“You are really growing up! From now on, I am going to let you be responsible for certain things.”

Jenna’s school bus comes at 6:50 A.M., which is just way too early for our family. I was always a bit thankful that my children didn’t rise with the sun, but the flip side is that getting Jenna motivated in the morning is a bit difficult. I am badgering her from the minute I wake her to the moment she is out the door: take a bath, to get dressed, eat, put on her shoes. Anything that she requests is met with a swift NO. I barely even have time to talk to her, as I am so busy just trying to get her ready and out the door.

However, children as young as 4 or 5 can learn to get up on their own and manage their morning routine, with a little pregame planning with your help. For example, setting an alarm clock with her, putting cups, bowls, and cereal in a low cabinet where she can reach them in the morning. Jenna is almost 10 now and I am still waking her. Right now the morning is my problem. I need to make it Jenna’s problem by turning over the responsibility .We don’t give out kids enough legitimate control over their own lives. Parents spend so much time ordering, correcting, and fixing that children do not feel in control. They need to feel empowered by making their own choices.

I suggested that we get Jenna a digital watch with a multiple alarm setting. An alarm clock or iPod can also do the job. Then we will let Jenna decide what time she wants to get up in the morning. She is to set 3 alarms: one to wake, one to be dressed and downstairs, and the final one to be out the door. When I presented our new routine to Jenna in a positive light, as a privilege she has earned. “You are old enough to get yourself up, dressed, and downstairs,” I told Jenna. “You have proven to me how responsible you can be, so we are going to get you your own special watch. Now, you are in charge of your morning.” Jenna lights up with pride and excitement. Over the weekend, together we buy the watch and write out her new schedule.

On Monday morning, to my astonishment, Jenna wakes up on her own, gets dressed herself, eats her breakfast, gets her things together, and is out the door, all on time. Because she is responsible for making it all happen, it does and we even have time to chat. The morning like the others that follow is peaceful, pleasant, and organized. It is amazing that such an easy fix created such a dramatic positive change. Now, instead of nudging Jenna through the morning routine, the alarm reminds her when to get ready, and she takes pride in feeling so capable. You can also use the alarm system for issues around bedtime, homework, making difficult transitions and more. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.



  1. Houston says:

    May I simply say what a relief to uncover someone that truly understands what they’re discussing online.
    You actually realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important.
    More and more people need to read this and understand this side
    of your story. I was surprised you aren’t more popular because you most certainly have the gift.

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