Raising Positive Kids – Some Words of Wisdom from Mr. Zig Ziglar

Note from Mark Timm, CEO Ziglar Family:  This week, I thought I’d share with you some insight directly from Mr. Zig Ziglar himself.  The following post comes from Mr. Ziglar’s timeless program “Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World.”  Now that families are several weeks into the regular daily back-to-school flow, it seemed like a good time to share some words of wisdom on the topic of morning and evening routines.  I know you’ll enjoy what Mr. Ziglar has to say!


One of the things we can do to raise positive kids is to get our kids down to sleep and get them up each morning in a more pleasant and loving manner.

One of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever been privileged to watch is when my Redhead or my oldest daughter go in to awaken our newest grandbaby.  They will reach down and pick her up, hold her so very close, and then begin to lovingly and gently tend to her and talk to her as she begins to coo, smile and play back.

What a magnificent way to bring that baby into the world of awake!  Now, what I’m wondering is why do not we, as parents, continue to encourage our children to wake up pleasantly?  And why do we not continue to encourage them to go to bed pleasantly?

Where is the stop-off point when we start yelling, “Time to go to bed!”?  Where is the turning point when we shout, “Okay, kids!  Time to get up!  Gotta get at it!”

Since the last thing that goes into our mind at night is the thing we are most likely to vividly remember, and since the greeting and the dawning of the day will make such a big difference to how  that day goes, I wonder why we don’t simply continue the gentler behaviors we use with our babies and toddlers all of their life?

I so beautifully remember my little girls and my son at night, how much fun we used to have, me putting them to bed on the nights I was home — which, early on was unfortunately very rare — and then getting them up in the morning.

I used to tell funny, made-up bedtime stories, and the kids today – all grown with children and grandchildren of their own — still talk about Skeeter, Scatter, and Scooter, the three scared skeeters from Schenectady that I used to tell them about every night when I was putting them to bed.

When we’d awaken them in the morning, my wife and I, regardless of which one it was, we used to awaken them by hugging and kissing them, and telling them a little story about doing something that was entertaining or funny.

But the key was to be always waking them up gently.

Why does it stop?

Now I don’t know what your experience has been with putting your child to bed at night, but some children resist going to bed as if it were going to be a horrible confinement in solitary prison.  And then, during the next 8 – 10 hours, while they sleep, they form some kind of an unbreakable attachment to that bed, and to try to separate them from it the next morning is virtually impossible!.

And so it seems that you have more conflict about going to bed and getting up than almost anything else!

But we reached what some of you might consider a compromise agreement.

We learned that when we wanted the kids to go to bed, if it was 9:00 or 9:30, twenty minutes before bedtime we would simply say, “Ok kids, now I know you’ve got three telephone calls to make, you need two drinks of water, three trips to the bathroom, you need to check twice to make certain the cat’s put out and four times to make certain that everything else is all set.  So you’ve got twenty minutes to do it all, because in twenty minutes, we’re going to go to bed.”

And it’s amazing how much more effective that is.

It was a similar routine in the mornings. We learned to knock on our children’s doors as they got older, and we simply would say, “Ok, kids, you’ve got to be up in 10 minutes”.  Now, in ten minutes, it was a very simple thing to walk back to the door and knock on it.  If they don’t answer, and they’re still asleep, you cautiously open the door and walk in. This is not the time for displaying your temper. Talk to them for a minute or two, welcoming and awakening them in a pleasant manner.

Now, you might not feel included to do something like this, but I believe it’s time well invested.  Any time you have an interchange with your child that’s pleasant and instructive, I believe it’s time well invested.

I believe this routine will make a difference in your child in the fact that he or she is going to have a much more pleasant day.

What do you think of Mr. Ziglar’s advice? Do you have a morning and bedtime routine that works well with your family?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below! 

P.S.:  If you’d like to check-out the full Raising Positive Kids program, you can find the book here and the mp3 download here or CDs here



  1. Michelle Brown September 30, 2017 at 6:13 pm - Reply

    I think this is great advice! I myself wake my daughters with my terrible singing…sometimes a silly song and sometimes a hymn.
    Most people f the time the effectively get themselves up and out of bed either alarm clocks
    Even my youngest wanted her own alarm clock in kindergarten and has always taken pride in using it….

  2. Mark Malfara September 30, 2017 at 8:47 pm - Reply

    awesome post

  3. Carmel October 1, 2017 at 6:01 am - Reply

    I have always read stories with and sung (very badly) to my children as a bedtime routine. My son is now 12 and I have been wondering when I should stop, but after reading this I think I will just keep going until he asks me to!

  4. Xhavid October 1, 2017 at 3:43 pm - Reply

    Thank you very much Ladies& Gentleman,
    I must say that your advices are wonderful and very useful,for children,especially for my grand children.
    I dept you so much.
    God bless you,you family and Great American people.
    Your faithfully
    Dr. Xhavid Duraku,pediatrics.

  5. Martha S Healey October 1, 2017 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    Love them awake! Always able to have a great start to the day!

  6. Tricia Prues, Post-Pregnancy Coach October 2, 2017 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    “Since the last thing that goes into our mind at night is the thing we are most likely to vividly remember, and since the greeting and the dawning of the day will make such a big difference to how that day goes, I wonder why we don’t simply continue the gentler behaviors we use with our babies and toddlers all of their life?”

    How true!

    I love this! Thanks so much for sharing. I’ve never thought that much about how I’m waking my daughter in the morning. I am gentle with her, but that’s after I turn a bright light on in her room! I’ll definitely remember this as my kiddos get older.

  7. Barb October 2, 2017 at 8:57 pm - Reply

    We always sang together. It became a favorite. We learned to sing 3 part harmonies and began to help other little ones enjoy going to bed with our serenade time.

  8. Natalia October 4, 2017 at 7:59 am - Reply

    What if it’s a 16 year old boy who needs to be at weightlifting with thefootball team by 7am and he starts yelling at his dad when he tries waking him up because he refuses to use an alarm clock? And..My son is no longer allowed his phone in his room at night, as that was a mistake I soon found out.. he’s the one who is so difficult to parent because he doesn’t want to be parented anymore!

    • Jen October 4, 2017 at 10:36 am - Reply

      Hi Natalia! This is just my opinion, so take it for what it’s worth — by age 16, if he doesn’t want to set an alarm clock (which doesn’t have to be his phone!) and get up to get to weightlifting on time, then it seems the natural consequences for not being there would follow (from the coach). You and your husband can refuse to engage in the drama and “yelling” — maintain your pleasant and calm demeanor, wish him a good morning when he does finally get up and get going, and when he gets angry, etc., you hold the line and don’t engage. I’d love to recommend a book called Raising Accountable Kids, by John G. Miller — it will give you some more tips and suggestions along this line. (He did a guest blog post for us not too long ago… you can check it out by clicking here.)

  9. […] ago I shared a "guest post" from Mr. Zig Ziglar.  I received such positive feedback from the post (which you can read here) that I thought I'd re-visit the Ziglar archive and share some more of his timeless wisdom with […]

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