6 Tips For Sleep Training & Help Your Early Riser Sleep In
Do you have a baby or toddler that wakes up early in the morning? A reasonable wake up time for a child is anywhere from 5:30-7:00am, but some children are up before that time wide awake and ready to play. Here are 6 tips to help your child learn to sleep in later in the morning so that you can all catch some extra ZZZ’s.
1. Keep the Room Dark
If you have a little rooster that rises with the morning sun, keep the room nice and dark by hanging up room darkening blinds. It also helps to use a soft white-noise machine or a humidifier to drown out any early morning street noise. By making sure it’s dark and quiet during those early morning hours, you may be able to get an extra hour or more of sleep. These are some of my favorite tips for sleep training baby.
2. Teach Them Self-Soothing Skills
Many children wake in the night or in the early morning and don’t know how to go back to sleep without some assistance. The most important sleep technique I have is to teach the child how to sooth themselves back to sleep. Even if they are good at putting themselves back to sleep during the night, they still might need to be ‘trained’ in the morning hours to help their bodies learn when it’s appropriate to wake up for the day.
3. Use an Alarm Clock
Older toddlers who are already in a bed might need some guidance as to when it’s acceptable to get up. This is ‘toddler sleep training’. To keep your child from waking you up early, use a timed light or a child alarm clock that changes colour when it’s time to get up. Make sure to praise your child every time they stay in bed until their appropriate wake up time.
4. Extend Their Naps
One of the main reasons children wake early is because they are overtired. Similarly the child may have trouble staying asleep at night with short naps. You can help get your little one some extra sleep by making sure they are napping long enough. Provide a cool, dark and quiet napping environment to encourage them to sleep a little longer during the day.
5. Earlier bedtime
Many parents are afraid that if they put their child to bed earlier, they will wake up earlier, but that is often not the case. It’s counter-intuitive, but often a child will sleep in later if they go to bed earlier. Try putting your child to bed earlier by 20 minutes and leave it at that time for 4 nights. If there is some improvement to their wake-up time in the morning, move their bedtime earlier by another 15 to 20 minutes. Continue this strategy until the ideal wake up time is reached. You are basically teaching the child how to go to sleep earlier.
6. Later bedtime
Once you have determined that your child is getting enough sleep, you can then try moving bedtime later by 20 minutes. Leave it at this new time for 4 days to see if there is any improvement to their morning wake up time. Continue moving it later by 15 to 20 minutes every 4 days until they wake up at a good time.
You will know that your child is getting enough sleep by their mood towards the end of the day. If they are cranky and easily frustrated, they could use more sleep.
If your child has had this early morning wake habit for a while, it might take just as long to break the habit. Remember to be patient as it may take some trial and error to find the ideal bedtime.
Enjoy Those Extra zzZZz’s
Jenn Kelner is a mother of three children, including twins, and a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant at BabyZzz. Just as every family is unique, Jenn supports many different sleep methods and works directly with families to design a solution that will help them become well-rested, happy families.