How to Get Kids Out of Bed in the Morning

Wondering how to get your kid out of bed in the morning? You are not alone with this problem! Here, PSP parents share how they successfully get their teen/tween out of bed in the morning.

pancake-1937478 640


Original Poster:

“How do you get your kids to wake up and get out of bed?  I have one who sets the alarm, pops out of bed, and is ready to roll. The other is like molasses in a snowstorm lamenting, “just 5 more minutes.” I wake that kid up 2 and 3 times, sometimes in a panic since she has slept through the last wake up. Do you teach by experience and let her oversleep and be late?

I’m a bit of an energizer bunny in the morning so I don’t know how Slow Molasses feels.

Ideas? Empathy? Help?”



The National Sleep Foundation report that teens need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night to be able to function at their best.
Here’s how PSP parents make sure their kids get enough sleep…


“While teens definitely want to sleep later in the morning (mine included). I would definitely consider whether she is getting to bed early enough and thus getting enough sleep. There is a lot of learning and growing going on…”


“Besides whether she is getting enough sleep it could be related to where she is in her sleep cycle. I don't know enough about it but for me it's like every 45 minutes I cycle through lighter and deeper so if I coordinate that it's easier to wake up. Think about days when she can sleep in - when does she wake naturally? After how many hours? That might be a good starting place.”


“What I can say is:

  • My Mom had all 4 kids (9 year spread) going to bed  between 7:30 and 8 when my oldest brother was 10 which gradually moved to 8:30 and 9 when my brother was 14.  (I remember because as the middle child, I had to go to bed at 8:15 and 8:45, right in the middle of the tv program :)

  • I have heard many times that teens need for sleep increases at the same time that they are interested in staying up later "because they are older."

  • I know hardly any parents who have their kids go to bed before 9, even sometimes very young children.  It seems like that is the first place to start.  In my case, due to the Twain commute (leave at 6:45), we will shoot for in bed by 8 and lights out by 8:30pm (and they will complain that no one their age goes to bed at that time....).  And if I have to back it up further, I will (despite the tween-mommy tension this will start).

  • We are all supposed to wake up refreshed and ideally before our alarm clocks.  If we aren't, we are either not getting enough sleep or our adrenals are shot (the latter can be tested by a lab that checks cortisol levels at 4 points in the day  - more likely for parents, less likely for kids).

  • Since babyhood, one of my sons has woken up with a smile on his face and the other not, even when he wakes up naturally on his own :)  

  • The latter son, knowing that it takes him some time to get up, asks me to wake him up at least 15 minutes before he is supposed to get up so he can do that snooze thing.  At my best (most patient), I will come rub his back, perhaps throw him some clothes so he can put them on in bed and wake up while he is doing that....empathize.....distract with something he likes (berries, an activity as school).

  • I do have 3 layers of window cover (white-out shade, white curtain, dark curtain) so I can get their room really dark on the weekend - that way, they can make up for some of the sleep deprivation by sleeping in and hopefully can go with a little less during the week when they have to get up early.”


2. You could also just try to annoy them out of bed in the morning!?


“I have same problem here. My daughter will hit the snooze button three or four times before she wakes up. Finally I have to go in and turn the lights on to get her going. Sometimes I rub the side of her face or tickle her. The latter annoys her but does get her up.
She just started high school and I am trying to get her to sleep earlier but it's not working. She saids she is good with 7 hours sleep. Up most night doing homework.
Teens you gotta love them.”


3. Stimulate their brains! Ask questions to make them more alert and awake


“I agree with checking on the amount of sleep they are getting. My older one just needs more sleep for her age than the younger one does.
Tricks that I use in the morning are to ask them a question that is important to them and complicated enough that they have to come awake a little more to answer it -- with my older one for a while it was whether she had gym or art (i.e. did she need to wear sneakers or not-nice clothes), or about something that was happening after school.
With my younger one it is usually did she decide what she is going to wear (this is something that is way more important to her than to me). Spring and Fall, weather is a good topic since they may need to pick their clothes based on that.
At any rate, the question is mainly to get them awake enough that their bladders kick in and tell them to get to the bathroom. (This, plus they know that being second can mean waiting dancing the hallway until the other one is done on the toilet)."


4. Stop working so hard. Let your kid mess up and learn from their mistake.


“"Do you teach by experience and let her oversleep and be late?"
Yes. A couple of lates in middle school (including lonely rides on the bus to school without friends, and whatever the school doled out) and my daughter shaped up. She's now in 11th grade. I stopped paying attention to her bedtime somewhere around 7th grade because she figured out it really does make sense to go to sleep at a reasonable time if she wants to wake up on time and function.
She often sleeps till noon on the weekends.
This is where I shake my cane in the air and yell, no one woke me up for school when I was her age!
Seriously, I'd much rather she fly without a safety net early (the safety net being either me waking her up or calling a car, for example, when she wakes up late) because I have no plans to go to college with her. Except to spy on her from the bushes which means she can't know I'm there.”


“I use the late days as learning experiences -- if there isn't time to find the shoes they wanted, or pack a toy in the backpack, or brush hair, they just have to deal all day with the result. [honestly, this was easier for me to enforce when we had a bus to catch, but we are working on it.] Make sure that they know that the rush to get out the door is due to their not getting up when they planned to -- and the connection as to why they had problems getting up -- but that last piece is better discussed the following night, not when trying to get out the door…”


5. Try bribery or a rewards system with your kids’ sweet spot


6. Have consequences


7. Set up a routine


Related reading on Park Slope Parents:

Tips for Getting to School on Time


Resources around the web and other Interesting reading:

“I don't have any advice but I read this interesting article recently (Synchronizing education to adolescent biology: let teens sleep, start school later) about how kids circadian timing changes in adolescence and they can't help being tired in the morning”


National Sleep Foundation article on teens and sleep