Is your baby waking for the day before 6a.m?
Are you fed up with being up before the sun rises?
It makes for a tired feeling all day and doesn’t start you off in the best of moods. Stick around because I’m going to tell you exactly what you need to do to get your baby waking at 6a.m or later EVERY morning!
A baby wakes early usually because they’re overtired. Seems crazy because you’d think if they’re tired they’d sleep longer, but no, being overtired often leads to waking too early and not being able to get back to sleep.
So the first thing you need to do is look at the general schedule and spot why your little one is overtired.
Is it lack of daytime sleep?
Is it that the daytime sleep isn’t timed right for your little one so they end up having times when they’re awake for too long in one go?
Is it that bedtime is too late or takes too long for them to fall asleep for the night?
OR is it a vicious cycle of the early waking leading to the day being too long even if they do take the ideal naps at the ideal times?
Once you spot it, you’ve got it – Then you need to set about replenishing the sleep tank.
You need to help your little one to get the sleep they need in every 24 hour cycle, so that might mean working on nap length or it could mean altering the nap timing.
It may mean some early nights are called for or some added little top up sleeps early or late in the day. This isn’t your new routine but a temporary fix to overcome this overtired state.
Once your little one is becoming better rested generally, then you’ll find you can stop with the top ups and settle onto a more typical schedule or rhythm for their age.
While you’re working on these things, your little one is still going to wake up early so you need to respond to that early waking in a way that lets them know that it’s not time to start the day yet even though there is little chance they will go back off to sleep, they might, but it’s unlikely but we don’t want to ingrain this wake up time into their body clock, so we need to maintain all the night time and sleep time atmosphere until at least 6a.m.
Something that can be really helpful from around 20 months is a sleep wake clock or you could even use a light timer to trigger when it’s morning time.
You then teach your little one that when the clock shows it’s sleep time or the light is off, you must lay down and close your eyes until the clock says wake up time or until the light turns on, then you can open your eyes and wake up!
It’s great to role play this with them in a fun and enthusiastic way so they can practice showing you that they understand this. This clock or light timer is not going to solve the early waking but it can aid the process really effectively.
One word of warning though, only use this if you are committed to 100% abide by what the clock says. If you let your little one get up even once when the clock or light is saying it’s still sleep time, they’ll never take it seriously again! It can take a lot of repetition, reminding them every bedtime and every morning about it until you’re bored of your own words – but it definitely helps and gives little ones a focal point or a trigger to help remind them what to do.
Of course, babies are too young for a sleep wake clock but you could still use the light trigger just as a change to their environment to signal night and day – Try to time it a minute or two after they typically wake up so that they see the difference and what it means…they get up when the light is on.
Early waking can be brought on by overtiredness that might come from a change in development, naps shifting, sleep needs shifting. It can also crop up after a clock change or being out of the usual routine temporarily. Whatever caused it, the solution tends to be in finding where the overall sleep needs to be topped up and resolving over tiredness.
Is your little one waking early every day? What time do they wake and what do you do? Let us know in the comments below and tell us where you think they’re falling short on sleep. Let’s patch this up and get them AND you sleeping to at least 6a.m or beyond!