Q&A | How do you get kids to sleep in?

How do you get your kids to sleep in later? That’s the question for the day. Although there is no magic bullet, I have a few tips to help you move in the right direction. Including some strategies around using an “Okay to wake clock”. I’m also sharing something simple that I’m loving this week.

Time Stamps

  • 1:27 Introducing live workshops this month: Simplify Food + Family
  • 2:30 ‘Something Simple’ I’m loving this week: Hoopla
  • 4:57 Question for the week
  • 5:30 Message from the sponsor: ButcherBox
  • 6:30 Response for the question for the week

Hi there. And welcome to episode 186 today I'm answering the question. How do you get your kids to sleep in? Hi, this is Denaye. I'm the founder of Simple Families. Simple families is an online community for parents who are seeking a simpler more intentional life. In this show, we focus on minimalism with kids, positive parenting, family wellness, and decreasing the mental load. My perspectives are based in my firsthand experience, raising kids, but also rooted in my Ph.D .in child development. So you're going to hear conversations that are based in research, but more importantly, real life. Thanks for joining us.

Hi there. As we are rolling into 2020, I am launching off this second episode each week for the Simple Families podcast. As I announced back in December, each week, we're going to have our standard episode on Wednesdays, but Tuesdays we'll have this additional episode where I answer a question from an audience member. In addition to the Q and A section, I'm also going to be sharing something simple that I'm loving each week. It might be a product. It might be an app or a book, or maybe a technique or strategy that I'm loving. I'm going to be mixing it up. And if you have something simple that you've been loving, please send me an email share with me so I can share it out with a Simple Families audience to also brand new for 2020, I'm going to be hosting some live workshops. Now, many of you have been interested in my online courses and programs, but aren't quite ready to make the commitment to join.

So I'm trying out this new format for some of the materials this month, we're going to be starting off with simplifying food and family feeding. Our families can feel anything but simple. Not only do we have to worry about getting the food on the table then, but then we have to figure out how to get the food into their mouths. So we're going to break it down and focus on three main parts, how to simplify meal planning, how to simplify the cooking and how to improve the quality of mealtime with your kids. So that means less arguments, less battles, better eating as some of, you know, my doctoral research was in feeding young children. So this area is really my jam. These live workshops are 90 minutes. The first 60 minutes is me lecturing. And the last 30 minutes are you asking questions pertaining to the content.

I'd love to have you this month. As we're talking about simplifying food and feeding our families go to simplefamilies.com/food. For more information, again, that's simplefamilies.com/food. So I'm going to go ahead and move on to my something simple that I'm loving this week. So I really been enjoying the app hoopla, which is H O O P L A. So, hoopla is I can probably compare it most to audible for the public library. So you can actually get audiobooks, movies, music, that sort of thing, lots of a variety of different types of media on hoopla for free via your public. And now I know they don't work with every public library, but they do work with ours. And I think I can get five audiobooks each month. So not only do I get audiobooks for myself, but I get them for my kids too, because audiobooks have served as a really nice replacement for screen time.

Sometimes when my kids are asking for a craving screen time, I can offer them a kid's podcast or an audiobook, and they'll sit and listen and relax. They can also be great for kids who wake up really early and need a little bit of quiet downtime before the whole house gets up. As we'll be talking about later in this episode, we also love them for road trips too. There is some research that's coming out that shows that sitting and listening to audiobooks as a child has a lot of the same benefits as listening to a human read a book. Now, of course it's not the same. And when possible having a human read a book to a child is always the first choice listening to audiobooks can be a close second. So up until I found hoopla, I found audiobooks to be really expensive, but it's nice that there's a free option now.

And if hoopla is not available with your public library, another audio book option that I love is called libro.fm L I B R O F M and Libro FM is actually kind of another audible alternative, but they partner with your local independent bookstore. So instead of sharing a portion of the proceeds of the book with Amazon, you're sharing a portion of the proceeds with your local bookstore. So just another option out there for audiobook lovers. And now I know I'm going to get the question is, is my book coming out as an audiobook? And no, there are no plans to turn it into an audiobook, mostly because it's a very visual book with a lot of pictures. And my publisher doesn't think that it's going to translate quite as well as audio. So no, no plan to audio version of simple happy parenting right now, at least just a side note that this something simple section is never going to be sponsored and just always things that I'm authentically loving.

All right, moving forward into our question for the day. The question for today comes from Ashley and she wrote Hi Denaye. I have a two-year-old who's been waking up at five 30 every morning. I'm pregnant and tired and can't bring myself to wake up at this time. So I usually end up flipping on the TV for him. What are your thoughts on getting kids to sleep in peacefully in the mornings? We've tried an okay to wait clock, but we couldn't seem to get it to work for him either he doesn't get it, or he just doesn't care and gets up anyways. All right, Ashley, I have an answer for your question, but I don't have a magic bullet. I just wanted to warn you of that. Getting kids to sleep in can be complicated, but before we get into that, here's a quick 62nd word from our sponsor.

The sponsor for today's episode is ButcherBox moving into a new year. A lot of us are thinking about eating better and eating better doesn't necessarily mean that we need to spend more time in the kitchen. And in fact, sometimes we can eat well and it can still be convenient too. ButcherBox is a meat delivery, subscription service, which curates a high quality selection of meat and sends them right to your door. All the meat is free of antibiotics and added hormones, and you can customize your box or go with one of their preset options. For me personally, it lightens my load a little bit to have access to this high quality meat that I feel good about feeding my family. Right now, you can get two pounds of salmon, absolutely free plus $20 off your first box. Just go to butcherbox.com/families, or use the promo code families at checkout that's butcherbox.com/families, or use the promo code families at checkout.

Try it out. I think you're going to like it. All right. So back to getting our kids to sleep in. Thanks for your question, Ashley, there are many things about our kids that we can't control and the time that they wake up in the morning is one of those things, but there are some circumstances in their environment that we can change and manipulate in order to help a little bit. So, first of all, I will say that it is really common for kids, especially between the ages of two and three, to go through a period where they're waking up extra early much earlier than you'd like this 5-5:30 window, even if they've been sleeping really well up until this point. Now there's many things that could be impacting it, but one of them might be the transition away from naps. Usually around the age of three kids, start to get ready to phase out nap time.

And if you have a kid that's taking a nap and sleeping at night, their bodies might start requiring less sleep. And as a result, they might start waking up earlier. So taking a look at the sleep picture as a whole, looking at how many hours they're napping, how many hours they're sleeping at night to see if you can juggle cut back on nap, time a little bit and see how that impacts the morning wake ups. That might be a place to start. We went through this with my son, right about this age. And he woke up early for probably about six months or so. And I was also pregnant at that time. And it was painful. We did get an okay to wake clock for him and for anyone that's not familiar with an okay to wait clock. That is a clock that turns on a light or changes in a way to indicate to a young child that it's okay to get up.

And that worked on some days, but some days he was just awake, wide awake and ready to get up and listening to a kid, cry in their room at 5:00 AM is not what any parent wants to wake up to. So if you have a kid around this age, that's waking up early, look at their whole sleep pattern, decide if maybe some things need juggled around a little bit. Think about using an okay to wake clock. Now, if you have an older child who has already moved out of the napping phase and they wake up earlier than you would like my first piece of advice would be for you to go to bed earlier so that you're not so grumpy about waking up early in the morning. I know that sounds a little simplistic, but we don't call this Simple Families for nothing. I'm just joking, but I actually started going to bed earlier because I find out that if I wake up a little bit before my kids, I start the day so much more peacefully.

So my son gets up at 6:15. My daughter gets up anywhere between 6:45 and 7:30. And because they go to bed early, I find that waking up early allows me to really be happy to see them in the morning, rather than wanting to roll over and throw the pillow over my head. When I see them on the mornings, when I'm extra tired and I don't wake up before my kids, usually my son gets up at 6:15 and by 6:20, he's hungry and I'm hungry and things just start to go downhill. But I know a lot of you don't want to get up earlier. And that is totally okay. That has worked for me. I will tell you that going to bed earlier, waking up earlier, it has absolutely helped our mornings be more peaceful in our house, but maybe you just straight up want your kid to sleep in.

So I'll tell you actually getting them to sleep in is tricky because we really can't manipulate the time that they wake up and their eyes open. But what we can do is we can teach them to lay in their beds quietly and enjoy that newly awoken yet. Not yet risen stage, which adults do very easily, but for some reason that seems to be hard for kids, many kids, as soon as their eyes are open, they're popping out of bed ready to start the day. So the use of an okay to wait clock in most cases is not really teaching kids to sleep in. It's teaching them to stay in bed after they've awoken. When we first started using an okay to wake clock, when my son was really young, we didn't have that much success with it, but we also weren't very strategic about it.

And we were using an older version that was really difficult to set, but now I use okay to wake clocks with both of my kids. We have the hatch baby rest lamp. And my son's lamp comes on at 6:15. And my daughter's lamp comes on at 6:45. Now a lot of people tell me that they have a clock like this, or a light like this to signify when their kids can get up, but their kid just disregards it and comes out anyways. So I want to give you a couple tips on making this happen. Now, both my kids open their eyes and actually wake up before their light comes on and they do stay in bed and lay in bed quietly. But it's not as simple as just buying one of these lights and plugging it in. And this happens well for my son.

It was kind of that simple because he's a total rule follower and you tell him, don't get out of your bed until your light comes on and it doesn't get out of your bed until your light comes on. Now, my daughter, on the other hand, that would never, ever fly with her. So we've had to work towards this slowly. And if you're just starting off with an okay to wait clock, and you don't have a total rule follower, a kid who kind of disregards this light and doesn't give a, you know, what, what time the light comes on, they want to get up when they want to get up, then try this. I highly recommend the "Hatch Rest Lamp" because it has an app that you hook up to it. So you can adjust and change the time that the light comes on really easily. So here's how we actually have gotten this to work with our little free spirit.

So the rule always stays the same. It's always consistent. You do not come out of your room until the pink light comes on every day. That's always the rule. What changes is the time that the light comes on? Generally speaking, it's set for 6:45, but I do allow a little bit of wiggle room. And sometimes I do change it because like adults, their natural sleep rhythms do change. And sometimes they haven't slept well or they they're sick. Sometimes sleep. Isn't so precise. So, occasionally I do change the time to make it easier to follow the rule, but the rule always stands. You don't get up until your light comes on. So, here's how we started with my daughter. First. I looked at the time that she was naturally waking up and when we introduced it, she was naturally waking up around six. And I really wanted her to stay in bed until 6:45.

So I plugged it in and I set it originally for six o'clock because that was the time she was naturally waking up. Therefore she would wake up and a minute or two later the light would come on. It was super easy for her to stay in bed until the light came on. It, build up her confidence and build up her understanding. And because it felt easy, it was a rule that she was okay following. So once she got into the habit of getting up with the light at her normal time, then I started inching it back. Then I set it to 6:10, 6:20, 6:30, and now we're up to 6:45. And for anyone wondering why my son gets up earlier than my daughter, it's because he and I do some quiet homeschool work from 6:15 to 6:45. And it's probably our most productive half hour of the day.

I think there are still days when she wakes up at six o'clock, but she rolls over and sees the lights not on and rolls back over. It goes to sleep a little longer, or even just lays in her bed quietly until the light comes on because she has full faith that that light is coming on. And it doesn't seem like this impossibly long, far away goal waiting for it because most young kids don't really have a sense of time. So waiting 15 minutes for the clock to turn on can feel like forever. Now, there are definitely days where I manipulate the time. So my son gets up at six 15, and sometimes he gets up really loud and starts carrying on and he wakes her up. So when this happens, when I know that he's been really loud and I can hear that she's awake, but the light's not on yet, I'll go onto the app and change the wake-up time for like three minutes from the current time.

So if he's carrying on really loudly at 6:15, and I know that she's awake, I'll move her time up from 6:45 to like 6:20, because I know that she's awake and I don't want her to have to wait a half an hour wide awake in her room because she would start to cry. She would start to protest. She would start to wander out. Remember the goal has to feel feasible to them. Now I never ever let her come out of her room unless the light is on. So if she wakes up and the light's not on yet, and she does come out, I'll say, Oh, your pink lights not on yet. Let's go back to bed and I'll walk her back in our room and I'll tuck her back in. And then I'll change the timer for about five minutes from the current time.

Because again, I know she's wide awake and asking her to stay in her room for another half an hour is a big ask when she's ready to start the day. So I do change the time, a little bit for her because I really want her to be consistent. And to know you have to stay in the room until the light is on. Occasionally when there are mornings, when she makes up earlier, I'll move the light up a little bit earlier. So the goal feels feasible to her. It doesn't feel like it's a huge long wait until the timer is up, but that's the exception. I probably only have to do that about once a month. Now that she's settled into the rhythm and she knows how to use the lamp and what the lay means. And that allows me to be consistent, that you never ever come out of your room until your lights on.

And I think it's important to have a little bit of wiggle room here because just like adults, kids sometimes do naturally wake up at different times, depending on what's gone on in the day before on the night before, or if they're sick, that sort of thing. So sometimes we will need to wiggle it and change the time a little bit. But the thing that we can keep consistent is the fact that they can't come out until the latest on. So when you introduce it and you slowly inch, the time back, little by little, you're introducing this idea of waking up and laying in your bed quietly and waiting. And both of my kids have started to do that. They no longer open their eyes and pop right out of bed and demand to get up immediately. So by changing the time, a little bit here and there, when we need to, it allows us to give them some flexibility, but still hold fast to the role.

These things have definitely worked for us and our mornings do start really peacefully, which I'm so thankful for. Let me know if you have questions or comments, you can leave those in the show notes at simplefamilies.com/episode186. And if you're interested in joining in the live workshop this month, go to simplefamilies.com/food. That's going to take place next week on January 14th, and there's only a hundred spots available. So if you're looking to lighten your load around feeding your family, join us as always thanks for tuning in and thank you for being a part of Simple Families.

Denaye Barahona

Denaye Barahona is a loving wife and mama of two. She's a therapist for moms, an author, and the host of the top-ranked Simple Families Podcast. Denaye holds a Ph.D. in Child Development and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has been featured on the likes of The Today Show, Netflix, The Wall Street Journal, Real Simple, Forbes, and numerous other media outlets.