Many toddlers seem to take an interest in waking at around the 5am mark and deciding its time to get up and play. If they have gone to bed at 7pm or later then this is clearly too early to be up and bouncing around again!
If your child has slept reasonably well until early morning, then they have had the vast majority of their sleep by this time, and it is quite common to find it difficult to go back to sleep at this point. There are several things you can check:
1. Be sure the room is dark enough – it needs to appear to still be nighttime so put blackouts up at the window. You can even use black bin liners to check if this helps before investing in blackout blinds or curtains.
2. Check for any environmental noise at this time of morning… can your toddler hear movements in the flat above? Is someone taking a shower or is there noise from outside? If so, white noise in their room might help to drown out any sudden noises.
3. Be sure your child eats well during the day so hunger is not an issue.
4. Put a quiet toy or book in their bed last thing at night. If your child wakes and can focus on a toy or book, they are less likely to get upset and start shouting and there is more likelihood they will doze off again.
5. Try a Gro Clock or similar to help your toddler understand it is still nighttime.
6. Don’t get him up until as near to normal wake up time as possible, and don’t bring milk or breakfast forward as this makes early waking more likely.
There are many reasons why toddlers wake early so if you’ve covered all the above and are still finding early starts to be an issue, then seek some professional advice.
Top image sourced from Babyology via Pinterest
Deborah Taylor is a UK trained paediatric nurse and health visitor who has lived and worked in Hong Kong for the past 9 years. She has specialised in infant and toddler sleep for many years, initially in London, UK and in 2004, founded the first infant and young child sleep clinic in Hong Kong. Following the success of the sleep clinic, Deborah now has her own company Infant Sleep Resources offering a range of sleep services and packages to suit your infant and toddler sleep and settling challenges.