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How to Help your Child with Early Morning Wakeups.

Child waking in the early morning in their cot

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Over the last few months, many parents have asked how to help their child with early morning wakeups. Dealing with these early morning awakenings can present a bit of a challenge. Below are some tips to address this situation if your child tends to wake up early.

If you’ve recently achieved success in guiding your child to sleep through the night, consider allowing a bit more time for the early morning wakeups to adjust. Sometimes, it can take 2-3 weeks for them to naturally start waking up later in the morning.

Make certain that your child’s bedtime feeding takes place 10-15 minutes before placing them in their cot. It’s crucial to ensure they’re not drowsy during this transition.

Can the bedroom environment affect your child’s early morning wake ups?

The bedroom environment can play an important role with these early morning wake ups. Check for any light entering the bedroom. Even a small amount of light, especially with brighter mornings, can cause some children to wake up and feel ready for the day. Gro blinds are great to help block out that unwanted light.

Evaluate external noises that might be causing the early waking, such as the heating coming on or noise from outside (e.g. rubbish collection). To mitigate this, consider using a white noise machine to mask unwanted sounds.

Ensure your child is comfortably warm. At around 4 am, our body temperature is at its lowest, so avoiding any chilliness that might disrupt their ability to settle is important. Check out The Lullaby Trust for their recommendations on room temperatures for your little ones.

The ‘gro clock’ (or a digital clock with only the first digit visible) is invaluable. Children under two years old, and some as early as 18 months, can respond to a clock indicating when it’s time to wake up. You as parents, set the time your little one can wake up. This helps them understand that it’s not morning until ‘the clock turns orange’ or displays ‘magic 7’. Keep in mind that 6 am is the earliest time to start the day.

Other things to consider regarding your child’s early morning wake ups.

Treat any awakenings before 6 am as if they were night-time awakenings. This helps your child understand that it’s not yet morning and nothing exciting is happening. Keep your child in their room until 6 am, and ensure that checking on them isn’t something they anticipate eagerly. If staying with them causes excitement, consider checking on them every 10 minutes.

Remember that overtired children are more prone to night-time and early morning awakenings (rather than the reverse). It might seem counterintuitive but attempting to put your child to bed up to 30 minutes earlier (after 6 pm) could potentially resolve the issue. Allow about a week to observe the effects and see if this adjustment helps.

If you have any questions regarding your little one waking up early, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I would love to talk to you about how Little Dreams Birmingham can help you.

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