Difficulty Waking Up | Teaching Self-Government

Difficulty Waking Up

Question:

“I just purchased your book online.  I am excited to read it.  I am a mother 
of 3 boys, 16, 13, and 11.  Years ago we got each boy his own alarm clock & 
talked about being responsible for getting himself up in the morning.  Since 
Wii time in our home isn't free for the taking, we told them that this would 
be how they could earn Wii time, by setting their own alarm, getting up on 
their own, and making it to Family Scripture Study at 6 am without sleeping 
or being unkind to the family.  It works off and on.  The major problem is 
that our oldest struggles badly with getting up.  Even though he is risking 
being kicked out of jazz band (his favorite thing in the whole world) due to 
missing his ride in the mornings, and also fails to meet other 
responsibilities at church, etc., and all of these things upset him (he 
really does have a healthy conscience) he continues to mess up.  Otherwise he 
is a great kid...respectful, obedient, everything a mother could want.  He 
just won't get up in the morning!  Oh, he is also an honor student, and if it 
weren't for jazz band & family scriptures, he would be late for school on a 
regular basis.  This trend is beginning to spread to our other boys.  If they 
miss the bus, we have always had them pay for a ride to school ($5-$10 per 
ride).  Still, our oldest struggles.  What should we do? “

Answer:

The book you bought, Parenting A House United, will help you so much. It will teach you some new skills your children need to learn in order to master their desire to sleep in. The Four Basic Skills and the Five Teaching Styles, as well as a solid “family government” and Tone will gradually teach your children Self-Government.

This is what I would do about the difficulty waking up.

  1. Establish with your husband what your set consequences will be for not following instructions. Establish your family economy. Just make sure your negative consequences are not power struggles.

  2. Teach your children the Four Basic Skills, and The Rule of Three and explain your economy. Right now it sounds like you are rewarding with Wii time and letting them suffer the natural negative consequences as well as have to pay their own money for a ride to school. So far, this is your economy for this issue. You could also use your new regularly established family economy for correcting this behavior.

  3. Talking to your child: Have a “parent counseling session.” Make a plan that will really work with your son. Help him take some ownership by getting him into the planning process.

  4. Children Sleep Hours: Getting kids to sleep on time is essential for wake up time to go smoothly. Over the years our family has had struggles with waking up to. At first, in our family meetings we talked about the wake up time. Now, when we notice a problem with wake up time, we immediately start talking about how to change the night routine. Some people just need more sleep. Also, growing children, in puberty years, often times require more sleep than they did a few years prior. So, if wake up isn't happening, you have to adjust night time. If he is staying up late doing homework, he will probably need to stop something occurring before homework time in order to keep grades up and to wake up. Children wake up better if the evening is more scheduled.

  5. Waking up is a standing instruction. In our family, scripture time is at 6:00 am. If a person doesn't wake up in time to be to prayer, which is the first thing, then they automatically earn an extra chore, because not following instructions earns an extra chore. Also, when I go to wake them up, I turn on their light and say, “Time to get up. That's an instruction. Scriptures is starting.” Then, if they don't make it, they are not following instructions.

  6. Wake them up instead of use an alarm. I know a person has to learn how to use an alarm for future success. But, one reason an alarm is successful later is because the body is trained to wake up already. The body just gets used to waking at a certain time. My children have alarm clocks too, but I stopped requiring them to be completely responsible because I recognized that their bodies were not trained to wake up at a time yet, like mine was. From the time they are young, we train them to sleep as long as possible so they are happy. Then we start to put them in charge of wake up at the very time we allow them to load their lives with things which will keep them up late at night. They are going to need some help. Help scheduling night and help training the body in the morning. So, I wake them up.

  7. Let them accept their own negative consequences. As much as we want perfect children, it isn't possible, and they all have their own learning curve and behavior changes can take time. So, he may have to suffer through a few natural negative consequences. He may also have to do extra chores each day after school instead of hanging out with friends for a while before he decides to take control. He will need to accept his negative consequences. It sounds like he doesn't want to fail, so help him succeed by helping him set up a personal sleep plan.

Once your family has more consistency and structure with the new things you will learn in the book, you will all find strengths you didn't know you had. That is what Teaching Self-Government is all about; recognizing your own strength to determine your success and deliberately acting and communicating in order to be successful.

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