I wish I was as tired as I thought I was before I had kids!
Early mornings are tough. Especially if they become a daily situation. Toddlers have a mind of their own and they know what they want when they want it. Sleep included. As your toddler hits their milestones like walking, running, talking, potty training, and transitioning from a crib to a big kid bed, their sleep may change. Here are 5 tips to managing early mornings with your little one.
1. Keep Bedtime Consistent
Bedtime is the key to good sleep. Once you have a good bedtime routine established, try to stick to it. As a sleep consultant I often suggest turning the screens off at least 30 minutes before bed to aid in melatonin production. Baths are often a good way for little ones to relax, also they can help your little one associate between bath and bedtime. My boys love to have a snack while I read them some of their favorite books before we settle them to bed.
2. Consider The Changes Your Little One Is Going Through
These early mornings are likely to be short term. Toddlers are learning so much especially in their verbal phases. This learning can cause sleep disturbance in our little ones. Consider keeping track of mornings, naps, and bedtimes for a few days and give your little one some time to work things out on their own. I usually suggest giving your little one 1-2 weeks before making any changes.
Our environment is so important to having successful sleep. Melatonin is produced at higher levels in the dark. As a sleep coach I suggest having black out blinds in your little one’s room. A sound machine can also help your little one to settle back to sleep as it drowns out most outside noise and keeps their environment consistent.
Toddlers go through lots of transitions; crib to big kid bed can be one of the biggest. As a sleep coach I suggest that parents try to keep their little ones in their cribs for as long as they safely can. If the early mornings are a part of this specific transition, you might need to find a way to communicate an appropriate wake up time for your little one. There are a few methods such as a Gro Clock.
4. Talk To Your Little One
Once your toddler is verbal, they are incredibly smart and can often understand a lot more than we give them credit for. Talk to your little one about sleeping later. Avoid having these discussions at bedtime, but during the day you can pump your little one up about sleeping in like a big kid. If you can get your little one excited about sleeping later, you might be able to catch a little more beauty sleep as well!
5. Try Leaving Them Until The Desired Time
If your toddler is still in their crib you can try leaving them later and later every morning. This might help your little one to extend their wake up times. Sleep in the early mornings if very light and wave like. Your little ones can be very restless during this time with frequent wake ups. I suggest leaving them 10-15 minutes longer every morning until they’re hopefully waking up closer to what’s considered morning, not middle of the night.
Early mornings can be common during this phase. Give them time and help your little one find a later wake up time. Seek out help if you need to. As a sleep coach, toddlers are my favorite clients- we’re here for you Mama! Reach out to a Mama Coach in your area for support!