Alarm clocks are a necessity in modern living. We all have responsibilities we need to attend to, most of which begin early in the morning (shift workers excepted!). Even young children are not excused. Typically, children must be ready to leave their homes for school between 8 and 8:30a.m. – and therefore must be crawling out of bed by around 7 o’clock (give or take a little) in order to leave adequate time for dressing, eating and organizing.
But what if your child simply refuses to use an alarm clock? Consider the following tips:
Find Out Why
Before you get rid of this amazing invention, ask your child first why he or she refuses to use an alarm clock. Reasons vary, and adjustments can be suggested based on the reason your child has.
Sometimes a child doesn’t like an alarm clock simply because he or she hates the sound it makes. If this is the case, invite them to shop with you for a new one – one with a sound more pleasing to the ears. Really young children often are not aware that there are many kinds and types of alarm clocks available, so you may have to introduce the concept. Go online and show them the array of funny, cute, child-friendly alarms that are available. But don’t buy one until you hear the sound it makes; you want to make sure your child likes it! If the website doesn’t offer sound samplings, go to your local store and try them out there.
If their issues relate to being suddenly jolted awake, then propose alternatives. Many new alarm clocks offer ringing that slowly rises in volume, which is believed to be gentler on the ears. Some alarms have gentle music that gets louder and louder, the longer it plays. Setting an alarm system to mere “vibrate” may also do the trick, as the vibration is less joting than noises might be. Warning: don’t use the snooze function as a graduated wake-up aid. It simply trains the brain to ignore the alarm! Those who make use of a snooze-button often find themselves slapping it off over and over again (for as long as an hour!)) instead of using the sound as a cue to get out of bed.
Be Their Alarm Clock
You can also take your child’s refusal to use an alarm clock as an opportunity to bond with them every morning! If you have no problems with using an alarm clock in your own room, then an alternative is for you to set the alarm for yourself, and then be the one to wake your child. Perhaps your child can use a warm kiss or hug as a wake up tool, instead of the incessant ringing of an alarm. This is particularly suitable for tiny children. It is an option for older children, with the condition that the “relationship moment” must be pleasant for all parties. In other words, absolutely REFUSE to wake up a child who fights with you about getting up, is rude to you or ignores your request (which will cause you too much aggravation). Volunteer to be an alarm clock only for those children who are grateful enough for your help to be pleasant and cooperative when you get there.
An added thought: If you can bring the family pet into the picture (i.e. have the dog lick them awake ), then you’ve got yourself a morning ritual like no other!
Give Them a Chance to Wake Up on their Own
We’re all working on the assumption that your child actually needs an alarm clock in order to be on time. But what if your child refuses to use an alarm clock, simply because he or she doesn’t need one? Our body has a natural clock called the Circadian Rhythm that regulates our sleeping and waking hours. When we have consistent sleeping patterns, our bodies tend to know exactly when to sleep and when to wake up. Light and sound cues provide the signal for the actual time. Kids who are trained to sleep and awaken at consistent times usually don’t need an alarm clock. The trick here is to ensure that the child is in bed early enough each evening to wake up naturally each morning. Kids who go to bed too late (like adults) will need an alarm.
If your child is too tired to wake up on his or her own, simply refuses to use an alarm and fights with you when you try to get him or her out of bed, then use negative consequences to inspire them to wake up on time. For instance, don’t interfere with HOW the child wakes up. Simply warn him or her that there will be a specific negative consequence if he or she is late.