Expecting young kids to lie in until 10am at the weekend isn’t realistic – but you shouldn’t have to deal with a 5am start (or God forbid any earlier) every Saturday either. Here are just a few strategies that could help your kids to sleep longer in the mornings so that you don’t have to end up sleep deprived.
Reconsider afternoon naps
Your child’s sleep schedule could be the reason that they’re getting up so early. Whilst making bedtime later may help your kids to sleep longer, this is not the most ideal solution – you still need your evenings and your child shouldn’t be going to bed when you do. Instead, consider whether your child still has afternoon naps. Whilst infants can still benefit from long naps as they require more sleep, toddlers usually don’t need anything more than an hour on top of a regular night’s sleep. Long and late naps could be making your child sleep less at night – they could be waking up at 5am feeling well-rested, whilst they might not do were they not to have a nap.
Block out the morning sun
Kids learn to associate sunlight with being awake and dark with being asleep. As a result, your kids may be waking up as soon as the first rays of light start to appear in the morning. Buying a pair of blackout curtains or blinds could help to prevent the morning sun entering their bedroom, helping your kids to sleep longer.
Give them a hot bath before bed
A hot bath has relaxing qualities – it eliminates stress and relaxes muscles making it easier to fall asleep. It can also improve sleep quality, knocking us out for longer. Consider planning a bath for your kids straight before bed and see if it has any effect on their sleep – even if it doesn’t help them lie in, it could be a good solution for helping your kids to fall asleep if this is also an issue.
Make sure they’re not waking up hungry
Some kids wake up early because they’re hungry. Making sure that your child is well-fed before they go to bed could prevent this. Of course, make sure to avoid energising foods and drinks that contain sugar or caffeine. Certain foods may be able to help with sleep quality.
Introduce an alarm clock
When it comes to older kids, introducing an alarm clock could be necessary for alerting your kids as to when it’s okay to get up. Make a rule that your kids aren’t allowed to get out of bed until the alarm goes off. At first your kids may continue to get up earlier than the alarm, so you should be persistent about enforcing this. Teaching your kids to tell the time early can also help them to know when it’s approaching wake up time (you’ll probably want to start digital rather than analogue). In fact, if your kids can tell the time, you may not even need an alarm – just make sure that there is a clock in their room so that they know when to get up.