Do you have an early riser?
It’s normal to see some early rising pop up here and there, particularly when little ones are going through a stage of development or nap transitioning, but when the early rising goes on and on with no signs of improving how do you stop it?
First thing to check off the list is temperature - is baby waking because they are too cold?
If you're not using heating/cooling to control the room temperature throughout the night, the coldest point in the night in your little one's room is typically around 3-4am, so keep this in mind when dressing baby for overnight sleep.
Check out the Sleep Like Goldilocks guide to dressing right for sleep.
If you're baby has woken too early, encourage them to return to sleep until your ideal morning start time.
As an example, we recommend keeping little ones in bed until 6am at the earliest if this is the earliest that you’d like to start the day.
Your little one might not return to sleep straight away and it can take persisting with this for a few weeks but the more you encourage a resettle the quicker they will start sleeping in later.
🌞 Dramatic wakes
If 6am rolls around and your little one is still awake we recommend doing a dramatic wake.
If you have been in the room with them trying to get them back to sleep, leave the room for 1-2 mins, come back in and make a really big deal that it’s now the morning. Turn some lighting on or open the blinds, come out of the room and start the morning off strong.
Schedule nap 1 as though your little one woke at 6am - if nap 1 is too early this often just reinforces the early rise.
Plan your awake time as though your little one woke for the day at 6am, or as close as possible. When setting the awake window from 6am start with the lower end of your little ones awake window.
If after a week your little one continues to early rise you can gradually push out the nap time a little further by 5-10 minutes every couple of days - working your way up to their max awake time scheduled from 6am.
Note: If your little one is having extra day sleep and their total day sleep exceeds their average day sleep needs, it’s likely they will rise early again the next day when they reach their 24 hour totals.
🥣 Delayed feed
Delay first feed / breakfast until closer to 6:30am. If your little one feeds or eats early this just drives their body clock to continue to wake at that time.
Staying in bed until 6am and pushing feeds out closer to 6:30am helps to discourage early wakes.
Every age has a max awake window but it doesn’t mean your little one can handle max awake time before bedtime – this is a common issue.
Many babies are ready for bed at the lower end of their awake time between their last nap and bed (if the last nap was only short – less than an hour).
It’s the same for toddlers on one nap, they can usually handle more awake time in the morning and need the lower end of their age appropriate awake window before bedtime.
For more tips be sure to check out the Sleep Like Goldilocks "How To" guides, as well as the Slumber and Sprout Early Riser Guide, and get ready to say goodbye to 5am wake ups!!
If you'd like some 1:1 help please reach out to us at Slumber and Sprout, our link is in the bio.
Written by Katie from Slumber and Sprout
Toddler Sleep Queen / Certified Sleep Consultant