Early To Rise… But How Early?

People following my posts on Parentous are going to think I am obsessed with S’s sleep after reading this. After all, my last post was also about sleep, or the lack of it. What I am going to talk about today also revolves around the same theme, the only difference being, the focus is now shifted to mornings.

Picture this. The alarm goes off at 5.30 am. I drag myself out of the bed and after freshening up, start cooking breakfast by 6. All the while, my eyes keep roving over to the clock, keeping a check on time. As soon as it strikes 6.50, I head to the bedroom, hopefully having finished the breakfast by then and leaving the rest of the cooking for later.

Now starts the waking up process. Cajoling, cuddling, pleading, making up stories, sometimes even bribing, all techniques are employed, while a prayer constantly buzzes at the back of the mind, “God hope he goes to school without any major tantrums.” For you can never know which casual mention, or sight of a toy, or memory from a previous day, will trigger a wail and protest of “No!!!! I don’t want to go to school.”

If waking up is a process in itself, nowadays bathing is becoming another ordeal. S resists with so much force when I take off his clothes that sometimes I can do nothing but give in. Thankfully, all the protests rage till the first mug of water is splashed on his face, after which, he kind of gives in. For me, that conjures up the image of the sacrificial goat on which turmeric water is splashed to stun it before bringing down the axe. Poor S!

It is only after all the hullabaloo, when we go downstairs and the van comes and takes him away, that I heave a sigh of relief. Hurray! Mission Accomplished! Till the next day when the whole cycle starts again.

My fellow parents have off late been advising me to start looking for a proper school for him for admission to KG, for it supposedly gets more difficult to get children admitted in big schools in UKG or 1st Std. However, what deters me from actively pursuing these big schools is that most of them start by 8 or 8.30 in the morning, some even earlier. Meaning, children have to get into the van by 7, and so have to be up by 5.30 or 6. I see my neighbourhood children leaving for school at 6.45 and wonder what toll such early hours are taking on those young bodies and minds. Many of them do not even have the time for breakfast, for it is simply too early to eat anything. And then they have their first meal only around 10, so they go hungry the whole morning.

There were reports in the past week in the Pune edition of Indian Express of young children dropping unconscious in school all of a sudden. A couple even died before they could be seen by a doctor. Health experts and parents have attributed this to the early morning routine that children are subjected to nowadays. Lack of sleep and lack of breakfast resulting in lack of energy, ultimately ending up with fatal consequences. The news really sent a shiver down my spine, and I pictured myself having to put S through this routine the next year or the year after next. When waking him up now wrenches my heart, if it has to be still earlier…, I really wonder if I have to put him through all that. My inclination now has therefore turned towards schools that follow a ‘day routine’. Start at 9 and end at 3 (or around that time).

Timing and breakfast were never a concern when we were growing up. My school used to start at 9 and I would be fed a hearty breakfast before being packed off to the school. Then lunch at 12 and coming back home for tea and snacks at 4. True, life seemed quite simpler back then. Now though, things are very different. I really hope I am able to find a school that does not have timings that will play havoc with my kid’s health.

So what are your views on these early starting schools?

Yamini is a software professional turned work-at-home-mom. Amidst her domestic responsibilities and a very demanding 2.5 year old son, she snatches time to write academic papers, freelance content, fiction and poetry. Her stories and poetry have been published in various online literary magazines and anthologies by Penguin Books and Cyberwit Publications. Yamini voices her thoughts now and then at http://myexpressionsandme.blogspot.in/. She can be reached at http://www.facebook.com/YaminiVijendranAuthor.

  • Reema Sahay

    Yamini, the only solution in my personal opinion is wrapping up the day early. My child is a little over 2 and I feel like the day is over at 8 pm. I resist all plans of going out around that time. If I am forced, I insist on finishing the dinner at home and then go for a drive. So, our son cane doze off if he wants on time. Theoretically, getting up early is a good habit if the kids can imbibe it. My school used to be at 7 am but it was at 5-10 minutes walk. In big cities, kids have to commute for a lot of time. But when I look at other kids in my society, I personally feel the school which starts and wraps up earlier, gives the kids time to pursue other things during the day. Of course, they will have to go to sleep very early. But I feel in the long run, it will be a better habit worth sticking to.

  • Ah reminded me of all the extra 5 minutes I pleaded to my mom every single school day of my life. We have now same struggle with our kids…but we ensure their bedroom lights are off latest by 9:30 pm, to give them a good nights sleep. This Pune thing you mention is very disturbing.

  • स्वाति जैन

    🙂 i know waking up kids early is tough…but i noticed my recently turned 4 son quickly adapted to changes…his playschool van used to come at 9:30 and how in nursery he leaves by 8…but he is good to go…
    of course…coaxing cajoling never ends…and making them finish their breakfast n all…but they adapt…take my word…:)