Is your little one ready to start the day before 6am? As the night goes on, our sleep pressure (tiredness) and melatonin (sleep hormone) levels drop and we are in a much lighter sleep than at the beginning of the night.
Darkness: Is your child’s room dark enough? I am getting a lot of enquiries at the moment with regard to early rising, and it is no coincidence that the mornings are brighter! My number one tip (especially at this time of the year) is to make sure your child’s bedroom is very dark and there is no light seeping in around the blinds/curtains.
Overtiredness: Were they overtired going to bed? Have a look at the routine during the day. Are their naps balanced throughout the day? If on 1 nap, is it in the middle of the day? If you feel your child is very tired going to bed, gradually bring bedtime forward by 10 minutes every few nights until you see a stretch develop on the other side.
What happens when they wake? Are they getting up? Do they have their milk feed/breakfast before 6am? We don’t want to reinforce the wake up by getting your child up before 6am. Keeping them in their sleep space until at least 6am, will (over time) begin to push out the wake. Similarly, if they are getting milk feed/breakfast before 6am, they will get used to having an early feed and begin to get hungry at this time. Gradually push out their morning feed by 10 minutes every few days until the first feed is closer to 6.30am.
Dont rush in: How is your child when they wake? If they are calm and content, give them space to fall back to sleep. Again, try not to get them up before 6am. If they are upset, sit with your child and comfort them in the hope they will return to sleep. This may not happen today or tomorrow, but over time the wake will stretch.
Noise: Is there noise contributing to the wake? I would advise using white noise (playing constantly all night) if you feel your child may be woken by noise in those early hours. For example, a parent’s alarm, a sibling, a bin lorry, the birds outside can all contribute to the early wake.