Need help dealing with morning and bedtime routines

I would like advice on dealing with my 7 year old’s difficulty with morning and bedtime routines. I try to give her 11 hours of sleep but in the morning, I still have to wake her and she’s irritable, defiant (the talking back and rude comments have escalated over the summer) and/or excruciatingly slow about doing stuff. Same thing for the evening routines but it’s harder as I’m tired at the end of the workday and feel the urgency of getting her into bed to get enough zzs. I start out being patient, empathetic, and able to use humor but then it gets to really be time to move on and I lose my temper. I try behavioral reward charts but she is not consistently motivated even though she picks the rewards. The latest thing I’ve tried is removing all of her books from the bedroom so she can’t stay up late reading. I feel locked into an unsuccessful cycle and frustrated that she is not doing tasks that she used to do with a smile earlier this year. Do other parents struggle with these issues? Any recommendations would be appreciated! 

Parent Replies

New responses are no longer being accepted.

One thing we did after epic tantrums and difficulties in doing the things that needed being done was to sit down with our (almost) 7 year old daughter and ask her to help us think about ways to make the mornings go more easily. She wanted to read more and didn't like being rushed. I asked her to write a schedule if she could do it anyway she wanted. We came up (together, by setting some limits) with intervals of reading between accomplishing tasks. She wrote out the schedule herself. That has worked historically, though now we seem to be regressing. She's very unwilling to stop reading and also is completely unresponsive when she is reading. Yay, but also a pain. I did find that engaging her on finding the solution has helped some, but it doesn't seem to be a fully integrated solution. We started giving her melatonin (for brief intervals) to help reset her sleepy onset, which also helped, but I'm not a proponent of giving it to her regularly since talking with my (personal) endocrinologist. I know most people say there's no long term risks, but also not sure we have the data one way or another. In my daughter's case, I think the refusal to go to sleep has more to do with eagerness to keep reading than physiological not-tiredness. 

After we read to her at bedtime, she gets 5 minutes after to read to herself to help her get sleepy. That mostly works....again your mileage may vary.