Earlier this week, I offered suggestions for waking up kids who are not, er, morning people. As expected, I heard from a lot of you who, like me, have the opposite problem: Kids who are not only awake but fully energized for the day ahead. At ungodly hours of the morning.
Just because they are morning people doesn’t mean we want to get up at 5:30 a.m. every day for the foreseeable future. So, how do you sleep in when you have young kids?
Okay, my real advice here is to marry a morning person. That’s what I did and I highly recommend it. Not only does my husband wake up around the same time as my son, he actually gets restless if he even tries to sleep in. I routinely offer to be the one to get up and pop the frozen waffles in the toaster, but his answer is always the same: “Nah, I’m up anyway; go ahead and sleep in.” I’m not trying to brag here, but seriously, it’s glorious.
If that wasn’t one of your qualifications in a partner, then do the next best thing and take turns, at least on the weekends (or whenever your schedule allows for it). In fact, you should decide who gets to sleep in on the weekends early in the week so you have something to look forward to when your sweet child is bursting through your bedroom door day after day long before it’s even really “morning.”
The thing about kids is that by the time they’re able to tell time, they’re probably old enough to be hanging out in the morning without you. That’s why a light-up alarm clock is the most-recommended tool from parents with young early-risers. You can set it to light up when it’s okay for them to come out of their rooms. No light? No coming out.
We had one (this one, actually) and we used it with my son for about two years. All I’ll be honest: At times, the damn thing was almost more annoying than it was worth because he’d come out of his room every 5-10 minutes to ask, “How many more minutes until the green light comes on?” I say “almost more annoying than it was worth,” because it was still better than nothing. It was a concept he could understand, even if it made him—and therefore us—crazy to not know exactly when he was going to be set free.
Yes, one kid will inevitably wake up the other kid when you don’t want them to. But they can also entertain each other. One parent I asked said her her oldest daughter, who is 4 years old, climbs into her 2-year-old daughter’s crib in the morning and they cuddle and hang out together. It gets her an extra 20 minutes of peace before the whining begins, and 20 minutes can make all the difference.
Once they’re old enough to come out of their rooms by themselves for a bit without you, store the cereal where they can reach it, along with a small pitcher of milk on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. They’ll feel like big kids fending for themselves, and you’ll get a little extra rest.
As usual, the parents in our Offspring Parenting Facebook Group have a few, uh, unconventional ideas if nothing else has worked for you: