HELP!!! 12 Year Old That Doesn't Want to Wake up for School
October 04, 2008
Saint Louis, MO
I have tried everything. About 6 months ago, I put a similar request on here and got what I thought were some good ideas. My son is very stubborn. I have tried giving him a glass of orange juice because I heard that orange juice wake you up. I also tried to wake him and give him the opportunity to take a shower. That worked for a little bit but now he gets up takes a shower and then lays down and falls back asleep. Please give me some good suggestions. He is not a morning person so fighting with him is not the answer because the last thing that we need is for him to got off to school crabby or say he is not going!!!!.............HELP ME MOM'S!!!!!
Okay, so I still welcome all advice that you can send to me. Every bit of it helps. It is a lot to take in. Today, October 2nd, we had a great morning. Last night I sat down with him and we discussed what would make the mornings better. I explained to him what a few of you said about him being too old to be woken, pushed, directed from the time of waking to getting on the bus. I do agree with you. I guess it has become a habit because I have been doing it for so long. So we decided that I would wake up, turn on the lights in the living room, bathroom, hallway and his room when waking him. I think part of the problem might be that we always get ready in the dark for the most part and that might be why he falls back asleep. So today I did just that, it was light in my house as if it were light outside. I think it really helped. The only thing I had to say to him other than 'get up' was, 'you need to walk out the door in 5 minutes'. It worked today.......let's see where it takes us tomorrow and the following days.
Oh yeah, and for those of you that asked about his evening routine, he has a really good one. First off, we do not have caffeine in our house. I do not buy it. He is an outside boy so he plays all evening outside after homework. My son, myself and my mom take an evening walk almost every evening. He goes to bed at about 9:30 and I wake him at about 6:15. Oh, and he drinks a glass of milk before bed most nights. I feel like that is a good routine.
Thank you again for all of your advice. I hope that my request and your responses will help many other mothers out there struggling with their teens getting up in the morning.
My 14 year old neice was giving her mom a hard time waking up too. So her mom made her bed time earlier. And told her that each morning she gave her a hard time, she would have to go to bed 15 minutes earlier that night. It got to be as early as 8pm, before she started taking more responsibility in the bedtime and wake up routines.
Good luck, mine are young so I am trying to take notes.
Make him go to bed earlier. Chances are, he has access to tv, video games, and other things late at night in his room. Remove all nighttime distractors and make him go to bed at a certain time. If he gets up without a problem, let him stay up 30 minutes later. If he has trouple getting up, bump up the bedtime by thirty minutes. We're ALL tired in the morning, it's just a power struggle and lack of responsibility that he's not getting up willingly. (I did that too in my teen years). He'll know that not getting up willingly has the consequence of an earlier bedtime and proving he can get up will get him a later bedtime. At twelve, he is growing and needs lots of sleep but he's still a kid who needs rules and limits.
Well I have a 12 year old daughter who has just rec'd texting and her friends start texting her when they get up so she jumps up because it vibrates across the desk kinda like a alarm. and she can't wait to reply so she texts them back then jumps in the shower and they see whos the fastest and text back when done. The only problem is at dinner I have to take it away until we are done.She mows the yard and things to pay for it its $20 a month ."worth a shot" Make a game out of it .or have his best friends just call and tell him MOVE It man!!1ol. Good Luck!!!write me back and tell me if it works or not.Please???? Thanks from S. in Shawnee P.S. Is he in Desoto or Shawnee distict?
I looked through most of your advice, and didn't see this mentioned, so I thought I'd ask - what about sleep apnea? From the bedtime routine you described, it would seem like he gets plenty of sleep, but something may be causing him not to rest well.
I only say this because my younger sister had the same issues as a teen, and drove my mom up a wall. But it turned out that she wasn't breathing normally 45% of the time while asleep, which caused her to be extremely tired in the mornings.
Try getting him to go to sleep earlier. And if you've tried that and it isn't working, I'd see a sleep specialist. I'm a night owl myself, but I get up when I'm supposed to in the morning. Granted my husband and I both hit our alarm clocks three or four times before actally getting out of bed, but we do get up. He may not be sleeping like he should during the night and you'd never know it. We had that challenge with our oldest in Kindergarten and she had her tonsils and adenoids removed and she quit with the apnea and snoring and started getting great sleep at night. Good luck and God Bless.
I read all the responses, but didn't see one that mentioned what I would do. If he doesn't get up easily in the morning push his bedtime up 15 to 30 minutes, do this each night until he gets the idea that he has to get up without you having to hassle him so much, believe me he won't want to go to bed earlier and will change his habits soon. If he doesn't he's probably one of those people who needs more sleep and you are doing whats best for him anyway. My son hated getting up, but he hated going to bed earlier so he started making himself get up when I woke him and eventually he started getting up on his own to my surprise and delight. Although he does need the daily shower to wake him up.
The sleep study might be a good idea too, I have a friend who's son has restless leg syndrome and didn't ever look rested until he was medicated for this.
maybe he isn't sleeping well when he is asleep. Have you talked to a doctor about having his sleep patterns tested? If he is going to bed early with 9-10 hours of sleep he should be well rested. If he isn't falling asleep right away then he needs to go to bed earlier and maybe read a book to help him get sleepy. If he is asleep the whole time then he isn't getting a deep sleep and will feel tired. Does he snore loud? may have sleep apnea.
I have no idea what kind of responses you got last time from the other moms, soooooo - this is mine.
I have been through 3 preteen, then teens and now young adults. No matter how old they get, you are still mom. But being mom doesnt mean that you dont let them grow up. Your son doesnt have to worry about getting up and getting to school on time because you are doing it for him. So he isnt a morning person, that probably wont change. At some point in his life that has to become a reason for wanting to sleep in but not an excuse for sleeping in.
Kids are the funniest creatures, once they see how it benefits them, all of a sudden they get the picture. There is no need to punish him, no need to yell at him, no need to get yourself all flustered. You know he has to go to school, he knows he has to go to school and I am assuming you have to go to work. At his age he is able to stay by himself at home without too much worry.
Before he goes to bed at night tell him that in the morning you are going to wake him up and make sure he is awake and then you are going to treat him like a mature young person and allow him to get ready for school on his own without you. Make sure breakfast is something that wont spoil if he does not make it on time. Then go about your morning as if he is doing what he is supposed to do. Getting on the bus or in the car on time is his job not yours. If he does not make it, go on about your day and go to work, he stays home. I know, I know he will miss a day of school. Exactly, he will have school work to make up when he gets to school. He will have to explain that he over slept, dont cover it up for him. He will have to take responsibility. Now, most parents would say that their kid at this age would love this. That may be true.
There is another side to it though. Going to school is his job. If you dont go to work you dont get the perks that comes from going to work. If he doesnt go to school he doesnt get the perks either. Let him know it is not a punishment it is just the way the world works. Going to school means having free time to do the things that he wants to do, he earns his free time by going to school. It is just like earning a paycheck. If he does not go, he has no free time. That would mean sports, outside time, computer, TV, whatever he does in his free time.
This works, but only if you believe in it enough to make it work. It works if you will really stick to the plan and let him fall, then let him pick himself up.
I had a similar experience, and was surprised when my pediatrician ordered a sleep study, and was even more surprised to learn my kiddo had sleep apnea. I urge you to check with your son's doctor about a sleep study. Good luck to you.
I have the book, "Parenting With Love & Logic" and I was fortunate to actually attend a Discipline Seminar with one of the authors, Jim Faye, and he told an awesome story about being on-time in the mornings. This story happened in his own family...
His wife had a hard time getting their kids in the car for the morning drive to school so after she picked up the kids from school one day, she drove straight to the "Good Will Store". She let the kids stay in the car and she came out with a couple bags of clothes. When they got home she explained that each child has their 'respecive' bag (hanging on the garage door) and if they were NOT in the car seat at the time they are to leave, then she makes them get into the car - ready or not. If they are dressed, fine, if they are not, then she grabbs their Good Will bag and they have to put that on them while driving to school. Since they, like all teenagers, are picky about what they wear, shouldn't have a problem getting to the car on-time. To end the story in the Faye family, None of the kids were late again. Pride is a good motivator. :)
Took every bit of strength I had to pick her up out of bed, carry her screaming to the waiting car and buckle her in...I have fybromyalgia...I paid for it with days of pain.
When the school counselor called to say I had to come back and get her because she was in the nurses office in jammies and sockfeet...I said .... this is tough love, sorry.
I did however put a sweatshirt and flipflops in her backpack if she had looked in there.
She's in college now...still remembers it...and almost laughs.
(now that's I've read more)
He needs to go to bed earlier perhaps...that's just somewhere around 9 hours of sleep....you might also try melatonin with dinner just for a short term aide to help get him in bed earlier and asleep sooner.
Puberty is coming....and it's not pretty!
I'm also a single mom that traded no-child-support from my ex, for full custody with no visitation....we haven't had much extras, no vacations, no fancy clothes etc...but we've always been safe.
Get used to it. Sorry. Teenagers (preteens) are like that... Some worse than others. My 15 year old son is a royal pain in the butt in the mornings. We have sprayed him with water...(He gets up, but he's mad all morning)...Got him his own alarm clock, he just hits snooze 20 times..., I've left him alone and let him be really late, with 10 minutes to spare I tell him I'm leaving in 10..He jumps up and gets mad at me for not waking him up..LOL... I've sent him to bed by 9, sometimes 8:30, but he just lays in there and says he can't sleep and still won't get out of bed in the morning... But the thing that has worked the best is when I have to tell him three times or more to get up, he doesn't get to stay after school for activities...He assumes he'll get to do what he wants, but as we are leaving (I work at the school) I tell him he is to ride the bus home, no after school stuff. He'll do better a few days, then we are back to square one. You might try sitting down with him and explaining why it's a problem and ask him how the two of you can fix it...He may be dreading something at school that you can help him with. He may need to have breakfast first thing... Have him get everything ready the night before and let him sleep longer in the mornings.... Only ideas I have... Just hang in there...Kids this age and on are very difficult, my son started it earlier than my daughter...she became a pain at 16, he was about 12 or 13... Know that you are not alone....Good luck...
Hi, How are you? Is he goig to sleep on time? Make sure he's not and not eating too late as well. That can make you groggy! My 12 year old daughter gets up in the morning just to get on our Video Phone we just bought. She Loves it! She use to drag as well..not anymore. I told her she can't use the video phone to call her friends unless she goes to sleep on time. She looks forward to it because she can call her friends, see and talk to them at the same time. Thanks for the Video Phone! I didn't buy the phone for her, but to save money on my phone bill, but the fact she loves it so much, she does homework together with her friends using it, study her spelling words, she even like to plug it up to the tv and do little work out routines with her friends before school. It just gave me a reason to use that to my advantage to have her start going to bed and doing chores etc. just to get on it. If not I take it away from her. Only a suggestion...If you try it, it'll probably help out with him as well as cut your phone bill in half. I only pay $25 a month for my service free long distance and it's phone service through my internet. It was a win win for me! If you want to know where to get one just email me at ____@____.com Good Luck!
I completely agree that he needs to accept responsibility for getting up (or not) on his own and suffer the consequences. BUT there is valid scientific research that shows a teen (I would say that 12 year old boy is close enough) really does have their own internal clock that may not synch with what most people would view as normal. And that their body/brain is truly not awake until 10-11 am! I think one of the books is something like "yes, your teen is crazy!"
He is only 12. I personally would say don't worry about it until he's a 17-18 year old senior looking to college WITHOUT mommy helping him get up.
My mother in law found some alarm clock, I'm sure you could Google it, that shakes the bed to get them up. Our son too would go back to sleep. But it wasn't until he was a junior/senior in HS where I let him suffer the consequences because I couldn't go to college with him.
Hi M.! Your life sounds alot like mine used to be. I was a single parent for 13 yrs. with a 13 yr.old boy and 9yr.old girl. I got married almost 7 years ago and gained 3 full time stepkids and had one with my husband (all in 9 months time!, whew). My oldest who just turned 20 (wow!)had the same problem and still does. He's a night owl and has been since he was a baby. Mornings are horrible for him. (We were a very quiet and routine household until I got married so the chaos we live in now doesn't help.) My only thing that has helped was taking a shower the night before and having easy quick breakfast things available. My son told me he just has a hard time falling asleep at night and therefore he's pretty tired in the morning.I think it gets worse when they hit the teenage years. He also just made himself get up on his own with his own alarm clock and grabbed something on the run, like granola bars. I'm not sure this will help but just letting you know I know how you feel. You sound alot like me in your values and the way you've raised your kids, keep up the good work and hang in there!!
I was having sort of a similar problem last year. (I'm also a single mom) My son really didn't like his teacher- her teaching style wasn't right for his personality.. so it was like going to a job that you absoluty dispise. I would wake him up in plenty of time.. he wouldn't get up, and then drag getting ready. He also likes to stay up late reading.
this year, I have to take his 14 y/o sister to school (its on my way to work, and she has to be there early). we live only 3 blocks from school, in a small town, so he has an alarm clock, and is responsible for getting himself up and to school. I was very worried that this wouldn't work - but to my great surprise, he is now EARLY every morning getting to school. I do usually call around the time he needs to have left, to make sure he did.. twice I did actually wake him up- so he really had to hussle to make it to school on time. He also has different teachers this year, and that may be helping some also.
BUT - Over all, I think him knowing he has to be the one responsible for himself has been the best thing for him! I do tell him how proud I am that he is now being more responsible in getting himself to school.
Now, if I could only figure out how to get him to do his chores before I get home!
so maybe having him be completely responsible for getting himself up and to school is what your son may also need? I know its really hard if I am there, for me to NOT 'help' him in the mornings. If he's late for school, then its all on him. It may take a bit before it sinks in that you really aren't going to be his alarm clock and continual reminder, or responsible for him getting there..
My daughter loves school but one year, she had a horrible teacher. How does your son feel about his teacher? Does his teacher play favorites? The thing that we didn't like about my daughters teacher was that she him hawed a lot, was monotone, didn't really seem to care and didn't seem to know a lot of the material, made a lot of mistakes.
Sherrie is absolutely right. I did something similar, but really had trouble allowing my kids to miss school. So instead of letting them miss school, if they didn't get up on their own, they were grounded for that day. In fact I would ground one day for each time I had to wake them in a morning. If it took three times, they were grounded three days. If they missed the bus that was an automatic week of grounding on top of it. My son was the absolute worst about getting up. I came up with the brilliant idea that he could not get his drivers license until he got up on his own for 10 days in a row. Well, he didn't get his drivers license until he was 18 because of this. When he graduated and had to go to work in the morning, I offered him a free ride to the bus stop near our house. I told him that if he missed that bus and had to go across the river to the Earth City bus, he would have to pay his own bus and train fare. And if he was so late that he had to be driving all the way to the Metrolink station, I would charge him $20 for the ride. And, I told him I would absolutely not drive him all the way downtown to work, so if he was that late, he'd have to call work and explain himself. Well, after I earned about $80 in taxi service to the Metrolink station, he started getting up and taking the free ride. I should have started putting the responsibility on his shoulders when he was much younger. You should have better luck starting early because when they get to be 16 or so they have this crazy idea that they adults and know everything and can do everything even though mom is still actually making things happen for them. So, good luck to you!
I agree with Sherrie, too. I would just add one more thing.
When my son did it, I informed him the car leaves at 8:00 AM WITH him in it, dressed or not, hungry or not, etc. Then I followed through.
I don't remember him ever actually having to go in his pajamas, but he went to school once or twice without breakfast, or teeth brushed, or hair combed, and at that age, that is plenty of consequence !
It worked !
Yeah, I was the same way as a child, (and still can be at times lol), my Dad always had to threaten me with having a cup of water dumped on me! Once he'd come in with that cup, I was like I'm up I'm up!! Before he could dump it of course.... Then there were some mornings, he'd have to poor a tiny bit of water, up to the whole glass of water so I'd get up! It kinda sucked, but it worked to get my butt moving! My oldest (almost 8) is like this as well. He won't get up for me unless I tickle him, or let his 2y/o brother wake him up. All though he has no problem getting up for my Dad every morning (we stay with them for now). He doesn't threaten with a cup of water, but sometimes has to eventually carry him into the bath tub for his morning bath (he takes one in the AM anyway due to bedwetting problems)... He also threatens to take him to school in his PJs! No matter how early he goes to bed, he is this way, as I am too... Good Luck!
Remember one thing not going isn't an option and as he grows and gets a job that will also require discipline in getting to work on time so you are actually helping him with his future. Early to bed early to rise makes a child healthy happy and wise. Bed time should be adjusted some people need more sleep than others. Set his clock 20 minutes earlier than the others to help him mentally think it is later.
Good Luck ( if all else fails get a rooster) LOL
My middle son was exactly the same way... and most of it was because he was not getting enough sleep. So we started moving his bedtime up every other night or so. Starting with five minutes, then went a few more minutes a few nights later, to get his internal time clock used to the change... There are nights now at 14 that he will go to bed right at 9:00, and others it is closer to 10:00. But he is not allowed to be up later than that unless he gets to sleep in the next day.
You will definately want to get something working before the end of Oct, as Daylight savings ends in just a few short weeks and you will struggle even more.
I'm not sure if this helps, but maybe liken school to life. He will (most likely) eventually have to attend a job everyday. If he does not attend this job, he will not be paid. If he is not paid, he will be homeless. School is what gets him to the point where he can be paid past a McDonald's paycheck. Ask him where e wants to be. Ask him his aspirations and help him work why he is doing schoolwork into where his aspirations will be later. And if he is 12 and never had emphasis on schoolwork before, it will be hard. Stick in with it!
M., i have the same prob. with my 13 yr old. he's like me and not a morning person. i have tried squirting him with water and sometimes it helps. my other kids have actually dumped water from a glass on him. if you hear of any other ways to get them up PLEASE let me know thanx C.
Is your son getting adequate sleep at night??? If so....I would be tempted to talk with his pediatrician about this..make sure that there isnt something going on with his thyroid or something else that could be causing the sluggishness. Is he having trouble in school?? This could be a possible reason for being so reluctant to get up and get ready to head off for a day at school.
It is probably time for him to start learning consequences for his actions. If he is late for school...and you have to take him to school because he has missed the bus...or doesnt have time to walk...then he has to give up something that night...tv...video games..bikes...something that he really REALLY likes. Let him see that his refusal to cooperate in the mornings is not going to continue without some price being paid by him. It wont make you very popular at the moment but it WILL help to equip him for real life as an adult in a few years!!
most of the responses have been geared toward actions & consequences....which I totally agree with.
How about one more direction...what does your son drink at night? How much caffeine does he consume? How much exercise does he get? What about a nightly power walk for both of you (or some other form of exercise), a shower to relax, & then bed earlier than normal?
Which brings up the next ?? what time does he go to bed & does it allow at least 10 hours sleep? My oldest son (beginning at age 12) needed at least 10 hours sleep, & it was not unusual for him to sleep 16 hours on the weekend. My youngest son is now 12, & on the weekends sleeps at least 12 hours if our schedule allows. Good Luck!
Make sure his lights are out by 9pm. Tell him that for every time you have to wake him up after the first call, he loses a half hour of night time that he will have to have lights out. It gets dark starting at 7:30, so four calls will put him to bed by then. Take out his lightbulb if you have to. That saves on electricity when children like to forget to turn it off anyway. And, be calm and consistant with it. A splash of water in the face may work if you are overlly frustrated, but I am not sure I would want to follow through with that. But, if you threaten it, be sure to follow through. Or you take away his favorite activity for the day or week. Get him an alarm clock, and if he doesn't wake for that in a timely manner, use the consequences you decide on. You could always try bribery. Tell him that you both will do something he likes that is a rare treat on Sat if he gets up on his own for the week. This would be to get him into the habit.
I wouldn't worry about him going to school crabby. And, if he threatens to not go, get him a police escort. He will learn very quickly that some things aren't optional. Boys will push the limits with Mom and they will respect you more if you lay down the law. And, this is really the age they start trying to be boss over Mom. You'll have to get some backbone with him, as even the most compliant boys get like this at this age. And, if you let him become a problem now, I can't imagine your heart ache when he is 16 and wanting to drop out of school against your wishes.
The other option is to listen when he sleeps sometime. Does he do a lot of gasping, loud snoring. You may have him tested for sleep apnea. If he has a sleep disorder, he may not be able to help it, and it may need to be treated. HTH
I have 2 sons. One is still that way and he is 19. He had a hard time going to sleep at night. So he was hard getting up in the mornings for school. My other son is 15 and I did what Terri M did and it worked. My 19 year old son is still hard to get up I tried very thing with him. I even had him check out at the doctor’s Office. He does not go right to sleep. He worries about everything. In the winter time I have a hard time getting up. I sleep very sound. But I do get up, about the second time the alarm goes off. I have to set my mind to get up. I try to go to sleep the same time even on the weekends and get up the same time. Maybe something is on your sons mind.
Sounds like he may be depressed. You mentioned you're a single parent, does he have contact with his father? Boys need their fathers, so I would get him some help and a decent male role model to be around him. Possibly your father or brother, no boyfriends though. Also, he may be having trouble at school and it may not be something he wants to talk to mom about.
I have a 12 year old also. He can be a pain to get up for school; and I teach at his school. I encouraged him to bathe at night so he can sleep a little longer in the morning but as long as he is ready. BUT, to get him up in the morning.....it has resulted in the use of a squirt bottle. I spray him if he refuses to get up. This usually works. I will squirt his head, feet, whatever he find annoying. If he has a problem in the bathroom of falling asleep in the tub/shower I or my husband will go in and thrown cold water on him. It may sound bad but at least I am not constantly yelling. And now if I say I am getting the water bottle it sure makes him move.
I also threatened with an earlier bedtime if he can't wake up on time. He can make me late and that is "not cool" with me.
I agree he may be depressed, or have something going on at school. Have you asked him if he's upset about something or is someone picking on him at school? Since you have to play the role of the father too, I would just put your foot down real hard. My parents made me get up on my own, at that age they should be responsible enough to wake themselves, or pay the consequences.
He might actually be feeling more exhausted and wiped out because of puberty coming on. He is crabby or tired in the morning because he is literally tired still. I would insist on him going to bed earlier.
Try telling him he has to go lay down in bed at a time you've discussed, with the lights OFF! While he might not fall to sleep immediately, he will eventually fall asleep out of boredom and realize he really is that tired.
Make him do this at the same, earlier, time every night... this sounds like I'm talking about a toddler, but routine and consistency works for older kids too!
My son has this same problem. He sleeps hard and has been that way every since he was a baby. A train wouldn't wake him up if it went right by him. I found out that he just has to go to bed earlier. Oh, he hates it, he's 13yo and thinks he should be old enough to stay up past 9. But, he'll never wake up if I let him. So, the compromise is that he can stay up on Fridays and Saturdays. But, He absolutely has to go to bed by 9 on weekdays.