Life in Balance: Starting the day right a challenge for many parents

An education psychologist has advice for parents who struggle with getting their kids moving in the morning.

BOISE - It's a challenge for many parents: Getting a good start on the day, and it all begins with the tough task of waking the kids up and getting them moving.

"We tried alarm clocks, we tried the shaking, kinda 'wake up please, it's time to get up,'" said Katie Chiavarone, an educational psychologist and blogger for Today Parenting.

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The mother of three let us in on her secret to getting her 6-year-old son happily out of bed.

"So I thought and I thought, and for him really spending time [together] and physical touch are so important to him and so I thought, why don't we start there and see if we can change this morning routine."

She decided that instead of of setting an alarm clock, she would set her own for five minutes, and call it "snuggle time."

"I explained it to him and his eyes light up and he was so excited and thought it was such a great idea," Chiavarone said. "So now instead of just the words 'it's time to wake up' I say 'it's time to cuddle' and that alone, it's just kind of easier for him that transition from sleep to waking up."

"He's one of those spirited, intense, emotional kids to begin with, so starting with that release of stress has really helped him get ready for school and have a good attitude for the rest of the day," added Chiavarone.

"And you know what? My morning starts off so much better too."

How you feel when you wake up really impacts how the rest of your day will go. So the idea is to make the start of the day as good as possible. And that means finding what works best for you and your child.

"A lot of times in parenting we have so many ideas of what we'll do and what we'll be like as a parent and I think part of parenting is just taking a step back and a lot of times saying 'what does my child need?' And when you can make that mind shift it takes a lot of pressure off of you as a parent."

Life in Balance is a new series from KTVB that looks at common problems many of us face in our daily lives, and simple ways to make positive changes.

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