How to Wake Up Before Your Kids Without Them Getting Up

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Waking up before kids is hard! Learn my top tips and strategies for how to wake up before your kids without them getting up too.

My mornings used to be a complete disaster.

I’d grumble as I peeled my eyes open with an energetic 4 year old at my door telling me “it’s time to get up mommy” while I hushed him out of the room as my baby kept sleeping.

He would greet me right at the bathroom door begging for breakfast and cartoons. Then continue the same request 26x along with “hurry up mommy”.

My 7 year old would then make her way out whining at me about how she doesn’t want to make breakfast. In order to avoid a fight, I’d push through and get it done.

About 5 minutes in and I’d snap at one or both of them. I didn’t even get my coffee or take my medications yet.

Oh and then my kids would follow suit and start fighting at the breakfast table because someone is breathing too hard or looking the wrong direction.

To say our days started out chaotic, would be an understatement.

Let me paint you a different picture.

It’s 5 AM, the house is quiet as a mouse and you have the entire place to yourself. You get dressed, make some coffee, and even eat a good breakfast in peace. It’s the magical time before the kids get up.

This is what it looks like for me now. And I’ll happily trade my late nights for this.

Waking up before my kids started years ago but I would always revert back after a week or two. I can happily say that this isn’t the case anymore!

It’s truly changed my mornings in ways I didn’t think were possible. I get extra time to myself, I start the day off in a calm headspace, and I’m actually ready when the chaos hits.

In this post, I’ll be going over exactly how to make it happen. No, I won’t tell you to just go to bed earlier. Instead, I’ll give you a real step-by-step plan that PLANS for kids to wake up.

If your biggest objection is that the second you decide to wake up earlier, your kids do too… well this one is for you.

Keep reading.

Understand Why You’re Doing It

I can hear you groaning at me already, but this is important. Before you even think about setting an alarm for the morning, you need to ask yourself why.

I mean… it’s going to be dark outside if you plan to get up at 5 AM.

If you don’t have a really strong reason, you’re not going to get up. Period.

Here are a few reasons why you might want to get up earlier:

  • Avoid the morning “mad mommy” syndrome. Enough said.
  • Have the space to actually make a plan for the day
  • Spend time reading, doing a puzzle, playing video games, or anything else you never have time for (or if you do, it’s miserable with kids yelling around you)
  • Get a headstart on chores and actually COOK breakfast instead of reaching for cereal because it’s what’s easy
  • Work on building a business so you can make some income from home
  • Have more emotional space to give to your family during the day

There are lots of reasons for waking up before your kids. I can list all kinds of things out. But make sure you know why YOU want to do it.

Choose Your Wake-Up Time

Next things next: you need to set a wake-up time. And not just for you. In fact, don’t even do that yet.

Here’s what I suggest:

  • Choose a time that you will allow your kids to come out of their room. Even if you think they’re too little to do that. (They’re not.)
  • Now that you have a starting point, think about how long of a morning routine you want. An hour? Two? Thirty minutes? Fifteen minutes?
  • Get yourself a grow clock (we LOVED this penguin grow clock) and set it up. They use color indicators to show when it’s time to get up. Even little tiny kids can use it! It works for quiet/naptime too.
  • If you don’t already wake up early, start with just 15 minutes before you allow kids out of their room. You can slowly add more and more time until you make your way to your ideal time.

It takes time and if there’s one thing I can suggest — don’t be tempted to jump right into it. It won’t work. Start with where you are at and work from there.

Make it as easy as possible on everyone.

Plan Your Morning

Now that you know what time you’ll be waking up and how much time you have, it’s time to think about how you’ll spend it.

It might be as simple as getting some coffee and putting real clothes on at first.

Here are some other ideas that you might want to consider:

  1. Spend time journaling to get all those early morning thoughts out of your head. I like guided journaling best but do whatever works for you!
  2. Cook a filling breakfast and eat it while it’s still hot. Because, ya know… kids.
  3. Read a good book under your favorite cozy blanket. Try to avoid screens if you can as I find paper books really give the most relaxing feeling first thing in the morning.
  4. Get your body moving through exercising, taking a walk, doing some yoga, or anything else. I honestly hate any kind of structured routine so I just plan to get chores done around the house. It sill gets my body moving and helps my brain turn on.
  5. Get some light work done. Be careful not to get into any deep focus though as this can actually derail the day when you struggle to pull yourself out of it.
  6. Do something fun. For me, this is playing Stardew Valley without the voice of backseat gamers telling me what to do LOL. For you, this might be painting, knitting, or something else. What kind of hobbies do other people have?

Oh and remember that as seasons of life change so will the things you do. Experiment with what you like to do in the morning and go from there. The only perfect morning routine is the one built specifically for you.

Communicate Ahead of Time

The next part is communicating your plans with everyone involved. This means your spouse AND your kids. You want everyone on the same page.

If your kids already know what’s happening, they’re less likely to fight so hard.

You’ll want to discuss things like:

  • Why it’s important to you AND them
  • What types of things will change going forward
  • What they’re expected to do or not do in the morning
  • Boundaries and rules regarding coming out of their room in the morning
  • What you plan to do to help support them when it’s hard

It’s so important to communicate this ahead of time. Especially with kids! You’ll want to adjust the conversation depending on ages, but set expectations early on. You can even invite them in the preparation process.

Establish Evening Prep Routines

Now, it’s time to prepare! If you don’t prepare ahead of time, you’re honestly setting yourself up for a complete disaster. It will not go well.

A few things I suggest doing the night before:

  • Prep pre-breakfast snacks, drinks, books, puzzles, and other quiet activities
  • Pick out clothes the night before so everyone can get dressed when they wake up
  • Create a calming bedtime routine so you fall asleep on time
  • Make sure to “reset” your home before bed so you don’t have to worry in the morning

Now, things will not go perfectly. But this will set you up for it to go way better than without a plan. Getting kids equipped with things for when they wake up is the most important one!

Enforce the Boundary

As much as I’d love to say that the moment you plan this out, everything will be like magic… it won’t. You’re going to struggle at first. But give it time.

You have to be willing to enforce the boundaries you set earlier.

Kids are going to test the limits and see how serious you are. They likely won’t like the idea of staying in their room until a certain time.

Just calmly walk them back and remind them of the boundary. It’s likely you’ll have to do this quite a few times every morning until it starts to stick. Eventually, they’ll just stay asleep because it’s no fun to be stuck in your room all morning.

I really want to emphasize how important it is to set boundaries and enforce them. Don’t give up and don’t rely on your child to stick to it.

Don’t get after them to go back to their room. Take their hand and let them know you’re going to help them walk back to their room.

You can do this!! I promise it’s worth it in the end.

Adjust as Needed

As I mentioned earlier, things can change with the season of life you’re in. But you also might find that your initial ideas don’t actually work and you need to adjust.

Kids will grow older and have different needs, your schedule might change, responsibilities shift, you get sick, go on vacation, or literally a thousand other possibilities.

Check in every few weeks and see how things are working for everyone. Adjust as needed.

You might need to adjust times, activities you set out, the ways you prep ahead of time, or something else.

Be willing to adjust and find what works for you!


Waking up before your kids is not easy but it’s sooooo worth it! I hope these tips help you start to get some peace back into your mornings.

Do you wake up before your kids? What have you tried?

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