Does the Early Bird Really Get the Worm?
We’ve all heard the saying before but when the early bird refers to your child waking up at 5 AM or worse yet, even earlier, the only thought running through your mind is how long the day will be. So what is a parent to do with a child that wakes up with the springtime birds and the early rising sun? Here are my top tips for handing that early morning wake-up!
- Keep your child’s bedroom dark during sleep times. Darkness increases the production of melatonin, that nice sleepy hormone. Do whatever it takes to make it completely dark so that no sunlight can creep in – black out blinds, room darkening shades, hanging blankets, etc. so that it is as dark in your child’s bedroom in the morning as it is in the middle of the night.
- Use a clock. This is an extremely helpful tool for toddlers and older children. You can use a digital clock and teach them about “magic 7”. Do this by covering up the minutes on the clock and show your child lots of pictures of the number 7 so that he will know when morning time is, and when it is appropriate to wake you up for the day. Many companies also make clocks for children so that it will change to a different colour when it is morning, or show stars at night time and a sun in the morning. You can purchase one from the Grobag Company – http://www.gro-store.com/gro-clock.html.
- Put your child to sleep earlier. I know that this likely sounds crazy to you but it’s true! Early morning wake-ups often happen because your child is overtired. When he goes to bed overtired he will then have a more difficult time falling asleep, which leads to more disruptive sleep patterns during the night, causing him to wake more frequently, and then yes – waking up early! Try putting your little one to bed 15 – 30 minutes earlier if he is waking early in the morning.
Make sure to implement these tips to help your child sleep until a reasonable morning time (I like 7:00 a.m.!). Who knows, he may even surprise you and “sleep-in”.
To answer my question about the early bird, he can have the worm so that we can have our much needed and well deserved sleep!
Remember, your child needs 11-13 hours of sleep each and every night and parents need 7-9 hours. If you have a child waking frequently in the night and you are both missing out on sleep, contact me at [email protected] or call 613-266-6115 for a free 15-minute call to find out how I can help! Sleep well!