Breaking Through The Early Morning Riser

by Kelley Thompson

January 19, 2019

Breaking Through The Early Morning Riser

By Kelley Thompson: Serenity Sleepers


Early Morning Risers!

As parent’s most of us have been in this situation the sun has yet to rise and there is our bright eyed child staring at us intently through the monitor or once they are in a regular bed, staring a hole right through us as they stand over our sleeping bodies. As if we are eagerly going to jump out of bed at 5 am with gleam in our eyes and excitement in our voice. We are thrilled to see our child each morning, if only they could not wake up before the chickens, I may have more pep in my step throughout the day.

 Photo by Julian Hochgesang


Defining an Early Riser:

Having less than 10.5 hours of sleep during the night would be considered an early riser. It would be ideal if all children sleep 11 – 12 hours throughout the night and that is always a goal to work towards, but the reality is for many children, depending on the age, receiving at least 10.5 hours of continual sleep it is considered enough total sleep. On average an older baby or child sleeps 11 – 13 hours during the night, the bare necessity is 10.5 hours. There are various factors on why a baby or child may rise early, but a child that does not have a consistent sleep schedule and routine, will almost always cause for an early morning riser, and this is usually only one of many problems.


Parents are adamant their child wakes entirely too early, I always must dig a little deeper into the situation. What time did Johnny go to bed last night 7 pm, and what time did he wake for the morning 5:30 am! Well that my friend is plenty of sleep and entirely too early for us aging parents, but energetic and eager children are ready to begin their day. I would address some tweaking’s so Johnny’s over sleep routine is more polished and waking for the day closer to the 6 am marker.   


Breaking down the types of Early Risers:

Too many times I have heard from parents, I have tried it all; early bedtime, later bedtime and somewhere in between and they still wake completely too early. You can still implement strategies and a game plan for these type of children moving forward. There is a small percentage of babies that are “true larks”. Exactly was is the accurate definition of a lark baby or child.

  • Your child will wake at exactly the same time each morning, no matter what time they went to bed the previous night.
  • They ALWAYS wake happy, cheerful and ready to start their day.
  • She is the happiest during the mornings up until mid afternoon.
  • She gets overly fussy and tired in the late afternoons and evening, and it is as if your happy overzealous child has flipped a switch. She falls asleep easily at bedtime and almost always wants a super early bedtime. Remember this is a very small percentage of babies that fit into this category. If you know this is not your child, then move on to the next section to see what are some reasons for an early morning riser.


Light: One major problem for baby is the light sneaking into her bedroom early in the morning. This can interrupt anyone’s sleep cycles, especially young ones learning to move from one sleep cycle to the next on their own.
Tip: Check out my favorite window coverings, BlackoutEZ Window Coverings, the easiest to install, you can still use your cute drapes or nursery décor and they are MUCH cheaper than your traditional blackout curtains or blinds. Your only regret is not purchasing these sooner!


Temperature: This is the prime season where the outside weather is all over the place. I went to bed last week with a nice temperature of 71 degrees in my home, I woke up early at 5 am to a frigid house at 65 degrees! Whoa, I raced to the thermostat to adjust the heat as I noticed my sweet baby was rolling around waking up from the extreme cold in the house. We have had a winter that temperatures are all over the map, so trying to adjust that thermostat daily is important.
Tip: Find the right sleep swaddle/sack/suit or clothing that is just right. The rule of thumb is dress your baby in one more layer than what is comfortable for you as an adult. Head over to Bitta Kidda to snag one of their sleep sacks.


Noise: Who has the noisy neighbor, early trash pickup or barking dogs right on cue as the sunrises each day? This is the time of the morning where our sleep is the lightest and the smallest noises can affect a child’s sleep. Melatonin is fading from our body and littles one can stir easily from the slightest noise.
Tip: Try a box fan, humidifier, white noise machine or my favorite is my daughter’s diffuser that is run daily to diffuse her natural oils! Go Marpacs website and check out the products for the ultimate white noise machine that I have been using for years.


Inadequate Sleep Schedules: This is one of the biggest issues with an early riser. Check your child’s day time schedule. When naps are distributed incorrectly throughout the day it has a huge effect on the entire sleeping pattern, especially early morning risers.
Tip: Could naps be to long, too short, not enough naps, too many naps. This is one of the top reasons I see for an early morning riser.


Habitual Early Riser: Who can relate to having a child that wakes like clockwork every single day? These can be tougher situations as you have to get picky and find what schedule will work best for your child. The most important part to remember is once you start a new daily schedule or bed time you MUST stick to it for a while. You may have to start adjusting their actual bedtime to see if it will help with the early morning situation. You must give your child more than a few days to see if this new bed time will actually be beneficial.
Tip: Start backing up their bed time by a few minutes each day and stay consistent to see if this will help push them through the early morning hours.


Changing It Up: Many times a child is waking so early because they love to start their day with snuggles, feeding or play time.
Tip: Try to change up your routine when baby first wakes so they won’t just be waking to start their favorite morning activity. Remember we all love to see our sweet kiddos first thing in the morning, but everyone needs a little more sleep including your children and everyone will be much happier throughout the day.


Recent graduate of sleeping through the night: When a child has just started sleeping through the night waking early in the morning can be a part of the new routine. Your child’s internal clock needs time to adjust as it is not accustomed to getting such long stretches of sleep during the night. Over time her early morning wake ups with lengthen out as her body adjust to the new schedule.


Photo By  Jordan Wozniak


When it comes to early morning risers, there are a variety of reasons that may be the cause for the wakings. You have to first determine the reason, then you must address the best way to fix the issue and lastly STICK to your game plan so your child has a chance to adjust.


If you are ready to get to the bottom of your early morning riser, or you have another area of sleep you would like to get on track for your infant, toddler or preschooler, email me at We can discuss how we can get your little one back on track and push through the early morning riser! Check out my website to find more additional sleep help and advice.




About the author:

“I am currently certified as a pediatric sleep consultant, ages newborn through six years old. Serenity Sleepers is committed to helping families develop peaceful sleepers using only the safest, healthiest and most gentle approaches. I was recently voted one of the top sleep consultants in the U.S as well as completing the 30-hour mental infant health continuing education course. Over the years I have always had a passion and desire for working with infants and children. I obtained a bachelor and master’s degree in early childhood and middle school education and had the pleasure of working with children for many years. Through the years I have developed a strong passion for educating myself and others on creating healthy and safe sleep environments for babies and children. Every child and family has a unique and different situation, and everyone should be treated with great care. One of my top priorities is devoting my time and efforts to make sure I create the right individualized sleep plan to meet each family’s needs. Educating parents and families on age appropriate sleep techniques and methods is extremely important. Teaching others how to implement the right sleeping strategies to meet their individual needs is one of my top goals. Being able to give parents and care takers the ability to help their little ones develop healthy, strong and peaceful sleeping habits is one of my main goals. Please feel free to visit my website to learn more about how I can help you and your family. I send out newsletters, and blog posts all topics related to your little ones. Visit my website at or email me at”


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