If you’re thinking this is going to be a funny post about waking your kids up as revenge for all of the mornings (and nights) they terrorized you as toddlers, it’s not that – it turns out there’s a real “right” way to get your kids up if you’re looking for ways to start the day with smiles.

And honestly, having happy, helpful kids in the morning is just as good as revenge waking…I think.

The way a kid wakes up in the morning can influence their attitude, and even their ability to learn, throughout the day. Unfortunately, for you (the parent), this means you’re going to have to learn how to be a bit more of a morning person yourself, first.


First up, lose the alarm clock and trade it for a smile, a good morning, and maybe a song from their (sometimes) favorite person in the world. You’ll have to get up earlier, says licensed psychologist Dr. Roseanne Lesack.

“I always tell parents that might mean waking up 20 minutes earlier to make sure that you are ready to provide whatever support your child needs. Think of whatever you can to get prepared ahead of time. Whatever you can get done the night before, get it done.”

You’ll have to make a list that works for you, but consider things like picking out clothes, deciding what’s for breakfast, getting backpacks ready or even prepping lunches the night before – and think of yourself, too, and set the coffee pot if your machine has that option.


“When they’re in a grumpy mood it’s really hard to make decisions. So when those decisions about what they want to wear and what’s for breakfast have already been made, there’s no conversations about that.”

Also, err on the side of caution when it comes to wake-up times – your expectations of how long your kid needs to get going in the morning need to be realistic. Give them enough time to wake up on their own schedule and not have to leap out of bed and immediately get moving in order to make it out the door on time.

“Know your child and stick with the schedule as best you can. We need to flexibly structure because every morning is going to throw something new at you.”

The bottom line is that your attitude in the morning will be reflected back at your in your child’s attitude – and if that’s not a reason to be calmer, less frazzled, and in less of an angry huff, I don’t know what is.


“They will feed off of you. When you’re present with your child, be present. Help and focus as much as you can.”

It’s not always possible for parents to get as much sleep as we’d like. Whether we’re staying up late to accomplish some of our own goals or are awakened by a scared, restless, or sick child, there seem to be more interrupted nights than not.

But if you can find a way to be mindful about rising before your child, everyone will benefit.

And there’s always coffee. Thank goodness for that.