I heard you say that your baby, toddler, child is an early riser and that it is their ‘normal’ but if you are a tired mum who would like to keep sleeping and reduce the long days then chances are your little one is feeling the same way and they need your help to change it. What causes early rising in children and babies might begin by happening once, twice and then after a week you consider it the new normal.
An early riser isn’t born an early riser. The chances are that your child is an early riser is because this has become a habit that you’ve accepted and whilst a lot of parents are okay with this because they may be early risers and need their child to wake early to be out the door to daycare, school before you head off to work it is important to remember that this habit won’t be a Monday-Friday thing only and you can’t expect your child that is used to rising early in the week to sleep in on the weekend as you might wish.
There are a few factors that can contribute to early rising in a baby such as:
- External noises such as birds, alarm clocks, traffic,neighbours.(This is where white noise will become your best friend)
- Room temperature – are they waking due to being cold? There is a drop in temperature in the early hours of the morning which can cause wake ups (this is where a tog appropriate sleeping bag will help)
- Is your little one over/under tired? Stick to age appropriate awake windows to avoid an overtired baby and see if this solves your early riser habits
Are they waking due to hunger and when you feed them they don’t go back down?
This is because their cortisol levels are staring to rise. Keep the lights off, no social interaction and treat it as you would a 2am feed)
- Your response! Now this is usually where is find early rising becomes habitual! I’ve been guilty of it myself! How we respond to our little one at these early wakes will determine if they resettle or we reset their internal body clocks (circadian rhythm). Circadian rhythms are set by 3 things – food, light and social interaction. It’s important we consider this when we respond to our child at 5am. If we are to just get our little one up, turn the lights or tv on, and start our day, this in itself is enough to encourage these wake ups every.single.day!! It works exactly the same for us adults who set our alarms for work of a weekday but on a weekend we still habitually wake at this time regardless if we set an alarm or not. It’s because out circadian rhythm is set this way. (It also works the same way if you have a kid free weekend & are use to being woken at 6am by the little cherubs, even though the kids aren’t there, you will usually wake up at this time!
As a parent, getting our child up to start the day is unintentional. We usually begin doing this to keep siblings or partners asleep but by being mindful of the above factors and treating early wake ups as you would overnight, you will see improvements. Keep persisting and you will conquer the early riser to be naturally happy to sleep until 7am+ again.
I highly recommend our sleep program for implementing a solid routine and giving you the information you need to set a schedule suited to your childs age and development in alignment with what kind of awake times they need to be following.