Kids Sleeping Tips: Getting an Early Riser to Sleep Later
It is true that some kids seem to be early birds, but only about 10 to 15 percent actually have a biological tendency to be larks. You may be able to tell if your little one is really a lark if she:
—Wakes up on her own, cheerful and chatty.
—Is most active and energetic in the late morning to early afternoon.
—Gets tired after dinner.
—Goes to bed early and easily.
—Wakes up early no matter what time she goes to bed.
If your early-riser doesn't fit the above description, it is likely that she's not a natural-born lark and you're more likely to have luck encouraging a later wake-up time.
In either case, keep in mind that one of the common reasons for early waking is simply that your kid's already sleeping enough. If she gets the average amount of sleep for a young child—11 hours—and is going to bed at 7 PM, guess what? Eleven hours later, it's 6 AM!
Here are a few other reasons your child might be waking up early—and some quick-fix solutions:
Light. Daylight, streetlights or house lights can wake a light sleeper. Solution: Cover the windows to keep the room dark from bedtime to wake-up time.
Noise. Some children are easily roused by voices, traffic, pets or plumbing sounds. Solution: A radio set to a classical music or talk show station, or a white-noise machine, can mask outside noises.
Nature calls? If she's still in diapers, perhaps her diaper is wet. If not, she may have to use the bathroom. Solution: Give your child less liquid in the hour or two before bed. Provide several pre-bedtime potty visits. Use diaper doublers or extra-thick nighttime diapers. If she's potty-trained, teach her how to use the bathroom by herself during the night and leave a nightlight on in the hallway.
Comfort. Her covers have fallen off and she's chilly, or the heat has come on and she's too hot. Solution: Adjust the temperature in the house; use a fan (keeping it and cords out of reach); change what she wears to bed or the number and types of blankets on her bed.
Hunger. Her tummy rumblings wake her. Solution: Give her a healthy snack before bedtime. Leave a bowl of crackers and a cup of water on her nightstand.
Nap routine. She's napping too early, too late, too often or too long. Solution: Reorganize her nap schedule for a more balanced sleep/wake routine.
Inconsistent sleep schedule. Bedtime and wake-up time are different every day. Solution: Maintain a consistent bedtime and wake-up time seven days a week. Being consistent will help set your child's biological clock to result in a more reasonable wake-up time.Very often an early-waking child is doing so out of habit, and it may take a few weeks of consistent changes before you see a new wake-up time emerge in your kid's sleeping pattern. Be patient!