If you have an early riser on your hands, there’s a number of things you can do to try and stop your toddler from waking up too early in the morning.
When your kids are waking too early, it can make them tired, cranky and they don’t feel their best for the rest of the day – and neither do us adults!
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential, so teaching our kids great wake and sleep patterns is hugely important.
Is your toddler waking at 5am? We’ve spoken to an expert for the top tips on getting your toddler to stay in bed in the morning.
From toddler clocks that let kids know when it’s time to rise, to activities for early risers; these tips will help you know what to do when your toddler wakes up too early…
Dr Sharryn Gardner, paediatrician and clinical adviser at child health app Juno revealed little ones tend to get up early for several reasons.
She said: “Their body clocks are adjusted for early sleeping and early rising, they tend to be lighter sleepers, and they prefer not to play alone.
“Which means, when they wake up, they’re likely to want you to get up too! Up to the age of two, children should be getting between 11 and 14 hours of sleep a day.
“And under 5s can still need up to 12 hours. As a rule, small children who go to bed before 9.30pm sleep better and wake less frequently in the night.
Pushing back their bedtimes in order to secure your lie in isn’t the best strategy
Dr Sharryn Gardner
“So pushing back their bedtimes in order to secure your lie in isn’t the best strategy!”
Dr Sharryn shared her more practical suggestions for how to get your toddler to stay in bed in the morning.
First of all, she said it’s important to minimise things that could wake up your child before they are ready.
Dr Sharryn revealed a good tip for trying to get your toddler to stay in bed in the morning is to invest in blackout blinds.
She explained: “These can be very useful for getting children to sleep in summer when it may still be light outside, and will stop the sun from waking them up at dawn.”
WHITE NOISE MACHINES
The expert also recommended white noise machines – to help keep little ones in bed for longer.
She added: “White noise machines can also be really helpful in drowning out household sounds or those from outside the window (ideal for masking 4.30am birdsong!)”
The paediatrician and clinical adviser advised that getting the temperature of the room right is also key – for getting your toddler to stay in bed longer.
She explained that rooms shouldn’t be too hot or cold, as they can cause children to wake up more frequently or earlier.
Dr Sharryn said: “In the summer, quiet fans and light sheets instead of heavy blankets can help ensure toddlers don’t wake up hot and bothered.
“Keeping curtains closed during the day can also help rooms stay cool.”
GETTING THE ROUTINE RIGHT
While she added that having a consistent bedtime routine is vital if you’re trying to get your little one to stay in bed a bit longer.
Without it, Dr Sharryn explained that your child will get worse quality sleep and have more erratic rising times.
Avoiding caffeine, sugar, and screens in the hours leading up to bedtime will improve sleep quality, as will lots of fresh air, natural light and exercise during the day, Dr Sharryn explained.
You should also be careful to not let your child nap too much during the day, advised the expert – as this could mean they wake in the early hours of the morning.
Dr Sharryn said: “The length and frequency of naps should reduce as babies get older, often moving from 2-3 a day to just one in the afternoon.
“Pre-schoolers can still benefit from naps or, if that’s not for them, a period of calm and quiet in the afternoons instead.”
INTRODUCING NEW STRATEGIES
The expert also suggested introducing new strategies as a great tip for getting your toddler to stay in bed in the morning.
She said for older toddlers, you could try placing a box of special ‘morning toys’ by their bed and explain that these are toys they can play with if they wake up before Mum or Dad.
Dr Sharryn said this can encourage kids to self-entertain for a while each morning.
She added: “ You could also try covering up a clock in their room with paper and cutting out a small square over the number 6 or 7, depending on what time they should be staying in bed until.
“You can then explain to your child that until they see the big hand appear in the window, it’s not time to get up yet.
“This can help encourage children to understand that getting out of bed is linked to the time, not when they first wake up.”
Whilst you can do your best to get your child into a good sleep routine, it’s unlikely you’ll keep an energetic excited toddler in bed for very long once they wake, admitted Dr Sharryn.
She explained that the sleep patterns of babies and toddlers change quickly, so if they’re going through a period of very early rising, don’t panic!
She said: “It won’t last forever and the above tips and ideas can help you guide your little back back to more sociable sleeping hours!”
For more parenting stories, check out this mum-of-eight who shared a bunk-bed hack which lets FIVE of her kids sleep in the same room.
Plus, a mum who couldn’t find childcare for a job interview took her son with her with his own CV.
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