How do you get kids up in the morning?


I’m still searching for the best way to wake kids up in the morning.

A way to get them out of bed, and get them on their way to school without all of us being grumpy with each other.

There are 3 kids to wake up. We have to leave the house at 7:10, to make it in the car by 7:15, to make it to school by 7:25. Yes, it takes 5 minutes for all of us to get from the house to the car. On a good day.

Round 1 – 6:30 a.m.

My three sons all share a room. Because they love spending quality time together. Well, there’s that. And the fact that we have a small house. Which I prefer to call “cozy”.

Two of them need to get up early and get to school.

Son #2 is a warm, gentle log. I give him a shake and say “Hey, time to wake up!” He rolls over and blinks slowly at the bunk bed above him.

Son #3 is in the top bunk. He’s hard to reach, and he knows it. I start with a gentle shake and say “Time to get up!” He promptly rolls away, out of reach.

Son #1 rolls over and covers his ears with a pillow.

My daughter, who has her own room, is in a class by herself. I start by turning on the light. Then I give her a gentle shake – “Time to get up!” Next, I’ll sit on her bed and rub her back. She just snores on.

I pull her covers down. She rolls over and pulls her covers back up. I pull them off again. She scooches down into the covers at the foot of her bed. And snores.

Round 2 – 6:45 a.m.

Back in the boys room. Give Son #2 a sturdy shake. “Wake up!” He groans and snuggles into his pillow.

I sewed them all down comforters last Christmas; they are all entirely too comfortable and warm.

I can just barely reach Son #3. I start with a shake. Then I start with the Crazy Hand. It walks across his pillow and his arm. It’s trying to tickle his head. He grabs my hand and the fight is on.

Son #1: “Can’t you guys be quieter!” Rolls over.

Back to the Princess. Shake her. Roll her. Wiggle her. Pull out my smartphone and start playing One Direction. Loudly.

Now her eyes are open. But, she’s still in bed.

They’re all still in bed.

Round 3 – 7 a.m.

We have to leave in 15 minutes, and I’m the only one dressed and ready to go.

Mom starts freaking out.

Back in the boys room. “Come on! We’re going to be late! We have to leave in 15 minutes!”

The sons wait to see who will get up first. No one wants to get out of bed, if everyone else is still in bed. I’m trapped in a paradox.

Back to the girl. She’s awake. “Come on! Get up! We gotta go!” She sits up and starts thinking about what she’s going to wear today.

I’m in trouble.

My girl has a very specific and unpredictable fashion sense. She’s also fiercely independent. Even if we laid out clothes the night before – “I can’t wear that!” She rolls her eyes.

Round 4 – 7:10 a.m.

Mom’s running around in crazy circles.

Son #2 gets up. Because he’s a good kid. Where’s his pants? He needs a shirt. There’s no socks.

Quick, dump the clean laundry, yet to be folded, out on top of our bed. On top of Dad, who’s still asleep. Or was, anyway. “Hey, do you mind!?”

Daughter is in the bathroom. Son #2 is banging on the door – “I gotta go!”

Even though she has her own room, all to herself, she has to get dressed in the bathroom. And brush her hair. And teeth.

Tick tock.

Son #3 is still in bed. I holler, “That’s it! You’re in trouble now! We’re never going to make it!” He languidly rolls over. “Oh mom, I can still make it.”

It’s like a contest now. How late can he get up, and still make it into the car before I pull out of the driveway?

Son #1 is snoring away.

Progress. Son #2 is downstairs, serving himself leftover apple pie for breakfast.

Liftoff – 7:15 a.m.

“We’re late! We’re late!” I throw my hoodie and Crocs on, and grab my keys.

Son #2, such a good child, is in the car, waiting.

Son #3 is finishing his Social Studies homework on the family room sofa. Because he forgot. Even though I asked him three times yesterday – “Is your homework done?” And all three times the answer was, “Yes, Mom.”

My girl is rifling through the snack cupboard for breakfast. She grabs a Rice Krispy treat.

I can’t go out to the car, and just wait for everyone to come out, because they won’t. So, I stand there, herding everyone through the kitchen, then the laundry room, out onto the porch.

“Do you have your backpack?”

“Where’s your jacket? It’s freezing out!”

“I need a pencil!”

“Mom! I need this permission slip signed. By today!”

“Do you need your violin today?”

“Where’s your lunch bag?”

“Mom! I need gym clothes!”

Son #3, with major bedhead and sleepy eyes, gives me a grin as he slips his sneakers on, “See Mom? I made it!”

Everyone is out of the house, with shoes and jackets on.

Everyone is wearing clothes that are their own.

Last year, son #3 ran out of the house accidentally wearing his sister’s bell bottom velour yoga pants. That were 6 inches too short. I didn’t notice until I dropped him at the school, as I watched him walking in the door. I had to make an emergency pants delivery stop 30 minutes later.

Quick head count. Everyone is in the van. Everyone is buckled up.

Pull out of the garage, and we’re on our way. I pull the hairbrush out of the glove compartment, and tell the boys to brush their hair. Son #3 complies, but Son #2 refuses, and will only run his fingers through his hair.

Kids in the back are fighting. Their backpacks are touching.

Shhhhh. I have to drive. I need a 3 second gap to make the turn into traffic. Then we have to make the light.

On our way now.

Time to run through today’s schedule. Who’s getting picked up when and where?

Son #3 is working. Son #2 is getting out regular time. My girl is staying late for play practice.

Got it.

Going with the traffic, rushing, hurrying.

Pull up at the drop off: “3, 2, 1, action!” “Have a great day!” And she’s off.

Back into traffic.  Following the line of cars at the school. “Have a great day!” Drop the boys off.

There. I’m done. I did it. And we just barely made it in time, before homeroom starts.

Quick, say a prayer for the kids, that they will be safe and healthy, and smart and brave and kind; that they will have a good day.

Slide into traffic for the trip back home.

God, I love them.

We’ll do better tomorrow.

I’ll do better tomorrow.

 So, tell me.

Parents – how do you get your kids out of bed?

Kids – how do you like to be woken up? What makes you get out of bed?

Tell me all your tips and tricks, your secrets yearning to be free. I must know.

Photo: by ianus.



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