Early rising can be frustrating, even when your little one is sleeping well during the night if they're up for the day by 5am, it's a rough ride. But often early rising is caused by things that you can adapt and help give you a little bit longer in bed in the mornings.
Babies and young children are often morning larks, and that is something we learn to accept. However, if you little one is persistently waking before 6am, this is considered early rising and usually there is something that is causing them.
Is your child's room totally dark? Check they have a blackout blind - I love the Tommy Tippee suction blind which blocks out almost every bit of light - this can rule out the morning sun rise waking them. If their bedroom is cold come 4am, this could also be causing them to wake. Check they're dressed appropriately for the climate in their room and keep an eye on the temperature when they wake and consider if they could be cold.
Is there any external factor affecting their environment that could be causing it/ If someone's leaving for work early and disturbing them, is the heating coming on early in the morning and making noise they can hear? White noise can help mask these noises, but be mindful of the maximum level the white noise should be at for young children.
2. DAY TIME / NIGHT TIME SLEEP BALANCE
If your little one is having a lot of sleep in the day, this can mean that these early rises are because they've had enough sleep for the night. Try looking at the length and time of their day time naps - a nap too early in the morning can consolidate these early wakes and they see it as an extension of their night time sleep.
Alternatively, if they are not having enough sleep during the day time, this can cause the cycle of over tiredness, One of the side effects of this can be early wakes, so again, review their day time sleep and nap patterns.
Remember day time naps are individual to your child, 'average' sleep advice may not work for your child, so don't be ruled by generic plans or wake window advice. Look at the sleep your own child is having, and whether this could be adjusted to help them sleep longer in the morning. Have a read of my 'What is average anyway?https://www.goodnightsleeptherapist.com/post/what-is-average-anyway blog for more information about why generic plans and advice may not work for your child.
3. BED TIME
What time are they going to bed?If bed time I s too early, it may be that they've had their fill of sleep and are waking refreshed. Not all children need or will achieve 12 hours night sleep, so find what works for your little one.
On the other hand, if you're pushing bed time back too late to try and combat early rises but the issues was over tiredness, this could be contributing to the feeling over over tiredness and therefore the early rises. If you think over tiredness is the problem, earlier bed times can be a great short term way to try to combat this.
Is your little one waking early and is ready for breakfast? Depending on their age, consider a small bed time snack or top up night feed to help see them through until morning. Bed time snacks for older children can be a milky drink, a small oat cake with nut butter or a piece of toast. Choose something easy to digest and low in sugar so it doesn't disrupt their stomachs.
If they've been waking early for a prolonged period, it may now have become a habit if you always get them up for the day. Try resettling them and using the advice above consistently for a few days. If they are toddler age or over, consider teaching them to tell the time so they can learn to recognise when it is time to get up and when it is time to go back to sleep. You can buy clocks which change colour when it's time to get up, however, the light emitted from these clocks when it is 'sleep' time, can be disruptive.
THE TAKE HOME
It can be tricky and sometimes trial and error to work out what exactly is the issue you need to tackle for early rises, but learn from your child and their cues. Try not to worry about generic sleep plans or wake window apps as they cater only to the average. Once you have identified what is causing the early wakes, consistently alter one thing and be consistent with your approach for at least a week and this should help!
I NEED HELP
Working out your baby's sleep needs can be daunting and it can also cause worry that you may disrupt them or make their sleep more unbalanced that it currently is.
This is where working with a professional can help you look at your little one's current schedule, the issues you're facing and where they are in their development and whats going on in their home life and help you to build a schedule that works for your individual.
If you would like more help with your child's sleep I can help create a tailor made plan for your family based on your individual needs. Explore my packages for something that suit you