Friday, May 29, 2009

The Early Bird: Waking up too early

Q: "I don't need an alarm clock. Every day my daughter wakes up early - usually before 6:00. Is there any way to get her to sleep longer, or is she just an early bird?"

A: It is true that some children seem to be natural early birds, but only about 10% to 15% actually have a biological tendency to be a complete lark. Another small percentage is somewhat larkish, but most early-rising children are simply waking up early for outside reasons that affect their rising time, and these can be changed.

You may be able to tell if your little one is really a lark is if she:
  • wakes up on her own -- cheerful and chatty
  • is most active and energetic in the late morning to early afternoon
  • sleeps soundly
  • gets tired after dinner
  • goes to bed early and easily
  • wakes up early no matter what time she goes to bed

If this describes your child, you may indeed have a little lark on your hands. Even so, you might be able to squeeze a bit more sleep time in the morning if you make some changes in your child's routines by applying the ideas that follow. If your early-riser doesn't fit the previous description it's likely that she's not a natural-born lark and you'll have good luck encouraging a later wake-up time.

Read more expert advice from Elizabeth Pantley: The Early Bird: Waking up too early on

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