The Magical Lamp
Paxton has been waking up early. Too early -- and he's starting to drop his afternoon nap most days, which means he wants to wander around all afternoon while we are trying to work.
When Ayla was his age, she would quietly go downstairs when she woke up in the morning, get a bowl of cereal and sippy cup out of the refrigerator and quietly (and safely) entertain herself until we decided to wake up.
Paxton, however, is a more social kiddo and gets lonely quickly. So he shows up in our bedroom (on our bed), heads to Ayla's room to wake her up, or just gets into unsupervised trouble. Plus, he takes after me...he sounds like an elephant walking through the house. (Ben is a great tip-toer, and Ayla takes after him. I tend to make more noise the quieter I try to be.)
We tried having Paxton stay in his room until "there was a 7" on the clock and made him little index cards with drawings of what that looked like...but he would come and tell us about every 7 he saw (and sometimes when he DIDN'T see a 7). Same thing during rest time - the time cards weren't working. Chalk it up to another trick that always worked for Ayla...but utterly failed on Paxton.
So we took his alarm clock out of his room.
Enter our next effort - The Magical Lamp.
We put a little side-table lamp on a timer on top of the tall shelf in his bedroom (so he couldn't mess with it). It's set to come on every day at 6:30am and again at about 2:45pm (after rest time).
The rule is -- If your magical lamp is OFF, you stay in your room. If your magical lamp is ON, you can come out, because it's morning time or because rest time is over.
Genious right? Well, the first two days we tried it, he slept in and the light woke him up. Bust.
Then he would come out often to tell us "My magical lamp isn't on yet." Double Bust.
But...we've stuck with it for a few weeks now and it's going a little better -- at least we have some leverage to work with. For instance, if he comes out of his room too early, we ask, "Is your Magical Lamp on?" If the answer is no, he goes back to his room. When it does come on, he comes running out to tell us, and is very excited about it (as well as completely mistified about how it knows to come on!)
Just one of the many trial-and-error efforts of parenting two kids that are SO different from one another!