Most parents are already used to starting the day early, but it’s painfully different when there’s a kid bouncing around at 4am while you’re trying to catch up on some much-needed shuteye.
The early birds may be out feasting on worms, but having children who rise too early can lead to lethargy throughout the day, extreme crankiness, and being even more prone to temper tantrums. We aren’t just talking about the kids here.
So what’s considered “waking up too early” then? As a rule of thumb, if your child is waking up earlier than their usual timing, not getting in at least 12 hours of sleep, and seeming cranky or tired, then you most probably have an early rising problem on your hands. Not addressing this issue not only brings chaos to the rest of the day, but can also start a vicious cycle of sleep problems that extend well beyond adolescence.
There are many factors that could be affecting your child’s sleep:
- Going to bed too early or too late
- Feeling hungry
- Overstimulation before bedtime
- Sleep regression
- Having too many naps during the day
If you’re trying to reclaim those precious hours of sleep, here are some strategies to help you fix the problem.
Figure out how much sleep your toddler actually needs
Not all children’s sleep requirements are made equal. This means that while hitting 12 hours of overnight sleep is ideal, your little one might need far less at 11 to 10 hours.
Adjust their bedtime
If you’ve figured out that your kid doesn’t need that many hours of sleep a night, start making small adjustments (we suggest 15-minute increments at a time) to your toddler’s bedtime. For example, if bedtime is at 7pm, push it back to 7:15pm, 7:15pm to 7:30pm, and so on and so forth, till you find the sweet spot.
Cut down on naps
Having lengthy naps can also affect your child’s sleep patterns. Start shifting up bubba’s naps, or if possible, transition to one less nap so he’ll be more likely to sleep well at night.
Set a wake up time
Similar to how you established a bedtime routine, let your little one know when he should wake up. For older toddlers or preschoolers, using a wake-up light alarm clock can help to signal if they should stay in bed, or when it’s okay to wake mummy and daddy up. Be firm and keep their wakeup time consistent.
Ensure that the room is sleep-friendly
Too warm, too bright, within earshot of loud noises… Not having a conducive sleep environment could be affecting your child’s sleep. Whether it’s purchasing black out curtains or installing a white-noise machine, keeping your child comfy while they snooze could greatly improve their sleeping hours.