Monday, 18 May 2015

Stop Early Rising

A lot of children wake early in the morning, while their parents want to lie in much later! A popular way to try to encourage little ones to get up later is to use a magic clock of some sort. It could be as simple as a lamp on a timer, or a kid'sleep clock, gro-clockBunny clock or one of the other options available to buy.

Whatever you choose it is important to realise that it is not a magic wand, it is a valuable tool. Used well the clock is a great tool and will have your child sleeping later in no time. Read on to find out how to use it.

Getting ready

The day before you use the clock (or lamp) for the first time you need to explain to your little one what it is. Show them the night and day settings and tell them that they have to wait for morning before they can get up. Have a bit of fun switching between the settings as you sing sleeping bunnies or play "sleeping statues" instead of musical statues. Then find a place to put the clock where your child can see it from their bed. Ideally on a shelf out of reach so the settings can't be changed accidentally.

Setting the clock

The next question is what time to set the clock for in the morning. Let's say your little one currently wakes at about 5.45 most days, but you want them to get up at 7am. If you set the clock to 7 on the first day they will need to stay in bed for over an hour after they wake up, which is a really big ask!

Instead, it would be best to set the clock for 5.45 or 5.50 for the first night or two, giving lots of praise for staying in bed until "morning." That gives your child a sense of confidence and pride in their ability. They can see how happy you are when they wait for the clock to change and will want to continue that.

After a night or two you can gradually start moving the time later, perhaps by five minutes each night. Normally you get to a point where they start falling back to sleep before the clock changes, so you might even find that after a few days you have to go in to wake them up!

In the morning

It is very important that whenever your child gets out of bed you always look at the clock. Remember, the clock is the only way they can tell if it is morning or not so if you want them to pay attention to it you will have to do the same. If they get up at 2am, point out that the bunny is still sleeping. If you have to wake them, say something like "time to get up, look the sun is on your clock!"

Even if your little one wakes up at 6.58, don't let them get up until the clock changes at 7. They can't tell that there are only two minutes to go, to them it might as well be 5am. So if you let them get up early today, how can they know not to get up early tomorrow? Gently take them back to bed, point out that the magic lamp hasn't come on yet, tuck them in and leave the room. In two minutes you can welcome them back with lots of praise for waiting until morning. I know it sounds silly, overly demanding and fussy to make them wait that extra two minutes, but consistency is the key.