Is your toddler getting up at the crack of dawn? If so, you are not alone. It is very common for toddlers to wake up early, especially once they are having a lot of consolidated sleep. This is one of the biggest frustrations from parents who are exhausted with starting the day at 5am, even on the weekends! Getting through early morning wake ups takes time and patience, but with consistency it can be done. Here are my tops tips for stopping early mornings:
- A dark room: This is crucial. Even the smallest sliver of light can start to illuminate a room in the early morning. Instead of stirring and rolling over to go back to sleep, a child will become fully awake if there is light in the room.
- White noise: Just like light, noise in the early morning can wake your child. In the middle of the night, you may find that nothing could wake your child, but in the early morning when the body is getting ready to wake up, noises can easily disrupt your child’s sleep. Using white noise can buffer sound from a busy street or a parent who may need to wake early to go to work. Instead of everyone tiptoeing around, white noise will block out those extra sounds.
- Take a look at your child’s schedule: Early mornings are often the result of a child being overtired. Often bringing bedtime down by even 30 minutes can really help. Although it’s common to think that allowing your child to stay up late will make them sleep in, it’s almost always the opposite! Depending on nap schedules, usually a bedtime between 7-7:30 is best.
- Don’t make waking up too much fun: When your little one wakes up at 5:00am, what is the first thing you do? If you are doing things like feeding immediately after taking them from the crib/bed, turning on the tv or even having a snuggle in your bed, you are likely reinforcing those early wake ups. If your little one is immediately given something they really want, there is no reason to try and fall back asleep. If you have a baby, try delaying the first feed by a few minutes by starting with a diaper change or a walk around the room. For toddlers, start with breakfast or something less reinforcing than things like TV, warm milk or jumping into your bed.
- Sticking with a wake up time: Pick a time that you think is reasonable for your child to wake up and then ensure they stay in their crib or bed until that time. This could mean walking them back to their bed or going in and laying them down in the crib several times. It is a lot of hard work, especially when you are tired, but if your child is allowed to start the day at 5:00 am, they definitely will! To help your child stay in bed you can use a clock that changes colour when it’s time to wake up or simply use a digital clock with the minutes taped over.
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