Most small children wake up early in the morning, regardless of the time that they went to bed or how much they napped during the previous day. Over the years it’s something that I’ve become used to, and I relish any opportunity for a lie in, whether it’s a happily drifting back to sleep after my husband has taken them downstairs for breakfast or a treasured night away with no reason to wake up early in the morning. Things have improved as my children have grown up, and now that my son has started school I actually find myself waking him up some mornings, something I never thought would ever happen!
I remember one long stretch during my son’s toddler years when for almost a year he was waking up well before 5am ready to start his day. We found various ways of coping – toys in his cot (which worked for about two minutes), bringing him in to our bed while we tried to snooze, taking him downstairs to his toys and lying on the sofa under a blanket – but it was a pretty miserable time.
There are various things that you can try to encourage a toddler to sleep later in the mornings, but one thing that we’ve really found make a difference is the darkness of the room first thing in the morning. On our recent cruise we had a pitch black inside stateroom with no windows, and even though we left a small night light on overnight the children slept later than they ever have before. I’ve found that if a small child half wakes and sees that it is light outside, they automatically wake up ready to start the day, no matter what time it is or how many (or few!) hours they have slept. This is a big problem at this time of year when it can be full daylight before 5am.
So it’s really important to make sure that a child’s bedroom is a dark as possible. If they are half awake and the room is still dark, or at least as dark as it was when they went to sleep, there’s a good chance that they will think it is still night time and go back to sleep.
At home we have always had black out curtains on the windows, but curtains still leave space around the edges where light can seep in. In this useful Blinds Buying Guide produced by Tesco, it is possible to have a look at different solutions. One great solution is to use a window blind, either on its own or in combination with curtains, as it fits much closer to the window. You can buy some lovely blackout blinds and despite their name they aren’t usually black in colour at all, they come in all different colours which work well either on their own or behind curtains. If you are suffering with an early rising child it’s definitely worth a try!
This post is in association with Tesco.