Well, the kiddos woke Daddy (who has to be up early for work and already sleeps with two fans) one too many times and it's become clear to me that due to the number of them and their ages (boys who are about to turn 11 and 9, and twin 5 1/2 year old girls) it would probably flow better for all of us if we adjusted our rhythm closer to his. So here's where I'm hoping for advice...we are all night owls and I have tried in the past to start rising earlier, but my kids (two of them in particular) don't wake easily. It is so hard for me to rouse peacefully sleeping children, especially when it doesn't seem to happen with soft words and gentle taps. It just seems so disrespectful. I am looking for ideas on gentle ways to wake them or for some alternative I am missing. As much as there have been a lot of positives to our late nights, and hopefully it will be possible again when they are older, for now it seems in order for me to best support them at their developmental stage and still be respectful to my hubby, I need to find some way to adjust our sleep times. Thanks!

Joyce Fetteroll

Have you asked your kids for ideas?

Rather than looking for solutions to impose, look at the problem: Dad's being woken up. What are the options if allowing Dad to sleep is the top priority?

What ideas do *they* have?


Sandra Dodd

-=- for now it seems in order for me to best support them at their developmental stage and still be respectful to my hubby, I need to find some way to adjust our sleep times. Thanks!-=-

When my kids wanted to stay up, the deal was, from the very first time, ONLY if you're very quiet. If you can't be quiet, you need to go to sleep.

I'm very sorry that unschooling came to be associated with the idea that it wasn't okay to tell kids to let other people sleep, period. I'm sorry that people have encouraged others to think that a child had "a right" to stay up as long as he wanted to. It makes no logical sense.

If your house is very small, you might not get to let kids stay up later until they're quite a bit older. Having four awake at once isn't a good idea, as you're seeing. :-)

If you're up with them, then be responsible for keeping the activities silent or in whispers. If they're unable to understand why, and to be able to do that, then there's no advantage or benefit to being awake, and there are disadvantages to them, to your husband, to your relationship and to the family. That's big. That's bad.

To wake them up, you could put music or a movie on, cook bacon or something that smells good, open curtains... When a child was very much asleep and had asked me to wake him or her up, I would sit on the bed, hold his hand and talk to him. "It's 8:00. You wanted to wake up."

If you need to create a reason to get up, take them out to breakfast, or to a morning showing of a movie, or to a breakfast picnic, or to the zoo early enough to see morning feedings or something. At least until you can get the schedule readjusted, having a place to go in the morning might help.

Don't forget your husband's needs. Divorce is WAY worse for kids than a bedtime for a good reason.

Avoiding arbitrary rules doesn't preclude having sensible practices based on what's really needed at your house. Going to bed at 7:00 because a kid is six years old is arbitrary. Going to bed at 9:00 because dad needs to get up at 5:00 an if he doesn't sleep well he might not be safe to drive or to do ihis job isn't the least bit arbitrary.

If a child really doesn't like going to sleep when others do, he might then, down the line, be willing to be really quiet for the privilege of staying up a while more.



>>>>>it would probably flow better for all of us if we adjusted our rhythm closer to his.<<<<<

We have found this to be true, although my husband is a night owl too. So, if his work schedule allows it, he stays up with us. One thing that he has done since living with others in grad school is wear soft ear plugs. He likes them even if it's pretty quiet in the house. He says he gets a deeper sleep. I certainly wouldn't suggest your husband *should* wear ear plugs, but he may like to try them if he hasn't thought of that option. He might not like them though. I don't. I prefer a background noise like a fan.

>>>>>I am looking for ideas on gentle ways to wake them<<<<<

I've asked my son how he likes to be awakened. Certain sounds make him anxious if he is just waking up. He likes soft sounds like a quiet voice. He also likes music, so if I need to wake him, I sit and talk with him a while, then put on some favourite song. He's a very slow riser. I wake up, and jump up. Doug is in between.

Doug and I have a zen clock which has a chime that dings softly every few minutes, slowly getting more frequent. Ethan likes that too. Doug prefers his iphone. I like to wake to the sounds of people. Best to ask your kids what they prefer, as Joyce suggests. We're all so different.

Rebecca Sanjabi

When my kids need to get up early for something, I've had good luck
bringing them a movie on a laptop or turn on a game to play on the
iPad. They hear a sound softly playing and get curious enough to wake
up but can stay in bed to slowly wake up.

Rebecca Sanjabi


my nearly 5 year old son doesnt like to be waken (and i dont like to
wake him). when i suggest to go earlier to bed this is mostly happily
accepted. this is probably espescially easy because he is still
breastfeeding - a very effective way for him to calm down and always
something he looks forward to.

going earlier to bed doesnt always mean that he is waking up earlier,
but a minimal shift of half an hour or even more we manage in a few days
(sometimes the bedtimes of the nearly five year old are very different
from the bedtimes of the one year old and i do need some sleep to not
only function but to have some extra energy to live my life happily and

tania from italy with two sons, nearly 5 and nearly 1