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Resolving early morning waking

An early morning is anything before 6am and early morning wakings can be tricky if your little one (and you) need more sleep!

Here are our ‘back to basics’ early morning checklist if your little one is waking early:

  1. If you have just recently started guiding your little one towards their independent sleep skills and overnight sleep has improved dramatically, give the early morning waking a little longer. Our body clocks can take 2-3 weeks to adjust can be all it takes for your little one to start waking later in the morning.

  2. Ensure any bedtime feed is 10-15 minutes from going into your little one’s cot and really ensure they are not drowsy. Have a story or song between the feed and going into the cot.

  3. Is there any light coming into his bedroom? With the lighter mornings even a tiny bit of light is enough for some children to wake up and be ready for the day so consider blackout blinds or curtains (or both).

  4. Is there any outside noise which could be waking your little one? Heating coming on, the bin men outside? To try and resolve this issue try a white noise machine to block out any unwanted sounds.

  5. Ensure your little one is warm enough, 4am is when our body temperature is the lowest, so we don’t want him being unable to settle as he is a little chilly.

  6. The magic of a ‘gro clock’ (or a digital clock with the numbers other than the first one covered up) should not be underestimated for older children. From just under two (some from as early as 18 months) children can respond to a clock letting them know when it is time to wake up.

  7. Treat any waking prior to 6am as if it was a middle of the night so your little one gets the idea that it is not morning yet and nothing is exciting is going to happen. Make sure you keep your little one in their room until 6am to help that little body clock.

  8. Remember little ones who are overtired are more likely to wake in the night and early in the morning (not the other way around). It may sound counter-intuitive but try putting your little one to bed up to 30 minutes earlier (although not before 6pm) to see if this will resolve the issue. It will take around a week to work, if it will, so try this for a week or so and see if that helps sleep.

  9. Be consistent! Don’t try one thing one day and another another day – body clocks can take some time to adjust so whatever you decide to do, keep trying it for at least a few days before you change anything!

Jenna Wilson is one of the founders of Little Dreams Consulting. She is an award-winning sleep consultant who would love to help you, if you are having sleep issues with your little ones. You can contact Jenna here.

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