The Early Bird: Waking Up Too Early
~ Preschool Printables & Templates
~ Preschool Activities & Lesson Ideas
Apples / Johnny
(My) Body & Me
The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers is just off the press! It includes many ways to help your one-to-six year old child get in bed, stay in bed, and sleep all night – by providing no-cry solutions for:
Bedtime battles, dawdling, and evening melt-downs
Night waking and early rising
Moving out of the crib and into a big-kid bed
Graduating from the family bed to independent sleep
Ending the all-night breastfeeding routine
Stopping nighttime visits to your bed
Handling naptime problems
Solving nightmares, separation anxiety and fears
“I don’t need an alarm clock. Every day my daughter wakes up early – usually before 6:00. Is there any way to get her to sleep longer, or is she just an early bird?”
It is true that some children seem to be natural early birds, but only about 10% to 15% actually have a biological tendency to be a complete lark. Another small percentage is somewhat larkish, but most early-rising children are simply waking up early for outside reasons that affect their rising time, and these can be changed.
You may be able to tell if your little one is really a lark is if she:
If this describes your child, you may indeed have a little lark on your hands. Even so, you might be able to squeeze a bit more sleep time in the morning if you make some changes in your child’s routines by applying the ideas that follow. If your early-riser doesn’t fit the previous description it’s likely that she’s not a natural-born lark and you’ll have good luck encouraging a later wake-up time.
First things first
Even if your child is getting less than the sleep hours on the chart she may be one of those rare children who need a bit less sleep than the average. In either case you can’t expect her to sleep longer in the morning simply because you went to bed at midnight or were up all night with her baby brother, and you’re still tired. (Oh, but if it only worked that way!) If this is the case in your house, you have two options. Gradually move her bedtime later by about 10 or 15 minutes until she’s going to bed an hour later and (hopefully!) waking an hour later in the morning. If you’ve already read the first part of this book you know that an earlier bedtime is often best for a child, and sometimes a bedtime change won’t affect awakening time, but you certainly can experiment with this to see if you can find a happy medium that works for both of you.
The other choice, of course, is to make your own bedtime earlier so that an earlier wake up time works for you. This may be nicer than you think, since most larks are cheerful in the morning and grumpy in the late evening, so by adjusting your family hours you’ll have more time in that happy place together.
Other reasons WHY your child may be waking up early
If you’ve added up your child’s sleep hours and have determined that an excess of sleep isn’t the cause of early awakening you should be able to add more sleep time in the early morning. Before we get into the general tips for encouraging longer sleep, it may help to figure out why your child wakes up early, and how to address those issues. Here are a few things that might be waking her up:
“I put a piece of cardboard over the window and set a clock-radio to early morning classical music. Sebastian is sleeping about an hour later in the morning than he was – and it hasn’t affected his bedtime at all!”
Candice, mother of three-year-old Sebastian
More tips for encouraging longer sleep
Very often an early waking child is doing so out of habit, and it may take a few weeks of consistent changes before you see a new wake-up time emerge. Be patient and use the following tips in conjunction with the previous list and the general ideas in the first part of this book:
What to do if your lark continues to wake up early
If you’ve tried these ideas, and kept with them for a few weeks, but find that your little rooster continues to wake up early, you may want to accept that it’s her natural waking time and approach the problem differently. Here are some tips:
Will my lark EVER sleep later?
Oh, yes. Your lark will begin sleeping later in the morning….once she starts school and is required to wake up at 6:00 AM. Frustrating, but true! As children get older many of them go through an Owl stage – finding it hard to fall asleep at a reasonable bedtime, but easy to sleep until noon.
This article is a copyrighted excerpt from The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers by Elizabeth Pantley (McGraw-Hill, 2005).
~ Our Daily Schedule
~ Our Menu
~ Online Scholastic Order Form
~ Yahoo Forum
Fall 2006 - misc.
Read something that would interest a friend?
Enjoy this article by Elizabeth Pantley? Check out her other
Note from Mommy Nature: YES! There is hope if you have a lark! My Jenna Belle used to be a lark and now, at age 3, asks to go to bed at night if kept up later than usual! She sleeps all night and takes super-long naps (3+ hours) if left alone!
The picture above is from her falling asleep in the car (another rarity!), being carried in and placed in Daddy's recliner, never waking!
MommyNature.com ~ Give credit where credit is due. ~