The time kids wake up in the morning can set the tone for the rest of the day. Aa child who hasn’t gotten enough sleep, can become easily irritable, are more prone to tantrums, and may have you at your wits end by lunchtime. These are the commons reasons why kids wake up too early and how to fix this sleep problem in your home before everyone is sleep deprived and cranky. Get kids back on track with good sleep habits, ensure they’re getting enough sleep and put a stop to kids waking up before the sun rises.
Finally, you’d found the perfect sleep schedule and they were snoozing peacefully until a time that fit with your family… but abruptly, they’ve started rising earlier, and earlier. This can wreak havoc on the rest of the day when your child isn’t fully rested, and starts a vicious cycle of sleep problems unless you understand what’s causing them to wake up too early and how to fix the issue.
If your toddler is waking up too early, there are several reasons why this can be happening and solutions to get them back on track to sleeping until their regular rise and shine time.
1. Going to Bed Too Early or Too Late
When a toddler isn’t getting enough sleep, and waking up too early, it might be time to reevaluate their bedtime.
Try putting him to sleep earlier. As when babies are put to sleep too late, it can make them wake earlier than normal in the morning, the same still holds true for toddlers.
- You may be putting your child to sleep too early. Try pushing their bedtime back, but be sure to also adjust nap time. Aim for five (5) hours between waking up from nap time and heading to bed so they’re tired enough to fall asleep after you’ve run through your bedtime routine.
- If you need to push bedtime a little earlier, be sure to adjust naps a little earlier too so the timing lines up.
- On the flip side, if you’re putting your child to bed too late when they’re already overtired, this can cause them to turn into an early riser.
Check out this sleep chart to see how many hours of sleep your child needs (between nap and bedtime) so you can adjust your sleep schedule to get back on track.
2. They Wake Early Because They’re Hungry
If your toddler is getting up early, it might be because they’re hungry. If you eat dinner early, and your child is really active after dinner and before bedtime, they may burning off food stores and waking early because they’re hungry.
For example, if you have dinner at 5:30pm, then they play outside or go do an activity, before finally crawling into bed at 8pm, expecting them to sleep through the night (12-13) hours isn’t reasonable. That would be 14.5-15 hours from their last meal which even for an adult, is a long time.
- Push dinnertime a little later so your child is going to bed with a full stomach.
- Offer a fiberous snack before bedtime such as peanut butter & apples, a banana or granola bar to hold them over.
- Choose activities before bedtime that are low key and not as intense at torching calories and creating hungry tummies so early in the morning.
- Don’t eat breakfast right away in the morning if they’re waking early. This creates the habit of filling up early in the morning and their internal alarm clocks will adjust to their new breakfast time. You don’t want them rising before the sun, so don’t offer them a meal at this time either.
3. Too Overstimulated Before Bedtime to Wind Down
If you shake a can of soda, you can’t expect it to go back to normal within a couple minutes. It takes time to calm down so and rebalance itself after all the excitement.
The same is true with a toddler. The more riled up and active your child is leading into bedtime, the harder it will be for them to calm down and settle into a peaceful sleep.
Here are 10 Screen-Free Alternatives before bedtime to help keep the stimulation levels low and calm.
If your child needs activity before bedtime, try to squeeze this in before dinner and wind down with a warm bath and quiet activities instead.
4. Your Toddler is Waking in the Middle of a Sleep Cycle
The lightest part of every person’s sleep cycle is between 4am and 6am – toddlers, children and adults. This doesn’t mean that sleep is over at this point, it just means that during this time, it’s easy to get jostled from sleep and even more difficult to fall back into it since it’s so light.
If your child is waking up at 4:30 or 5am, don’t turn on the lights and treat this like a typical morning. Instead, act as if this early morning wake-up is the middle of the night, and tuck them back into bed, keeping the lights off and don’t turn any stimulation on.
When It’s Your Kid Waking Up Too Early…
Be consistent with your bedtime and morning routines so your children are consistent with their sleep cycles as well. Just because your child is waking up too early doesn’t mean this will last forever. Have patience, try these sleep solutions and you’ll be able to get back on track soon.
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