Do you regularly start the day with your child before 6am?
First of all you are not alone…and second of all…it’s totally inhumane right! Especially in winter when its dark, freezing (to early even for the heating to come back on!) and to add insult to injury -kids TV hasn’t even started yet. For me – these were the hardest times. The times before 6am were brutal and lonely, frustrating and quite simply depressing.
So what’s going on? Why are our little darlings (or devils!) depending on how you view them at this time of morning trying to knock us sideways with exhaustion and unnecessary eye bags?
Well there are a few of reasons this could be happening and the culprit is often overtiredness.
Is your child getting enough adequate daytime sleep?
Overtiredness is the primary cause of early rising. Sounds backwards I know but its absolutely true. So the first thing to do is to work out roughly how much daytime sleep your little one should be getting for their age. If they are short then the result may be early rising.
How long is your child awake for between naps?
Another cause of overtiredness is when your child stays awake too long between naps. This can often be the window between their last nap of the day and bedtime. The length of time your little one can stay awake for increases as they grow. Whilst they might appear to be fine, if they are regularly exceeding this maximum length of time, it will cause overtiredness and then bingo…early rising starts as a result.
Are you maintaining a suitable bedtime or are some late nights creeping in as well?
Let’s be honest – life is busy! We have so much to juggle sometimes keeping to a consistent bedtime can be a mammoth task. But if for whatever reason you are finding that bedtime is not consistent and your child is staying awake for too long a stretch before bed for their age and needs – then early rising may come knocking on your predawn door. So be prepared. Maintaining a regular age appropriate bedtime for your child will prevent overtiredness from creeping in.
Are you responding consistently to the wake up calls and not starting the day before 6am?
If you allow our little one to get up for the day when they wake to early – (and anything pre 6am is too early) this will become their body clock and it will continue. We need to encourage that body clock to get used to starting the day after 6am so maintain a suitable and most importantly consistent response up until 6am. It’s essential that your child stays in their own sleep space where they have been all night and there is no change of location until “wake up” time. Otherwise they will expect this daily (slippery slope here I am afraid) and will continue to hold out for the same result.
So next time you find yourself up at an ungodly hour wanting to weep into your strongly caffeinated beverage…have a think about your child’s sleep needs and where overtiredness may be creeping in. Then make the necessary adjustments to get it sorted. Quite simply we need to keep the sleep bank topped up.
Wising you a lie in soon. You deserve it. Leigh.X
To book Leigh for sleep support in Surrey, visit her expert profile below.