Six-twenty comes awfully early in the morning. Especially if you are young and have grown accustomed to a life of leisure in which your days are made up of lounging, playing, swimming, playing and more lounging.
As I look this morning at the tousled (AKA: ratty) hair of my two sleeping children, I am quickly reminded how much I dislike this portion of my day...the part where I interrupt their pleasant childhood dreams and say "Wake up. Time to get ready for school."
I've told myself for days now that I ought to be sneaking back my kids bedtime to prepare them for school. According to The National Institute of Health, the National Sleep Foundation recommends that "children should gradually start adjusting their sleep schedules about two weeks prior to the start of the new school year." But as is always the case, I just can't get myself to do it. "Why squash their summer now?" I always say to myself. "It's bad enough that they have to go back before Labor Day."
The transition between summer and school days is rough enough already, what with retraining the mind to focus on math and reading rather than arts, crafts and sports. But retraining a child's body clock is probably just as important. It's a no-brainer that the better you sleep at night, the better you perform during the day.
First it starts gently, with a small hug, pat or rub and my soft, whispering voice saying "wake up." In a span of 15 minutes, this idyllic scene turns into sharp shoves and loud nagging with increasing threats like "GET UP! You'll be late for school and you KNOW how much you hate that...."
Nothing like starting off the day with some negative vibes.
If I could only outsource this job.
It turns out that in the early 20th century before alarm clocks, the job of waker-upper was indeed, outsourced. I learned this by listening to a spirited reading on NPR's Weekend Edition of a children's book called Mary Smith.
Written and illustrated by Andrea U'Ren, Mary Smith tells the story of the real-life Mary Smith, who went about waking people in her village up by shooting dried peas at their windows. People who did this job back in those days were called "knocker-ups" (no kidding).
Although my son would dearly love to have access to a peashooter, I'm not so sure he'd enjoy being awakened by one. However, it seems a much better solution than having me nag he and his sister to death to "get up, get breakfast, get dressed and get in the car."
I found another solution at Parents.com: Clocky, the rolling alarm clock. This $50 device is supposed to out-wit even the sleepiest of kids by rolling off the table when the snooze button is pushed, "hiding" in the room, and continuing to buzzzzzzzz - thus annoying your child to the point that he or she finally gets up. However, I've learned that if something is annoying to my kids...it's probably even more annoying to me.
Do you suppose I could find a "knocker-up" on Craig's List?
Have you prepared your kids for their rude awakening to the school year? How do you wake your kids up in the morning for school? Is it a pleasant moment, or a dreaded one? Click below on "Comments" and share your stories and parenting secrets.