This is one of the most frequent questions I get asked from parents, their little ones are early risers, waking up too early and the whole family are exhausted by this.
So what can you do if your baby or toddler is an early riser!
I have 5 tips to help you with this:
1: Invest in a Blackout Blind
Now that the clocks have sprung forwards the mornings are going to be a lot lighter, so your little ones bedroom maybe too light! You want it to be as dark as possible, so it is worth investing in a blackout blind!
2: Delay responding to baby's awakening
How you respond to your little one when they are early risers? Without realising it, you could be making waking up early something to look forward to!
Maybe the only way you can try and get baby back to sleep is to feed them. This offers them an incentive to wake. Perhaps think of it as their early morning treat!
So my suggestion is to delay responding to baby's awakening, so don't rush into their bedroom. Give it 5 to 10mins before going in, as you want to treat anything before 6am as you would for a night wake up!
At this time in the morning it is a lot trickier to resettle a baby, as they may have had a good period of sleep and actually feel ready to start their day! Try to resettle your little one in their cots, encouraging them to go back to sleep. So don't give them attention, lay them down in their cot and give them their key sleep phrase e.g. 'Its sleepy time now, night, night!, shush and pat until settled. If this just stimulates your little one, calmly re-settle them, walk out of their room, give them a few minutes, go back in and resettle. Keep doing this until they settle!
If their early waking is around 5am give it 45mins to to try and resettle to sleep. If they do not go back to sleep then I would draw a line under it and start their day!
3: Daytime naps are too early
When is their first nap? This may be too soon after their wake-up and is acting like an extension of their night! Also they may be having a long morning nap which can affect their afternoon sleep and bedtime! I hear from many parents that if their little one is waking at 5ish, then they are back to sleep around 7am for a morning sleep. This isn't preventing them being early risers!
4: Early to Bed
What time do you put them to bed? Too late? They could be overtired and their bedtime needs to be moved forward. This is often the case that I see ad simply starting the bedtime routine earlier can help prevent early risers!
5: Rousing baby!
So if you have tried everything to resettle your little one and they are still early risers at the same time everyday, this means waking consistently at say 5am, then you can try to lightly rouse baby before they actually wake up!
You would need to set your alarm for 10mins before their wake up time and go and gently rouse your baby. Do not fully wake them (this can be the tricky part). I recommend you gently stroke baby's face, calmly saying their name then quietly leave their room. The idea that baby will connect their next sleep cycle and hopefully then wakes up an hour or so later! Perfect!
If done correctly this can work well if (and only if) your baby's early rising time is the same time each morning! You must be constant with this technique to ensure success, it can take up to 7 nights!
If you have further questions, or want to chat to me about your little ones sleep issues then do get in touch. I'm here to provide help and support.
As a baby sleep consultant I can help you in improving your baby sleep training.