Are your kids waking up too early? This may be the answer
Almost every parent has been there. It’s 4am and your toddler is up and ready for the day to begin. Often parents wonder, in that extremely sleep deprived state when your little bundle of joy seems to be waking up far too early, what am I doing wrong? And how can I squeeze in a couple more minutes of shut eye?
It can be boggling to many, as according to the National Sleep Foundation, it is recommended that newborns, zero to three months old get 14 to 17 hours of sleep. Even toddlers, ages one and two, are recommended to sleep 11 to 14 hours of day. And preschoolers, ages three to five, have similar sleep recommendations: ten to 13 hours a day.
With so many hours of recommended sleep for young kids, how is it they still wake up so early, turning your productive day into a lack of sleep induced whirlwind?
Dr. John Beckerman, an Advocate Children’s Hospital pediatrician at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill, says there are a number of reasons for the early wake up, but among all of the tips experts offer, consistency is the most important rule to follow when it comes to setting good sleep habits.
“With sleeping, consistency is certainly the most important part,” Dr. Beckerman says. “In addition, pushing bedtime later may be helpful since there are only so many hours at a stretch that a child can sleep.”
But, he cautions, all good things take time. Even when following expert advice, the early wake-up calls won’t stop immediately, and that is why consistency is so important. When Dr. Beckerman talks about consistency, he is referring to the duration and timing of naps during the day, the time your child goes to sleep and your response when they wake up too early. It’s important to stay strong in your message to your little one when they wake up too early, when it it is okay to get out of bed and how early is too early.
On that same note, “Don’t feel the need to rush in to the bedroom as soon as you hear a peep on the baby monitor,” he says. “Sometimes, your child may need to cry it out. See if they can get back to sleep on their own after a few minutes.”
Finally, don’t give up. Stay patient and strong, and if you’re concerned about your little one’s sleep habits, you can always reach out to your family medicine physician or pediatrician for support.
About the Author
Liz Donofrio, health enews contributor, is a marketing specialist at Advocate Health Care. As a newlywed, she is happy to be done planning her wedding and enjoying spending time with her husband and new extended family. In her free time, you can find Liz cooking new tasty recipes for her family, attending Chicago sporting events and chasing after her shih tzu-yorkie, Buttons.