There were times when my daughters keep waking me up at 4 or 5 AM every morning. I did not mind doing some hide and seek game with them even before the cock crows. I didn’t mind either to read books or having an early morning breakfast with them. But it had been going on for the whole week, so that’s it. Something needs to be done to keep the whole family’s sanity. Here are some parental advices that I get from some books, magazines and also from other parents. Most of them work.
Make sure day time is for playing and night time is for relaxing. To help your kid sleep better at night, make sure that she gets enough exercise during the day and enough relaxing activities to help her unwind during the night. However, do not make her overtired during the day as it will only make her sleep less. Avoid over stimulation near bedtime. Postponing bedtime may help, but avoid too late bedtime as far as possible. You may think that the later the bedtime the later your kid will wake up the following morning, but the fact is overtired children tend to sleep less and have difficulties going back to sleep when wake up too early. Set reasonable bedtime schedule and stick to it.
Let your kid get back to sleep by herself. Don’t come rushing to your kid’s bedroom every time you hear her scream for company too early in the morning. Instead wait a few minutes. Let her cry. Most often she will go back to sleep. If she continue to wake up and go out of her room, tuck her back quietly under the blanket and tell her that it’s still too early to wake up. Help your kid to get back to sleep as far as possible. Keep her favorite toys or book near her bed to encourage her to amuse herself after waking up and sometimes help her get back to sleep as well.
Make sure the room is dark and quiet. Close the door and windows or your kid’s room to keep sun light and sound of other family members who wake up early or other external noise from
Do not skip nap. Though it is important to keep your child physically active during the day, do not skip nap. Skipping nap will not make a child sleep longer at night; instead she will be crankier and be more difficult to be put to bed.
Set an effective nap schedule. Do not let your child take a too early nap; it will make her continue waking up too early. The best nap time is between 10 to 10.30 AM. If your child usually takes nap at 8 AM every morning, start the nap time ten minutes later every day until she naps at 10 AM. If your kid takes an afternoon nap, the effective window between bedtime and wake up from afternoon nap is around 4 hours.
Dinner and Breakfast. Kid may wake up too early because she is hungry. If you suspect that this is the case, try to feed her dinner at later hour and make sure that she eats enough during the day. Excessive liquid intake before bedtime can result in a sopping diaper that may be the cause of your toddler waking up too early. Feed your kid breakfast at usual time. Do not feed her early just because she wakes up earlier. Feeding your kid as soon as she wakes up will train her tummy to demand food at earlier time, thus preserving her early riser habit. Give her biscuits or light snacks if she is really hungry.
If your child’s biological clock still tells him to wake up early, no matter what you do, and your child is cheerful, happy, refreshed, not exhausted, does not look tired, not cranky, and does not seem sleepy, maybe it’s time for your to give up the fight and start accepting the situation.