People who know us well, know that our daughter, Mia, has been an early riser for most of her 6 year old life. She has been known to wake up before dawn, pad into our room, and poke me on the face. I am then supposed to get up and entertain her with breakfast and companionship despite being groggy. She is a morning person---ready to go the minute she gets up. There is no slow wake for those around her. Every morning the energy in our house reaches maximum frenetic speed and usually crescendos with someone in tears.
So, on a whim "Santa" brought her a digital alarm clock. This may have been the whim that saves my life. After plugging it in and getting it all set, we told Mia at bedtime that she was not to come out of her room until the clock hit 7am. We told her she could read or play if she woke up earlier, but she was not to come downstairs or in our room. The next morning at 7:01, I heard her door open. I had already had a cup of tea, some quiet time, and the babies were beginning to stir in their room. It made the rest of the morning go so much smoother and I was a lot calmer and patient with all three kids.
Now, a few weeks later it's still working*. In fact, there are some weekend mornings that we don't see her until nearly 7:30am. It may have been the most brilliant (albeit obvious) parenting decision I've ever made.
*We did adjust the time Mon.-Fri. because of school to 6:30am.