Do you have visitors at 5am?
When switching from the crib to a bed, bedtime can be pretty disruptive for awhile – if you can even get them to remain in bed, that is.
THEN, you suddenly have a new visitor beside your bed at 5am. Fun!
In our house, 5 am is no different than 1am – it’s still night time and we treat it as such.
Here are some tips to curb early rising:
1. Be mindful of environmental noise at that hour; is there anything that happens on your street or in your home at that time? In summer, our neighbor warms up his Harley for 20 minutes prior to leaving before 6am. By leaving, I mean roaring off. The best way to handle environmental noise in the wee hours (I recommend against sneaking around in the night disabling motorcycles) is to run a fan or a white noise machine. Yes, those can become sleep props as well, but it’s the lesser of two evils.
2. Evaluate bedtime; is it early enough? Going to bed too late can lead to restless sleep and early rising and believe it or not, an earlier bedtime can create a longer, more restful sleep and a later sleep in!
3. Is the room dark enough? Even the slightest change in environment and light can signal “morning” to young children, since those hours are usually ones of really light sleep. Keep the room as dark as possible, using black out blinds or curtains, or however possible.
4. Decide what ‘morning’ means to your household. For us for example, it’s 7am because bedtime is 8pm. If bedtime is 7pm at your house, 6 am is the earliest I would recommend considering ‘morning’. Therefore, anything prior to that is night-time and should be handled as such.
5. The clock: Using a digital clock with the minute numerals covered up is a great help! Children as young as 2 can recognize numbers even before they understand the concept of time so if you teach them what the number 7 looks like, they will remember. Then explain that they may not get out of bed until the clock says 7 (unless to pee) and they do usually understand. If they come out any other time, return them to bed right away (without debate or dialogue) and remind them that the clock does not say 7 and therefore it is not time to get up. You may have to do this 15 times a morning, 4 days in a row, but trust me – it does work and the alternative is far less enjoyable!