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A week after the first day of school my oldest daughter begins her I’d-rather-sleep-than-get-out-of-bed-ritual. There’s no real pattern for this behavior, like rainy days or cold mornings, some days she just doesn’t want to get up. I’ve tried time-out warnings, but after a few of them I had to actually follow through on the threats. The time-outs were eating into our precious limited early morning time. With neo-traditional means not working I attempted something new. I woke the children up, turned on the lights in each of their rooms and open the shades and blinds. I made breakfast and by the time I was finished they were both at the table. While gently rubbing their eyes and wondrously welcoming in the early morning light my oldest said to me, “Why didn’t you wake me up earlier?” I smiled and replied, “I’ll remember tomorrow.”
I felt instantly gratified that I made the right decision. I allowed them to get out of bed on their own. I didn’t rush them or rip the covers off them; I just said time to get up and went about the rest of the morning. My lesson was simple: all I had to do was let her know when it was time to get up and the rest she did on her own. I can’t say this situation will play out the same for every parent, but the principle should work. Sometimes all you have to do is let someone know what time it is and they’ll do the rest.