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As a baby sleep coach and parent, I know that some of the scariest questions you can hear when raising a child are “Is your baby a good sleeper?” and “Does your child sleep through the night?”.  It becomes the standard by which we judge our parenting – whether we get a good night’s sleep, or whether the bags under our eyes tell a very different tale. You begin to wonder how others seem to manage it while you feel doomed to restless nights and early mornings and even though you have to remember that every child is different, there are a few things that you can do to try and make supporting your child to sleep through the night easier for your family.

stressed mum wit child jumping on the sofa

So Why Does My Child Wake up Early?

Your child may be waking up for many different reasons.  Some of these are easily solvable but here are some of the most common. 

1. Do you really know much your child needs to sleep?

Too much sleep during the day when it comes to nap time may be the reason your child doesn’t need as much as you were hoping they would at night.

 2. Is their bedtime the right time?

If as above they only need a set number of hours sleep, then if there bedtime is not right they could already be getting all the sleep they need and that is why they are waking up early.

3. Old habits are hard to crack.

If your child had adjusted their body clocks to waking up at a certain time then it may have become natural to them.  With a little patience though, these habits can be broken.

4. Check your child’s environment.

Check if there is something else that happens at the same time as your child wakes up.  Maybe the heating comes on at that time and the radiator makes a noise or maybe it’s the time light comes streaming in.   Checking for things in your child’s environment means you can rule another possible cause out.

5. Is your child still comfortable?  

A full nappy or hunger pangs  maybe what is waking them up if they have had too much to drink or too little to eat before bed. 

6. Did your child have a good day?

Your child may wake up unsettled by something that happened during the day that may have upset them or frustrated them

7. Are genetics the problem?

If your child is a morning person then they may have got it from their parents. It may just be something that runs in the family

8. Is it possible that my child is just an early riser?

Early rising could definitely just be a part of who they are.  For some children it is natural for them to wake up and be ready to start the day bright and early. Their biological clock might just be set earlier than other children and unfortunately after everything else has been ruled out it may just be something you will have to work out a new life routine around.  Just remember though, it won’t last forever.   Children’s sleep patterns change all the time but until then, a few changes to your own routine to help you cope with the early mornings will probably be the best way forward.

However before you resign your life to seeing more sunrises than you’d like, bellow are some of the things you can do you to help with early rising.

little boy ready in bed for his bedtime routine

So What Can I Do To Stop my Child Waking Early?

 

1. Is your child up when the sun is up?

With a little investigation at the right times, you can check how much light is coming into your child’s room and where it is landing.  Light equals day time which to a child equals playtime so keep it out of your room until you are ready and consider a blackout blind if needed.

2. Did you check for environmental noises that might be creating an early alarm clock?

It may take you getting up a little bit before your child’s usual wake up time to spot it but it will be worth it to hear those noisy radiators that come alive when the heating comes on.  By doing this it may be obvious exactly what it waking your child up and you have a problem to be fixed. A white noise machine might help disguise any environmental noises and prevent them from becoming an alarm clock for your child.

3. Are you keeping the mornings calm and steady?

If as soon as your child wakes up they have a full on morning of their favourite things, then there is no wonder your child wants to jump right out of bed and start their day.  Having a calm morning routine, making sure they get dressed and ready for the day and then doing relaxing and none strenuous activities like colouring, reading or simple puzzles are less likely to encourage your child to rush out of bed unlike ‘rewarding’ them with watching TV at 5am.

4. Is your child is waking up because of hunger?

Then later or more fuller evening meals may help.  This may mean you have to decrease snacks to try and encourage them to eat more substantial food in the evening. Here are some sleepy foods you should introduce in their evening meals.

5. Have you assessed your child’s sleep routines?

Too early to bed may mean that they have already had all the sleep they need by the time they get up at silly o’clock in the morning.  Adding an extra hour to their bedtime might get you that extra hour you crave in the morning. You can check your child’s sleep needs here. Maybe it’s the opposite and your child is too late to bed. Being overtired means your child is not getting a good nights sleep and it is more likely to be restless rather than fall into the deep sleep they really need.

Creating a relaxing environment for your child to chill and get in the right frame of mind ready for bed is going to promote a much less stressful situation.  Activities like colouring or reading are perfect because they avoid screens and don’t over-excite your child into having an additional burst of energy just before you want them to drift off to sleep.

7. While we are on the subject of sleep patterns, does your child really still need a nap for that long?

Or even a nap at all for that matter.  If your child only needs 10 hours sleep and they are already having 2 during the day then maybe they only need 8 at night time and that’s why they are waking up earlier than you would like.  This may take a bit of trial and error but hopefully as you attempt new sleep patterns it shouldn’t take long to see a difference one way or another and for you to know that this could be the problem.  Don’t get into a bad cycle of needing early naps because they have risen early and then needing an early bedtime because that is going to create bad habits and suck you into a terrible cycle.

tired baby yawning

How To Stop Your Child from Waking Early?

This blog is just the tip of the iceberg for how to analyse your baby, toddler or child’s sleep behaviours to identify the cause of their early rising and support them to sleep until a more reasonable hour. To find out more information on how to recognise the best method and solutions to use to stop your child from waking up early based on their individual behaviours and sleep patterns, I have recently released my Early Rising Sleep Guide which is an affordable way to get expert sleep coach advice tailored to your child. Find the guide in the baby sleep coach shop here. 

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Have you downloaded your freebie yet? Top 10 Baby Sleep Coach Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better Guide! If not, then make sure to click here.


For more advice on how to help your baby sleep and find a baby sleep solution that works for you and your family, you can check out our
 1 : 1 consultation services or our new baby sleep guides which come with free access to my Sleepy Village Facebook community for easy access to get your questions answered.

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