If your child is anything like my six year old, the crack of dawn will hit, and he’ll wake up instantly. Sit up in bed, wide eyed. And then run to my room, announcing “Mom, it’s daytime, get up. Now! Come mom! It’s daytime!” The sun is barely up; as in, any adult desperate for sleep could easily reason to themselves that it’s still dark.. but he won’t relent until you are up and with him, in the kitchen.
Groan. So how do we get our young kids to sleep in later? Honestly, I don’t think there are many ways, but after a lot of mulling over it, I managed to come up with two pretty obvious ones..the only ones that have worked in my home – here they are:
1. Dark curtains
These do actually work like a charm. It seems that even sensitive inner body clocks can be fooled by dark curtains, when the first rays of daylight appear. They’re worth getting! Even for fifteen to thirty minutes more sleep. Even for five minutes extra sleep, for that matter. Get some. Get them now.
2. Later bedtime
This is hard. By early evening, every last drop of a parent’s energy is depleted, and bedtime can’t come soon enough. The idea of extending bedtime would drive me to despair, but going to bed later does mean sleepy kids the next morning, so chances are they’ll sleep in later too. Which is the lesser of two evils for you – later bedtimes, or early risers?
WAYS TO ENTERTAIN EARLY-RISERS
No matter how we try, some kids will just wake up early. Period. Like mine. So here are a few ways to get a few extra minutes in, without having to get up THAT early… :
1. Pre-pack lunches and clothes
When you do finally stagger out of bed, make sure your pre-school-run time is as stress free as possible. Pack school lunches the night before, and get school bags ready by the door, or in the car. Get your children’s clothes ready at the bottom of their beds for the next morning. Get pairs of socks together. Find randomly distributed shoes and get them ready. Do the crazy stuff the night before. This will help keep the stressful rushed stuff under control when you surface in the morning and need to get everyone out of the door in time.
2. Set up fave activities near you
For very early risers, set up an activity or two on the dining room table, or on your side table if you prefer to keep an eye (or ear) on your child while he plays. He’ll soon get used to the idea of playing quietly for a few minutes when he wakes up, before you get up.
3. Set up snacks near you
If your child is old enough to make cereal or toast, you can get into a routine where he makes something for himself to eat if he wakes up early. My six year old happily makes everyone in the household peanut butter toast some mornings. Sometimes, strangely buttered toast handed to you in bed tastes like heaven. Just saying..
4. Keep the IPad near you
An educational movie or game on the IPad, near you, can buy you some sleep-in time. You can still hear what they’re doing on it, and watching, and you get to stay horizontal for that little bit longer.
I hope some of those tips helped! If you have any other tips you use to get your preschoolers to sleep in later, and how to manage when they DO wake early, leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your tips!