Iced Marbles, Dog Kisses, and Other Creative Ways to Get Your Kid Out of Bed

When alarm clocks don’t cut it, our readers use tickle monsters, late fees, and these other unusually effective strategies to light a fire under kids who can’t wake up in the morning.

A boy is unable to wake up in the morning, a condition common to children with adhd.
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How to Wake Up Your Child

Getting a child who has ADHD up and out the door each morning is not for the faint of heart, but take comfort in knowing that you're not the only parent fighting this daily battle. ADDitude readers share some strategies they've deployed for waking their sleepy troops with tactics ranging from wacky to genius. Read on to steal their best tips and get a few laughs.

[Free Download: Routines for Morning and Night]

A dog licks the face of a child with ADHD to wake him up in the morning.
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Enlist the Family Pet

“My 9-year-old had trouble waking up, so I enlisted our family dog to help. I put peanut butter on my sleeping son’s face and have the dog lick it off — it works!” –An ADDitude reader

A girl with ADHD writes a morning checklist on a white board.
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Check List Motivation

“We posted a laminated checklist and the kids check off each item as they complete it (wake up, get dressed, brush teeth, etc.). Once the list is complete, they can have screen time until an alarm goes off indicating that it is time to walk out the door. Mornings are a breeze now!” –Fiona

[Happy Mornings Ahead]

Iced marbles are a creative way parents get kids with ADHD out of bed in the morning.
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The Marble Method

“We have placed marbles in the freezer and then under the covers with our 18-year-old with ADHD — he hops out of that bed super-fast after that!” –Lindsay

A tired boy with ADHD turns his alarm off because he hasn't had his morning medication yet.
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Pre-Med Wake-Up

“We give our 13-year-old son his ADHD medication 30 minutes before his alarm goes off. This helps him wake on his own to the alarm. Then, as a family we use to-do charts and timers to stay on task each morning. Plus, the TV is not allowed to be on before school!” –Lis

[“Morning Is My Son’s Nemesis”]

A boy with ADHD listens to headphones.
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Start the Day with Music

“I set my 9-year-old son's alarm clock to music. He is awake and singing the songs by the time I come upstairs to wake him up. The music gets him moving in the morning.” –Nanette

A girl with ADHD is asleep in bed.
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Start the Night Before

“It's corny, but I tell my kids that a good morning starts the night before. We try to pick out clothes, set the table for breakfast, and put backpacks out the night before. Getting a good night's sleep can be challenging with ADHD meds, so to help we've been using a white noise machine and scented oil on their feet to help them settle down for bed.” –An ADDitude reader

A boy with ADHD shoots a squirt gun.
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A Surprise Shower

“After two whacks of the snooze button, out comes the squirt gun!” –David

Girl with ADHD sleeping with alarm clock at bedside table
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Try Strategic Alarm Placement

“I put my daughter's alarm clock on the other side of the room, far from her bed. This forces her to get up to turn it off.” – An ADDitude reader

A mother wakes up her child with ADHD.
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Use the Magic Touch

“My son needs physical contact to wake up. I start out by touching his arm and hugging him on the way out of bed. Once he is awake, I remind him of what he needs to do, one thing at a time, as the morning progresses.” –An ADDitude reader

A mother tickles her son with ADHD to wake him up.
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Deploy the Tickle Monster

“I sing and clang around in the kitchen until my boys wake up. If that doesn't work, then the tickle monster jumps into bed with them! That always gets them up and giggling.” –Stacey

A woman opens the curtains to wake up her child with ADHD.
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Try Light and Light Touch

“Opening the blinds, then rubbing my son’s back seems to work most days — especially if he got enough exercise and went to bed at a good time the night before.” –Julie

A cat wakes up a child with ADHD.
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Felines and Late Fees

“I put the cat under my son's covers and let her wake him up. He is also fined $1 if he comes to breakfast late!” –An ADDitude Reader

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