Our three-year-old wakes up at 5 a.m. to play. He’s bright-eyed and bushy- tailed and ready to go, but I’m not. Help!
Here’s where your need to sleep takes precedence over your child’s desire to play.
- Enforce the rules: nighttime is for sleeping, not playing. “You may not wake up mommy or daddy unless you are sick, scared, or need help. We need to sleep, otherwise we can’t be a fun mommy or daddy the next day.”
- If your child awakens ready to play and doesn’t seem tired the next day, perhaps he’s ready to awaken.
- Try putting him to bed later.
- Putting blackout curtains on the windows may get you an extra hour of sleep.
- When your child wakes up and comes into your room ready to play, take him into your bed, but immediately go back to sleep — or pretend to. Cuddle up next to your child. You may be able to get him back to sleep. If he wriggles away, stay “asleep,” hoping that the little intruder will leave you alone and amuse himself until the alarm rings.
- Give your child alternative activities that he can do on his own if he does awaken ready to play. Put easily-available snacks in his room to satisfy early morning hunger and tide him over until breakfast. Role play: “If you wake up, play quietly in your room like this.” Show him how to play with quiet toys like foam rubber and noiseless blocks. “When we wake up we will come right into your room and see what you made.”