You’re trying to get ready for your day, and you’ve got to get your kid up and ready for school. Every morning you’re met with resistance. What gives? I can feel your pain as you’re screaming right now: “I can’t get my kid out of bed!!!”
If it’s true that your morning routine determines whether you’re going to have a good day or a bad one, dealing with such frustration can’t be good for you or your child.
There’s lots of strategies out there on the Internet about how to get your kid out of bed, but very few articles address the “why” of the problem. And since different problems require different solutions, you’re spinning your wheels if you haven’t figured out the reason yet.
The good news is that sleep problems are fixable, and you are not forever sentenced to a lifetime of frustrating mornings. Here are the top 3 reasons for why your kid may be struggling to get out of bed.
1. Your child has a medical reason for his sleep problems.
Medical causes need to be first ruled out when there are sleep problems. Excessive snoring, sleep apnea, abnormal REM sleep etc. (and more!) may all contribute to your child’s sluggish morning demeanor. While there may be lifestyle changes you can help your child make, a biological problem should be assessed by a medical provider to rule out anything that only a doctor can treat. An organic sleep problem, if left untreated, will not only affect your child’s morning wakening, but may also affect your child’s daily functioning, growth, mood and behaviors.
2. Your child didn’t go to bed on time.
Seems simple and obvious enough but there could be several reasons why your child didn’t go to bed when he should have. Take a moment to see which one (or more) of the following reasons could be contributing to his sleep problems.
Homework can put a lot of pressure on your kid. Is your kid up all night doing hours of homework? Perhaps your kid is procrastinating with homework and doing it right before bed?
Activity level can affect your child’s bedtime too. Is he in band, karate, the chess club, and swim lessons and doesn’t get home until 10pm? If so, your child may be struggling to unwind with such a busy schedule. Longer time to unwind = less time to sleep = difficulty waking in the morning.
Technology is an ever growing reason for sleep troubles in children. Technology emits blue light which keeps the brain activated. Even though you think he may be relaxing. allowing your child to watch TV, read a book on the Kindle, or watch YouTube videos on his phone is actually keeping his brain alert, and working against that healthy bed time you’re trying to set.
Social media can affect sleep too! Make sure that your child’s social life has a nightly cutoff point. Remember when you were growing up and your mom told you when it gets dark, then it’s time to come inside and get ready for bed? It’s a different generation now, but the theory still remains the same. There needs to be a cut-off point for your child’s social engagement (whether outside or on the phone) so he can unplug, unwind, and get to sleep.
Anxiety may also be affecting your child’s ability to fall asleep at night which contributes to morning waking difficulties. Talk to your child to see if he’s been feeling anxious lately. In a related category, nightmares can affect your child’s sleep too. Disrupted sleep can cause your child to oversleep, because when he finally knocks out he didn’t get good quality of sleep.
3. Your child doesn’t want to face the day.
Depression is another reason for not wanting to get out of bed. Have you noticed a mood component to your child’s difficulty with getting out of bed? I ask you to assess for this, since oversleeping is a common sign of depression. If your child is not looking forward to his day, of course he’s not going to want to wake up and deal with it!
School-specific blues can also be the problem too. Does your child get out of bed easily on the weekends? If the answer is yes, find out the reason why. Is it simply because he gets to sleep in, or is it because he doesn’t have to go to school? And if it’s because of school, what is the reason for not wanting to go to school? School problems needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Problems with peers, teachers, or grades at school can affect your child life-long.
Bottom line: Now that you know the reason for those difficult mornings, check out these strategies for helping to get your kid out of bed and on to a productive day:
Please comment below: Has your child ever had sleep problems? How did you figure out the cause and what strategies did you use to solve the problem?
Jenmarie Eadie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who is passionate about helping children to become less stressed by giving them and their parents tools, support and encouragement. She received her Master’s in Social Work from Arizona State with a dual concentration in Children, Youth, and Families; and Behavioral Health. Her proudest accomplishment is following her dream of opening up a practice that is designed to focus on the whole family. She currently serves families in Southern California.