Too Early Risings
Babies and children thrive on early to bed and early to rise schedules. That being said, nobody's day should be starting before 6am unless it is by personal choice.
Some babies and young children are naturally extra early risers, and may be getting their full sleep needs and waking up by 5:30am, but even those little ones should be able to keep themselves quietly entertained for an extra 30 minutes to allow for a reasonable wake up time for the rest of the family.
When your baby or child is regularly waking up before 6am, it’s very likely that they are not actually getting all of the sleep their growing bodies and brains need - and of course neither are you! Extra early risings are one of the many common sleep disruptions that can pop up during times of developmental leaps, sickness, vacation, or during times of increased excitement or change. However, if it’s lasting for more than a couple weeks and is maybe even developing into worsening sleep habits and sleep quality overall, it’s definitely time to take a closer look at the where, when, and how sleep is being offered.
It doesn’t actually take a whole lot of morning light shining through your child’s bedroom windows to encourage an extra early morning time. The sleep that happens after midnight becomes progressively lighter sleep that is easier to wake from. If there is any light making it’s way into your child’s bedroom, it’s very possible that this light is the culprit. Get a little nuts with blacking out your child’s bedroom and you will see results.
Here’s some of my lesser logical sounding advice. Shift bedtime earlier! A too late bedtime actually makes it more likely that sleep will be interrupted and/or end too early in the morning. Trial and error is OK, but a touch too early is always going to be better than a touch too late in terms of bedtime. It doesn’t have to be a permanent change either, but rather a temporary adjustment to help your child lean into a higher quality of sleep more easily.
Consider the bedtime routine that leads directly into sleep. If your child is not regularly putting themselves to sleep on their own after the routine ends at bedtime, they might be waking up too early and struggling to put themselves back to sleep on their own. The solution in this case is to help your child practice independent sleep skills at bedtime to make those early morning wake ups easier to recover from.
Too early mornings are a very common sleep issue, and it’s absolutely worth putting some time and energy into promoting better sleep and later mornings. While young children do thrive on an early to bed and early to rise lifestyle, a reasonable wake up time for a child is between 6-7am. If your child is struggling with extra early risings and it’s turning into a habit, it doesn’t hurt to look closer at the where, when, and how and to make appropriate modifications all at the same time to make later mornings as easy as possible for your child.