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How to deal with early morning wakings

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So you have managed to get your little one to sleep through the night, but his day starts at 5am – what do you do now?

Whilst 6am might not be our preferred time of day to be woken up, it’s probably the earliest we would consider ‘morning’. If your little one is waking before this (or you would like him to sleep a little past 6) lets go back to basics with our top tips to help your little one sleep a little longer:

1. If you have just recently started successfully guiding your little one to sleep through the night, give the early morning waking a little longer. Sometimes 2-3 weeks is 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 the cot and really ensure your little one is not drowsy.

3. Is there any light coming into the bedroom? With the light mornings upon us even a tiny bit of light is enough for some children to wake up and be ready for the day.

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 but ensure it is just white noise and that it stays on all night.

5. Ensure your little one is warm enough, 4am is when our body temperature is the lowest so we don’t want your little one being unable to settle as it 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. 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. You set the time they are able to wake, so they know it is not morning until ‘the clock is orange’ or the clock shows ‘magic 6 or7’. Again, 6am is the absolute earliest time to set it for and it can be a god idea to start at 6am and move the time later as time goes on.

7. Treat any waking prior to 6am as if it was a middle of the night waking so your little one gets the idea that it is not morning yet and nothing exciting is going to happen. Make sure you keep your little one in their room until 6am and that you going to check on him isn’t something he looks forward to. If you stay with your little one and s/he is excited by that, try to check on him/her every 10 minutes.

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 upto 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.

To discuss this, or any sleep related issues, contact us for a free 15 minute chat to talk about working together so we can can answer any questions you have.

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