Is your toddler waking too early? Do these 4 things
Why, why whyyyyyy is my baby suddenly waking at the crack of dawn?
Developmental milestone? A change in the season? Another phase? Or is this just my life now?
Tell me you haven't asked yourself these and many questions like them, repeatedly, since you became a parent...
I've just come out of a patch of 5.30am wake-ups with my son and let me let you, I don't miss them. He's not a bad oul sleeper (now, at almost two. I don't want to talk about his first year), but recently he became a super-early riser and I was not into it. At all.
So I did what all bleary-eyed parents do and started researching. Yes, I'm Googling my way through parenthood just like you. My search was fruitful and I'm happy to report we're on a run of 7.30am - 8am wake ups for the last two weeks.
If you're in the same boat, here's what I did. Read on for six strategies to try if your toddler is waking up too early, according to Kaitlin Rickerd, a paediatric physical therapist in New York and my new bestie.
Bedtimes themselves were also getting a bit drawn out for my liking, so this was a no-brainer. My son just didn't seem to want to sleep before about 8.30pm. I don't get to see much of him in the evenings after work, so what was the point of us both lying there, wrecking each other's head for an hour every evening anyway? I've leaned into the new later time, and I think it's helped him sleep longer in the morning too. Happy days.
Adjust nap times, or drop one
My son would nap for three hours if I let him, and sometimes it's tempting when I'm finally getting some housework (or internet scrolling) done. But I've become strict about a 90-minute nap being the maximum. Kaitlin Rickard also suggests playing around with the time. A danger nap deadline is always a good idea.
Create a sleep sanctuary
Black out blinds are your friend. The roller ones only do some much in the summer months, so it might be time to bring in the big guns. Amazon is awash with stick-on options to really shut the light out until you're ready to face the day.
If it's noisy outside the house - anything from bin trucks to the *chirp chirp* of early birds looking for the worm - consider a white noise machine to drown it out.
Dr. Rickerd says: "If he seems hungry when he wakes up, a high-protein snack, such as hummus, yogurt, or nut butter on toast, before bedtime may help to stave off hunger longer." She also suggests cutting out too much liquid before bed, so full morning nappies don't get either of you up too early.
Try them! It worked for me.