We don’t know about you, but where we live we can’t wait for warmer days, sunshine, and playing outside! Unfortunately the longer warmer days can be disruptive to your kids sleep. In our home we have found the sun and our kids beginning to rise earlier as the weather warms.
Here are 5 tips to help your kids (and you) get the morning sleep you all need!
1. Keep their room DARK
Our bodies are designed to naturally wake up in response to light, specifically sunlight. As adults, most have taught themselves to sleep through the rising of the sun but kids haven’t learned this skill yet. Ideally, everyone would go to sleep as it gets dark and wake with the sun but in our world today, that’s not very realistic.
To help kids stay asleep use blackout curtains and be careful about the brightness of nightlights in their bedroom. It is also suggested kids sleep with the door to their bedroom closed, if possible. This can help with light shining in, as well as slowing the spread of a fire, should it ever happen.
2. Have a routine
Kids thrive when they have a routine and schedule. When kids have a smooth bedtime routine that begins at the same time each evening, they will sleep better through the night and longer into the morning. In addition to a bedtime routine, you should expect your kids to wake up at the same time each morning. Our bodies don’t understand weekdays and weekends. Expecting children to go to bed later and/or wake up later on the weekend usually doesn’t work out. Young children especially, are very receptive to their set body clock. When sleep changes occur on one end or the other, it often results in more sleep disruptions and less sleep overall.
3 Use a sleep training clock
Pali™ by HappyTykes is our favorite. Here is why:
A sleep training clock helps kids understand when it is an acceptable time to wake up. Young kids don’t understand the numbers on a clock nor the passage of time. They don’t understand the difference between 5 AM or 7 AM. They only know they are awake. A sleep training clock helps them know if they should go back to sleep or get up. We have tried a variety and our favorite is Pali™ by Happy Tykes. Pali has a visual countdown that kids can actually see moving. This helps them understand how close it is to wake up time. It also has a built-in reward box that unlocks in the morning. This helps kids WANT to stay in bed until the box unlocks and they can get a small prize. It really helps with forming new habits and makes it easy for parents to implement. Additionally it comes with a bedtime countdown and a ‘set and forget’ schedule to help with tip #2, and a sound machine and customizable nightlight (colors and brightness) to help with tips #1 & #5!
4 Expect the right amount of sleep
The amount of sleep kids need changes as they grow. Expecting too much sleep can trigger early mornings. Unfortunately, so can TOO LITTLE sleep. When kids are overtired they are more likely to wake throughout the night and early in the morning. Use this chart as a basis of how much TOTAL sleep to expect in a day, including naps.
5 Help kids feel safe
Kids often wake to strange sounds. When they are scared or anxious they are less likely to go back to sleep. Using a nightlight that helps them see their familiar and comfortable room can help them feel safe enough to return to sleep without getting up or their imaginations running away with them. Additionally, using a sound machine to block out early morning noises from outside (and inside) your home can help.
BONUS: Keep room comfortable and distraction free.
Limit distractions and messes in the bedroom. A room where kids feel comfortable, that is free from distractions, will allow them to sleep peacefully. Too many toys, books, and things can result in the desire to play rather than sleep.
These tips can help you and your kids get more sleep! Good luck!