info out of them at the weekends by sitting down and having afternoon or morning tea with them.

My kids get a choice of wholemeal toast or weetbix cereal for breakfast and a cup of milk. THey have 20 minutes to eat and what is not eaten is left.

We have a set menu for each day for lunch eg Monday - cheese sandwiches, Tuesday - home made pizza etc, I pack the lunches and the kids get them of the table. They each have a homework box to collect their homework for the next day.

I am lucky, in that in Australia, most schools have uniforms, so this cuts down the decision of what to wear - maybe you could set up a set dress code for each day - then she knows what she is going to wear - no arguments.

I have known parents to send their kids to school in PJ's, with their uniforms in their bags.

I find a reward system also works well. They got a sticker for doing their home work, a sticker for organising their clothes/shoes for the next day, sticker for making their beds and being ready for school on time. They could got 22 stickers, they could pick a treat but for every time that they didn't complete something - they lost a sticker. To add encouragement - my husband and I also did the stickers and the kids thought that it was really funny when we lost stickers for not being organised.

My kids are ready 15 minutes before we have to leave and they are allowed to watch the TV then - if they want to watch tv in the morning - we record the shows to be watched at night. TV and getting ready DON"T mix.

Make routines simple and achievable - my kids get up at 7am, have breakfast between 7.15-7.35am, organise their bags from 7.35am - 7.45am and get dressed by 8am. They then tidy their rooms and bed by 8.15am and are ready to leave. We leave at 8.30am. Our night routine is similar - tea at 5.30pm, 6-7pm - homework, 7- 7.15pm get clothes etc ready for school, 7.15-7.30pm - shower/get ready for bed. 7.30-8pm - story/tv and warm milk drink. 8pm - cleaan teeth. 8.10pm in bed and can read until 8.30pm, I then go in and say goodnight and turn the lights out.

Maybe also check that your child is eating enough and getting the right foods.

While it is hard not to scream and yell - this really achieves nothing - only frustration for you and an upset child. Set a routine, ask for your daughter's input and then stick to it - let her go to school in her pj's(let the teacher know what is happening) and with unbrushed hair. Help her the first few mornings and then slowly get her to do more and more herself. In 2 weeks, she should be able to manage things - but also remember to have your routine organised and not be running around like a headless chook. I know that this doesn't work from personal experience. While I know some people hate routines, they really do work for kids and adults.

Good luck and God bless

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February 15, 20090 found this helpful

Does she like school? It sounds like she trying tactics to avoid leaving. You might read up on school avoidance and school phobia if she doesn't like school and this is not an issue on weekends when she needs to get up to go somewhere.

Have you tried a sticker chart for each item that she does well (eat, dress, leave on time) to earn a reward at the end of the week?

Check out

http://www.drpaul.com/behaviour/schoolphobia.html

http://www.fenichel.com/schoolphobia.html

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February 23, 20090 found this helpful

Something to try - related to the idea of hypoglycemia but not so serious. Go in about 15 - 20 minutes before she needs to get up, gently wake her and get her to drink 2 oz (ONLY 2!) of a juice that she likes and then give her a hug and let her go back to sleep. The glucose in the juice will slightly raise her blood sugar so that she comes awake more easily. Then call her. See if that helps her not only wake up, but wake up more focused and happy. It doesn't work for every child, but when it does, it is like a miracle.

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