Many parents will tell you that they have plenty of sleep issues with their toddlers. However, it seems like the consensus is, that early morning wakings are one of the toughest sleep issues with toddlers that most parents face. After a full night’s rest, your toddler is refreshed and recharged. Therefore, he has more energy to fight sleep.
Studies show that most of us come up with lighter sleep phases in the last hour of our sleep. To clarify, your body is preparing to take on the day. However, if your child is waking up too early. That is a good indication that he is not getting the correct amount of sleep for his age and his body.
For example, if you put your child in bed at 7 pm and he sleeps until 6 am, this is a normal sleep pattern for him. However, You might feel this is way too early to be up in the morning. Consequently, you can not ask your children to sleep for more than 11 hours at night. That is to say, their bodies are usually rested after this much sleep, and they won’t be able to do more.
Even if your child is waking at 10/½ hours, if he is rested and energetic in the morning and makes it easily till his naptime, then he’s getting enough rest for his body.
Try a Later bedtime
On the other hand, keep in mind that 10 hours or even 10 1/2 hours might not be a sufficient amount of sleep. To clarify, if your toddler can not make it till nap time or is waking up cranky perhaps he is not getting enough restful sleep.
There is a simple solution to try in this case. For instance, you can try to push the bedtime later by 15-minute increments. Therefore, watching to see if your child can sleep later in the morning,
A word of caution. Certainly, making the bedtime later can often have the opposite effect of causing your child to wake up even earlier. In short, this is the reason why things need to be done in small steps.
Certainly, there are more sleep issues with toddlers than being an early riser. However, here are some other ideas to try to help your early riser sleep longer.
Darken the Room
Make sure that your child’s room is very, very dark. That is to say, purchase some room darkening shades or curtains to cover windows in your toddler’s bedroom. Most importantly, you do not have to break the bank so to speak. To clarify, you can find room darkening curtains and blinds at most retailers. They tend to be inexpensive. And, they are easy to install.
Keep it Down
Identify any sounds that could be startling. For example, garbage trucks, dogs barking, and sprinklers could be just enough noise to wake your toddler earlier than expected.
You might find that if you turn on some white noise in the room and make the volume loud enough to protect him from these startling sounds.
For example, a music system that can play sleep sounds or calming music will usually help the situation.
Remove stimulating toys
I have found my 3-year-old grandson likes to have toys in his bed with him at night when he goes to bed. However, this has created a two-fold problem.
Firstly, he wants to stay up and play in his bed at night during bedtime. Secondly, He wakes up and starts playing immediately once the daybreak starts.
As a result, I have removed all of the stimulating toys from his bed. This was not easily received. I went thru many crying and screaming nights before he started just going to sleep.
So, heed this warning. As innocent as it seems a simple toy can cause distractions which can lead to later bedtimes and earlier awakenings.
Avoid Checking in on Your Child During the Last Hour
To avoid early morning sleep issues with toddlers, do not check in on him during his last sleep hour. To clarify, it is possible that your interaction may prevent him from returning to sleep.
A simple opening the door could make enough noise to wake your toddler out of his early morning slumber. Therefore, causing him to not get the correct amount of sleep.
Make sure the bedtime is not too late
Bedtime is a heavily debated subject between experts. What time is too late? And, what time is too early? Everyone has an opinion on this.
Most importantly, what works for you. You should make sure the bedtime is not too late for your child’s age. However, since each child is different in regards to sleep. You will need to take suggested times adjust the bedtime earlier by 15-minute increments, and watch what happens in the morning.
In doing so, you will allow your child to sleep later, as he is less overtired at bedtime. But, If he does wake earlier, return to your previous bedtime.
If moving the bedtime earlier has no effect on the wake time, you may want to consider using the earlier bedtime anyway to help your child get the right amount of night sleep for his age.
Feed the Child
Make sure your child is not hungry. Hunger can really affect sleep issues with toddlers. That is to say, be sure to give a snack just before bedtime. Preferably a non or low sugar snack to avoid a sugar rush at bedtime.
Moreover, if you have a child under 12 months old, and have newly begun to wean feedings, you may want to slow the process down to give him more time to adjust.
Subsequently, be careful to ensure that you are offering the breast or bottle more often during the day. Therefore, helping him transition his previous nighttime feeds to the daytime. As a result, so he won’t be hungry going down to sleep at night.
In short, these simple but effective tips should help avoid some sleep issues with toddlers.