But what happens when that child who has finally slept through the night starts waking up again in the pre-dawn hours claiming that it is morning? How do you get them back to sleep without giving up any of that precious shut eye you've grown accustomed to? This happened with both my kids and the solution I adopted for each was different but both worked like a charm.
My daughter was our first and she tricked us by being a great sleeper very early on (shhh...it is our little secret). However, when she was about 2 she decided that 5 a.m. was time to get up. We hoped it was just one of those little blips that would fix itself but after a week or so of pre-dawn wake-up times and a very cranky mommy I knew we needed to figure something out.
She had a digital clock in her room and she knew her numbers so I told her it wasn't morning until her clock said "6". (Oh why didn't I say "7"?) The plan was all fine and good. She understood that she was not to get out of bed or call out for us until her clock said "6". Problem solved...or so we thought. It turns out that there are many "6's" throughout the night so it didn't matter if it was 2:26 a.m. or 9:56 a.m., if she saw a "6 " she thought it was morning. Hmmm - FAIL, I thought. But not one to give up and desperate for my full night's sleep I got crafty.
|Yes, you caught me. This is a reproduction.|
I only have Cars band aids now but the original was Dora
I took a band aid (yes - a Dora one) and covered all the numbers except the first one. Now when she saw a "6" it really was time to get up. It worked from the first night and I still use the rule with her. I've removed the band aid now as she no longer needs it but she still consults her clock before getting up and knows what is an appropriate vs. non-appropriate hour. Yes, we MUST have a clock in the room when we travel but that is an easy fix.
My son on the other hand was different. He didn't really like the whole clock idea partially because he wasn't as interested in learning his numbers early on. I had to go back to the drawing board and come up with a different solution. What I came up with was a timer.
I put his bedside light on a timer. I set it to come on at a time that was reasonable for him to get up, the goal was 7 a.m. If he woke and found the light off, he knew it was too early and went back to sleep. If he woke and found the light on, he could get out of bed.
He was waking up at 5 a.m. on his own so I slowly adjusted the time in half hour increments to get him to a decent time. I set the timer to go off 2 hours after it came on which meant it didn't use too much electricity and was perfect lighting for him to play in his room, get dressed, etc.
I have recently seen products on the market that do similar things but they are pricey. This was my creative way of achieving the same result but doing it on a dime.
What did you do to help your child sleep longer in the morning?