It’s happened to every parent of a toddler that can get out of bed by themselves. You awake with a fright at two beady little eyes staring at you at an ungodly hour. Once your soul returns to your body and you remember you can speak, you ask your child why they’re up so early. After begging them to crawl into bed with you so you can go back to sleep, you tell yourself you’ll figure out how to get them to sleep in later tomorrow.
Whether or not that situation makes you laugh or cry, you can relate to it. If you find your baby waking up early is turning you into a zombie, we’re here to give you six things to try before you beg the pediatrician for help.
For the bedroom
We all have times when we can’t fall asleep or have been woken up before our alarm calls us back to reality. To help your little one stay asleep until you are ready, make sure you check their room. Are there curtains over the windows? Blackout curtains are one of the best inventions if you have kids. Imagine being a tiny nugget and having the sun blazing in your eye. You’d get up too.
The temperature is also important. Whether you are socks off or on while sleeping kind of person, you know you could never sleep the other way. A baby or small child needs a bit of help making sure their room and body are at the right temperature. If your child is too hot, they could wake up earlier
If your child wakes up to the neighbor leaving for work every morning, try adding some white noise so they won’t be so easily startled. Turning the fan on or getting a noise machine are great ways to make sure that car door or barking dog won’t disturb your baby.
Naptime has a significant impact on bedtime, which can affect when your child is getting up. If you let your child take too long of a nap before bed, that can lead to them just going to bed early. Then they’ll wake up super early the next day.
You might try to ditch naptime altogether. You think if you skip the nap they’ll be extra tired and go to bed on time. But this only results in your child falling asleep at the dinner table with their face in their food and getting up for the day three hours before you want them to.
You’ve stayed on your phone way too late before bed and felt nothing but regret the next morning. Pediatric Sleep Specialist, Doctor Craig A. Canapari advises, “children should stay away from TVs, computers, video games, and smartphones 30 to 60 minutes before bed. And, none of these devices should be allowed in their rooms while they sleep.”
If your child is a visual learner, they make these adorable light clocks that change color when the alarm goes off. You can tell your child they can’t get up until the specific color pops up on the clock and then they can come to get you.
This can also cut down on any negative feelings your child might have about waking up early. According to Stanford Children’s Health, “keep it positive. Don’t punish your kids for getting up. It might be frustrating as a parent to keep walking them back to bed, but you don’t want to create negative associations with being in bed.”
We know when that sweet little voice asks for their cup that it’s hard to resist. But giving your tot food or a drink before bed can lead to full bladders that wake them up early. If you have a potty training toddler, always take them to the bathroom right before you put them to bed.
It might seem like a great thing when your toddler falls asleep right after dinner and you can have the evening to yourself. But you’ll pay for it when they are ready to go at five in the morning.
On the other hand, you might try to keep them up late hoping they will sleep in. We’ve tried with every kid, and it never worked. Overtired kids wake up earlier. Toddlers sleep around twelve hours a night, so shift bedtime to when you want your child to wake up.
We all thrive with a routine in place. Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital Pediatrician Rachel Dawkins states that “establishing a consistent bedtime routine is important. The routine should ideally start at the same time every night.” If your child never knows when bedtime is, it can be hard for them to know when they can get up.
Once a solid routine is agreed upon by all adults in the house, make sure it is stuck to. No matter who is the one putting the child to bed, it should be followed. This will help your little one’s internal clock start to develop and keep them from waking up at all hours of the night and morning.
You’ll need some patience and time to see if one of these tips works for your child. Every little one is different and some of these might work for one child and not the next. We want nothing more than for everyone to get a good night’s sleep and for you to start the day at the time you want. Go through our list of six tricks to try when your tiny clone is making those mornings start way too early.
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