Getting up in the morning

FrogmanJanuary 14, 2003

I have twin five year old boys who are in kindergarten. School starts at 7:30, so they need to be up and out of bed no later than 6:30. One of the kids is really easy, maybe a little slow to get moving but once he does, he's in a good mood, gets dressed quickly, eats his breakfast, and is ready to go.

The other one, however, refuses to get out of bed, fusses about every little thing (e.g., "Those pants bother me. They make my underwear go in my butt."), is grouchy as can be, throws screaming & crying tantrums, tries to manipulate us into doing things he is perfectly capable of doing, complains if you don't put the honey on his toast in just the right way, and regularly makes us late & crazy. Any suggestions for dealing with an early morning grouch?

PS before he started school, he was the one that would wake the rest of us up at 5:30 because he was tired of sleeping.

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My oldest went through that phase. What I did was just tell him if he doesn't get dressed, you will take him to school in his pajamas. Then do it. It will only happen once. After that he will get right up and get dressed. I actually did this, DS wore his PJs to kindergarten for a day. Of course, I let the teacher in on what I was doing so she didn't think I was a nut sending my kid to school in PJs.

I have always been a big beliver in not doing something for my kids that they are capable of doing themselves. But, on the other hand, sometimes when they ask you to put on their shoes, etc, it's not so much manipulation as a cry for attention - "just baby me a little bit". I try to determine if it's a cry for attention and will, on a rare occassion, give in and do it for them, and it's usually all it takes to cheer them up and make the day better. But, if it's every day, every time, that's a different matter. Just refuse. If the shoes or socks or whatever aren't on when it's time to leave, pick them up and take them with you and have him put them on in the car.

Good luck - you are are a SAINT - there is a special place in Heaven for parents of TWIN BOYS!!!!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2003 at 11:12AM
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It sounds like he might be trying to control his life first thing in the morning. "Not those pants, these ones! "The toast needs to be made just so." "I want you to do this and I want you to do that."

Maybe if he had more contol over what was going on in the morning he might feel better. He is old enough to choose his own clothes, the night before if it takes a while. Toast with honey would make a good after school snack. You can teach him how to make it himself after school until he is able to do it for himself for breakfast. And maybe add in a little bribe. If you are ready to go by *:** I'll have time to read a short story to you.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2003 at 12:07PM
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Hey, maybe his pants DO make his underwear go in his butt! :)) Duckie's advice is good about letting him pick his clothes out the night before. Other than that... some of us NEVER become morning people. Is he sleeping well?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2003 at 8:50PM
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Actually, HE makes his underwear go in his butt. Part of his morning ritual consists of hiking the suckers up as high as he can get them. He has a thing about wrinkles -- he can't tolerate them anywhere, in his socks, gloves, sheets, underwear, etc. What can I say, he's one of a kind!

To answer your question, whazzup, he sleeps deeply. However, he often has difficulty falling asleep at night, unlike his brother who zonks out right away. I do think that if we could get him to fall asleep earlier, the mornings might be better.

Thanks for the tips, MommaBird, Duckie, and whazzup. Keep them coming, I need them! This morning was another huge tantrum. We have tried a number of the suggestions that have been made, though we haven't yet sent him to school in his pajamas. We normally walk, and it's pretty cold here. Who knows, maybe that will make it more of an incentive for him!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2003 at 1:25PM
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oh, yeah, SLEEP will make a HUGE difference! It makes all grumpiness worse.

Do the "walk to school in your jammies" thing in Kgarten, bcs it'll be harder to do it in the 1st grade.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2003 at 2:54PM
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Frogman, I agree with Talley Sue - do it NOW instead of putting up with this treatment all through Kindergarten - that sets a precident. I'll warn you though, that DS still vividly remembers the "pjs to school" incident and he's in 2nd grade.

My son also had a "thing" about how clothes feel - wrinkles, bumps in socks, etc. It about drove us NUTS until we found out he has Sensory Integration Disorder. I'm not suggesting your son has it, becaues that was just one symptom among dozens, but just suggesting that some kids are very very sensitive to how clothes feel. We adults usually just block out how our clothes feel, but some kids just can't block it out.

Good luck again!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2003 at 9:38AM
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Frogman, he only does this on school days? I wonder... maybe there's something at school that he dreads? If he's trying to delay getting to school, just make sure everything is okay there, you know? But like I said before, a "wedgie" puts the best of us in a bad mood ;) Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2003 at 6:45PM
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I'd go for having him pick out his clothes the night before too. Give him some control and see if that makes a difference (ask him if he'd like to do that), so what if they don't match, if he's happy so what? I think letting him wear his PJ's is a great idea at his age too.

When he complains about the toast let him put his own stuff on it, eat it dry or go without (I'd tell him before hand what you intend to do and stick to it no matter what). He'll probably decide it doesn't pay to complain when you let him suffer the natural consequences of his acions.

When they get older you can arrange for detentions, extra homework, walking to school etc. Believe me, you'll want to nip this in the bud now, because when he gets to high school you'll be dealing with the same thing.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2003 at 3:34AM
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My son was like this at that age. I highly recommend reading "Raising Your Spirited Child" (I think that's the correct title!!) because it gives some good insight on children that are all around sensitive - clothes too tight, socks not lined up correctly, etc. Once I read this book, I realized that certain things really bugged my son and I tried to make it easier. My son's socks had to be aligned just so - he would take his shoes on and off, on and off, on and off. My good friend finally explained to him that once he started walking around, the socks would "settle" into place. That seemed to help. Another thing: have him put out his clothes the night before. It helped when I got an alarm clock for him, too. For some reason he woke up easier to that than my voice! I worked very, very hard to not feed into his emotions. The more calm I stayed, the easier it was. We had one day where he missed the bus because of all the fuss. Inside I was livid (I had to get to work) but on the outside I stayed very cool. I drove him, but the consequence was that he had to give me a little money from his allowance (50 cents I think). He never missed the bus again. Hang in there! My son is now in the 4th grade and is the first to rise, very happy and ready to go. We went through at least 2 difficult years, but now it's heaven!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2003 at 2:18AM
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Be sure he is not getting any caffeine--no colas, Mt Dew, some orange flavors too. No chocolate, tea. That might help him sleep better.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2003 at 5:28PM
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I agree with intherain -- one of our daughters was (I thought) overly fussy about how every piece of clothing felt and it drove me nuts. Reading about other kids with the same issues helped.

Buy only the clothes he feels comfortable in. For us that meant -- no turtlenecks, no zippers at that age, the MOST expensive socks, which truly are more soft and cushy, etc.

While I counted to 10 ... DH would calmly perform ritualistic sock and panty "adjustments."

Be firm about no TV, no PC, etc until dressed and ready for school.

Best of all -- know that it DOES get better, he WILL gradually grow out of this hyper-senstitive stage, at least enough to dress himself without daily trantrums.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2003 at 12:30PM
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One more thought -- my hyper-sensitive girl ALSO hated (hateS) being told what to do. When we go through rocky periods, we use a morning checklist. For pre-readers, this could be pictures of: bed (make it), clothes (put it on), cereal (eat it), toothbrush, hairbrush, backpack. Every completed activity gets a check (or a stamp or a sticker or whatever floats his boat). You could even add a reward -- so many hassle-free mornings (completed charts) earns ... whatever works for you/him.

The novelty will wear off after a time, but the hope is that by then at least SOME of this will become routine.

Did I mention ... no TV, PC, game-boy/whatever (we have girls, so I am not in the know, here) unless the chart is complete.

Buena suerte!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2003 at 2:04PM
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Kids react to stressful situations and having to get ready in the morning is a big one for some kids.

Have you thought of dressing the kids in their school clothes for the next day? You would have to rely on knits that didn't wrinkle. It can be done. On days I absolutely needed to be out the door, I did this. No fighting in the morning. Happy faces out the door.

My kids are older now and are able to get ready in the morning--so it didn't hold them back any.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2003 at 10:40AM
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Just a quick thought. I gave my daughter her own alarm clock when she was in kindergarten. It worked better than me going in to wake her up.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 5:31PM
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