Cindy White

We've recently dealt with just such an issue. My son, who is 12, is the only one who sleeps downstairs in our big house. My 9 yr old still sleeps with us and our bedroom is upstairs. My husband can sleep though anything, so keeping him awake is not an issue. And because I get up early, soon after my husband, I used to just go to bed when I was sleepy and asked that my son be sure lights are all off when he goes.

About a year ago this became a problem for us as a family. That's because my son began staying up later and later until his body didn't get tired until around 4am, and then he would sleep until afternoon. We don't feel comfortable leaving him here alone for very long periods because he's a diabetic (whole 'nother story). So because we had things to do I had to start waking him up to go with us. I left things this way for a few months but found that it was not working for our family at all. He was mean and grouchy without sleep, very hard to get along with, no patience, etc. Even on days when we didn't have places to go and I let him sleep as late as he wished, he was still very disruptive and negative and hard to live with. So I explained to him that because he's part of the family and that his solo actions were making life much more difficult for the whole family, we had to come up with another plan.

Now the TV is off by 10:30-11:00, as are the computers. He can still play Xbox or watch a movie in his room, but he's agreed to stay in his room after we go to bed. He normally reads and is usually asleep by 2ish. I then get him up by 9:00-9:30 each morning so that we can get to classes or activities we have scheduled. I've found that the key to keeping him in a sleep rhythm that works with ours rather than against the rest of the family is to help him wake up at about the same time each morning. And because he's downstairs alone I really can't "know" when he's going to sleep or what he's doing so the only way I can keep him in a productive-for-the- whole family cycle is to wake him up. I offered to let him get up with an alarm but he prefers I wake him.

So far, this is working much better for us all. He's back to being his pleasant, fun-to-be-around self (most of the time LOL!). He doesn't want to get up some mornings, and if we don't have somewhere to be I will give him 30 more minutes or so and try again.

"Never laugh at live dragons." -Bilbo Baggins

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