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Problems Getting Out of Bed


When I was in high school my father had the unpleasant task of waking me in the morning. He would cajole me out of bed with promises of a freshly cooked breakfast, orange juice and the New York Times. Most days these bribes were successful because as hard as I tried to stay in bed, he was persistent. Below is some advice excerpted from Getting Your Child to Say “Yes” To School: A Guide For Parents of Youth with School Refusal Behavior by Christopher A. Kearney.

Some teenagers miss school because they have great trouble getting out of bed in the morning. If your client has this problem, then be sure she is getting plenty of sleep. The following will help:

  • Make sure a child only sleeps in her bed and does not use it for other activities such as reading, watching television, calling people, or completing homework.
  • Be sure a child is in bed with lights out at an early time, say 8 or 9 hours before
    having to rise from bed.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and exercise before bedtime.
  • Practice relaxation methods close to bedtime.
  • Follow the same routine before bedtime, and begin this routine 30 minutes before lights out.
  • Set curfew for at least 2 hours before bedtime.
  • Have parents consult a pediatrician about sleep medication if necessary.

We recommend parents rise very early and wake their child in stages, much like a snooze alarm. If a child has to be up by 6 9780195306309.jpga.m., for example, parents can get up at 5:15 a.m. and wake a child at 5:30, 5:40, 5:50, 5:55, and 5:59 a.m. Parents should tell a child how many minutes she has left before having to get up. Set a loud alarm as well across the room. If a child still will not get up, then parents should continue to speak to her every 5 minutes and make sleeping a difficult thing to do. Also, set up contracts to give rewards and punishments for getting up or not getting up from bed. Finally, parents should not give up and let a child sleep late and miss school completely. If a child finally gets up and goes to school an hour late, this is better than missing most or all of the school day.

Recent Comments

  1. Herb

    Having personal experience with the Blog Editor, I can testify that she was a “great sleeper” and still is.

    Only the non-melodic tones of an off-key version of “Reveille” sung using only one word, “toot”, repeated incessantly could make her laugh so hard, she would almost fall out of bed.

    But I exaggerate just a little, as she would just pull the covers over her ears and sleep on.

  2. Lindsay Kaplan

    The Blog Editor power naps at her desk. I’ve seen it.

  3. Rebecca

    Harumph! In case you readers don’t know Lindsay is one of the great publicists at OUP! And while her talents at promotion are impressive, her lying is mediocre.

  4. Lindsay Kaplan

    Go back to bed.

  5. shane

    Does it not seem unfair, to anyone else, to place the burden of accommodation on children, as though their reluctance to leap out of bed every schoolday were a moral defect, when it is the case not only that Nature has endowed teenagers with a physiological need to sleep late but that the US school system is an unpleasant, prison- or concentration camp-like institution that crushes students’ will & ability to learn under a stultifying regime of rigid time schedules & standardized tests & procedures, all of which originally was designed not to serve the needs of maturing human beings but rather those of their eventual corporate employers, who in general require ignorant, obedient drones who will conform to office norms, follow directions & stay firmly & meekly in their assigned place without question or complaint?

    Just kidding! I recommend a “wake-up stick.” Johnny doesn’t wanna wake up for class? Get the wake-up stick! A few wake-up bruises will remind him not to be sleepy next time.

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