Early morning wake ups can be the worst! When we’re sleeping our best at 4 or 5am, our kids are secretly plotting their revenge for that lollipop we wouldn’t let him have yesterday. Ok, well maybe they’re not actually plotting, but it sure does feel like it! Why else would they insist on waking up at that ridiculous hour every day?
For many parents of little ones, this time of night is when a final feeding is happening. We feed them, and they will usually go back to sleep for another few hours, which means YOU get to go back to sleep too! However, for other parents, this means that while baby gets to go back to sleep, YOU do not because you have to get up for work, get your other children up and ready for school, or you just can’t fall back asleep. And some kids just decide that 5am is the new 7am and they’re ready to be up for the day. It stinks. So how can you get your child to stop waking up then?
First, you want to take a good look at when your child is going to bed. If they’re going to bed too late, then they’re likely going to be up nice and early the next morning. I know it makes zero sense, but it’s true! Earlier bedtimes are always best, but they’re especially great when you’re talking about getting your child to sleep longer in the morning. Of course, you’ll still need to take into account how much sleep your child is getting in a 24hr period. They’re only going to sleep so much in a day/night, so you can’t put them to bed at 5pm and expect them to get up at 7am. Nope, not going to happen. But, depending on their age, you could put them to bed at 7pm and expect them to sleep close to 7am. And you can’t let them nap the day away and expect them to sleep 12hrs at night too. There’s got to be balance! You can check out my blog “How Much Sleep Do We Need” to see what the norm is for your child.
Secondly, make sure that your child’s room is super dark. Most parents will say, “yes, it’s dark enough”, only to find out later no, it’s not. Next time your child is up at 4:30am, go into his room and look around to see what he sees. Does he see a fully blacked out room or is there some brightness or light coming in through the window or around the windowsill? It might be dark out now at that hour because it’s winter, but soon it will be spring which means it will be brighter earlier. Your child doesn’t need to be old enough to tell time, in order for him to know what time it is. That light coming through the window says it all. Sun? Ok, time to get up! The same goes for napping. If your child is taking short naps, darkening their room could be the answer you need. I have some suggestions of room darkening blinds I like listed below.
Remember, an early morning wake up is really just a night waking. You’ve got to get your child to go back to sleep at 5am if you ever want him to sleep until at least 6am. Night wakings are tough, I know. And even if you have just this one night waking, it might still be super tough to sleep train through it (yes, it’s sleep training if you’re trying to break this habit). There is a lot more I have to say about this topic, so if you’re struggling with early morning wake ups and would like to learn more, I encourage you to check out my Sleep School Courses or my VIP Gold or Platinum membership packages, which has lots of audio and document files to help you with topics such as this. I have an in-depth report about early morning wake ups that you’ll definitely want to check out! And with either of these avenues, you’ll get all this and access to a private Facebook page so that you can ask any follow up questions you might have in getting your kiddo skipping that early morning wake up and sleeping straight through the night!
If you’re dealing with early morning wake ups right now, I’d love to hear what you’re doing to resolve them and what the hardest part is. Just comment below or you can join me over in the Sleeptastic Solutions – Children Facebook page and/or the Gentle Parenting Solutions Facebook group! And of course you can always set up a free 15min call with me if you’d like some extra one-on-one help getting this done! Sleep well!
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