It's Tuesday, and you're trying to get your child up and ready for school. But no matter how many times you knock on their door, tap on their shoulder, or pull the covers off them, they just won't get out of bed. Does this morning routine sound familiar?
If you're like many parents, you wage a daily battle to get your kid out of bed in the morning. It's not just teenagers who experience this problem — even young children can fight to stay in bed. So why do so many kids have trouble waking up?
Why Do Kids Have Trouble Waking Up?
Kids of all ages can have problems sleeping, which lead to problems waking up. Keep in mind that there can be more than one reason for your child's sleep disturbance, and your child will likely experience different issues, depending on their age group.
- Infants may have difficulties related to sleep schedule adjustments and developing a sleep rhythm.
- Young toddlers may experience problems as a result of separation anxiety when parents put them down to sleep.
- School-aged children may have difficulties adjusting to stress at school, making sleep difficult.
- Teenagers may simply be staying up too late at night or using electronic devices right before bed.
When Should You Worry?
Many children have occasional sleeping problems. But along with persistent trouble waking up, there are signs of chronic sleep deprivation you can watch out for, especially after your child begins school.
"In school age children, we see kids acting out at school, not paying attention, or grades aren't that great," said Komal Afzal, D.O, a pediatrician at Dignity Health Medical Group - Dominican, a service of Dignity Health Medical Foundation. "With older kids and teens, we worry about sleep disturbance and its relationship to depression and anxiety disorders. For teens with chronic sleep deprivation, their social and family relationships suffer, their school performance falls, and their mood can be severely affected."
How Can You Help?
Regardless of the cause of sleep disturbance, any type of disruption to a normal sleeping schedule can make it difficult for children to wake up in the morning. Dr. Afzal says, "In clinic, I really push my parents to establish a sleep routine for their kids. It's the most important thing parents can do to help."
It's important for children to have a consistent sleep rhythm. "If parents can help train their children to sleep at certain times, they're usually more successful at making sure kids are getting enough sleep every night. When this happens, kids usually have a much easier time getting up in the morning," says Dr. Afzal.
Try these tips to help your child get a good night's sleep.
- Give your child a regular schedule for the afternoon and evening. Try to set times for certain tasks like finishing homework, eating dinner, and free time before bed.
- Limit your child's electronic device use before bed.
- Set a firm bedtime. Being in bed with lights out at the same time each evening is key to developing a healthy sleep routine.
If your child is having trouble sleeping or getting up, don't panic! With the right routine, you can have them up and ready to meet the day head-on in no time.