If you’ve got kids who are wide awake at 5am every morning and you’ve tried everything to make them stay asleep longer, you’re not alone. For a little while we try to encourage or bribe them to sleep in, we buy blackout curtains, heck we even forego a bit of our kid-free time at night and put them to better later just in case it makes them wake a little later.
Of course nothing works, and just to show us who is boss they usually wake up earlier if they’re put to bed later and they’re full of beans! It’s a lose-lose situation.
You’ll also come across those very smug parents who have kids that sleep in until 7am or are trained to stay in their until a certain time. These fortunate souls will impart their wisdom upon you while secretly wondering what you’re doing wrong as a parent.
By the time the 12th person has offered you advice you smile and nod. Then you tell them that you’ve got to a happy place where you have stopped fighting an un-winnable battle and aren’t too worried about it anymore, which may or may not be true.
Then you can shock them by telling them you have found ways to survive ridiculously early wake-ups, and here’s how:
1. Hide and seek
You’re unlikely to be sleeping through an entire night anyway; such is the life of a mum, so when you wake at 2am to check your child hasn’t kicked off their blanket, quietly sneak into the spare room, the walk-in wardrobe or hide under the stairs. This will not only give you more sleep but ensure your children won’t find you for a LONG time.
2. Play dead
When your delightful early riser jumps on your bed to wake you, lie as still as you can, increase the noise level of your snoring or breathing to show them that you’re still asleep. If they’re really young you can say “I’m still asleep” and they’ll hopefully believe you and naff off for awhile.
3. Leave food out
This coping mechanism requires you leaving food in a place where you child can see it so you don’t have to get out of bed to feed ‘starving’ offspring. A firm favourite is strategically placing apples on the kitchen bench where they can reach them. However, if you have small ones be warned – you’ll probably break a toe as you leap out of bed because you think you hear one of your children choking on apple skin.
4. The art of negotiation
When you have young kids you’ll say almost anything to keep your eyes closed for five more minutes in bed, but be very careful of what you promise kids to get it. Don’t offer chocolate for lunch because they’ll remember and hold you to ransom. Instead bribe them with a trip to the park, painting or craft.
5. Send for help
If you’re fortunate enough to have family nearby then invite them down to stay for a few days. They can be the bait, make them sleep in the lounge and the kids will come flocking to them instead of you! And you know what, most of the time your loved ones don’t mind doing the morning shift for you once in a while because they know they get to leave and you don’t.
If all else fails – look to the future
Everyone assures parents with kids who wake up early that as they grow they will soon be ridiculously hard to get out of bed. If all else fails, cling desperately to this notion and maybe, just maybe, your children will one day stay in bed until 6am!