Parents often wonder why on earth their child is waking up so early in the morning. Sometimes it’s a good idea to consider if they have any sleep apnea or other breathing problems. Then you can discuss ways to treat those conditions with your doctor. But let’s look first at what can be done to keep children from waking up so early. Here are some top tips for dealing with children who start wailing in the middle of the night:
The key to keeping kids quiet and dreaming peacefully is to establish bedtime and wake times. Children who are waking up early, usually are overtired and struggle with sleep patterns. You might want to adjust your child’s sleep routines based on their abnormal waking up times. For example, early mornings (overnight) are better treated as naps than late mornings. A trick to make this work is to have the child get enough sleep before going to bed. The right trick can mean the difference between a peaceful nap and a restless night of sleep.
Too much sleep can make kids too tired and listless to do their homework, activities, or exercise. If you find that your child is waking up way before their normal wake-up time, check to see if they are really exhausted. Are they falling asleep right before getting ready to eat breakfast? If so, then it’s time to consider adjusting their bedtime routine – maybe taking them out for a short walk around the neighborhood instead of an early dinner.
Parents sometimes worry about their child staying awake because of disruptive bedtime habits. Children who struggle with their bedtime rituals and are constantly woken at can sometimes become obnoxious and disruptive when they are taken to school. These children will often exhibit signs of being over-worked, but many of these same signs are also seen in teens who are struggling with their sleep patterns as well.
To combat early wakings, parents should make sure to provide them with a solid routine for bedtime early on. It’s best to start bedtimes at the same time each day. Even if the child doesn’t require you to take them out at 9 months, they still won’t appreciate being awakened by a midnight shower. So, keep things consistent. If you don’t want to start your child’s bedtime routine at night, you could do it as early as possible, perhaps as soon as they can hold their heads up on their own.
When your baby is waking up too early seems like your problem, the first thing to try is providing a bit more comfort. If you’ve already put them to bed at night, then try to take them out into the yard where they can see the stars. Or, you might try to set a routine for playing video games with them, which will help their tired brains, even if it isn’t their favorite TV show. Reading books can also help, as long as you turn it down when they get to a certain part.
Another way to combat early wakings is to limit caffeine, alcohol, or any other substance which can keep your baby or toddler awake. All three are known to stimulate the thyroid gland and, as a result, can cause sleep problems. Also avoid any foods that are high in sugar, such as candy or soda. Instead, focus on eating foods that are higher in carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and even legumes, such as black beans. As for alcohol, it is best to wait until your baby is sitting up before giving them any alcoholic beverages. Even if they seem fine after that first sip, they could be just hungry, so wait until later.
Avoid any activities that could lead to your child waking up too early. Playing video games or watching television shows too late in the evening can disrupt your child’s sleep patterns, since they are not quite ready to go to bed yet. Also, do not leave the television or screen on as it may also keep your child awake. Try to give them a light snack or an hour or two to relax themselves before bed time, and you should be able to avoid early wakings.