So many parents ask me how I get my kids to sleep until 7:00 or even 7:30.
I love having my kids sleep until 7:00 for a few different reasons. Not so I can sleep in, although on some mornings this is nice, but so I have some time to myself to start the day. I am not naturally an early riser. However, knowing that the house will be quiet for a couple hours makes it very appealing to get up early. With three young kids, getting a few extra moments of quiet during the day is a blessing. Having that time in the morning sets me up to be more relaxed, patient, and present for my family. And it is best for my kids as well!
This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase anything through one of our links you will be supporting our small business at no extra cost to you.
So, how do we get our kids to sleep until 7:00?
If you are lucky enough to have a kid who naturally sleeps this long, you are truly blessed, and probably don’t need this article. For the rest of us, here are three strategies that will encourage your child to get better sleep and stay in bed until 7:00.
You may be thinking that this is counterproductive. Research actually shows that kids who go to bed earlier often sleep better and sleep longer. Why? Because when kids stay up late, they end up over tired, they hit a new state of wakefulness, and they do not have a good nights sleep. Then what are you left with? A very cranky child the next morning. We’ve all been there, right? You think to yourself, “You just woke up! Shouldn’t you be pleasant for at least a little while?” Have you noticed that even when you put your child down for bed a couple hours later than normal, they still get up at the same time?
Depending on what time your kids go to bed now, you may need to adjust the bedtime in increments, but try to get to 7:00 or 7:30. Whatever works for your family. You are probably thinking, “There’s no way this will work! My kids will be up at 5:00.” Trust me, once they are adjusted to this time, you will start to see a huge improvement to their sleep and their behavior.
This is very important. Our bodies thrive on routine. You have to stay consistent. If you aren’t consistent with bedtime,then you will not see consistency with when they wake up. You need to help your child’s body and brain learn when it is time to go to bed and wake up by helping set their “internal clock”. Do everything you can to get your child to bed at the same time each night. In the morning, if you are greeted at 6:00 with a smiling toddler, place them back in bed and say, ‘it is still time to sleep.”
The key is to get a good schedule in place and stick to it as much as reasonably possible. You will have nights that you stay up late for difference reasons and mornings that you have to wake the kids up early. Don’t fret about this. The point is to remain consistent the majority of the time and your child’s sleep patterns will greatly improve.
The Bunny Clock (as my kids so lovingly refer to it)
This is a little trick that has done wonders for my kids. I first saw this at a store and thought it was an adorable night light. Then when we transitioned our first child into his big boy bed I was researching everything I could to teach him when it was okay to get out of bed. I noticed he woke up every morning around 5:30, still completely exhausted, but realizing his new freedom, he wanted to wake up. I also figured out that if I put him back in bed he would usually fall back to sleep. As I was doing my research, I kept coming across this same cute night light I had seen at the store. I read how it worked and decided it was worth a try. Now, four years later, we still use it and have even purchased a second for our daughter.
Here’s how it works. You can use it simply as a night light. You can use it as an actual alarm clock. Or, the best feature of the clock, you can set the clock to show your child when it is okay to wake up with a simple lit up picture. It is completely silent so if your child wakes up later than the time you set, the clock will not wake him/her.
The clock has a picture with a bunny sleeping and a bunny who is awake. You set the clock to the time you want your child to get out of bed. Remember, if your child sleeps past that time he/she will not be woken up unless you choose to have the alarm make noise. When you put your child to bed the sleeping bunny will be lit up. At whatever time you set the clock to for waking up, the picture of the awake bunny will light up. If your child wakes up before that time, he/she will see the sleeping bunny, and know it is not time to get out of bed yet. I have told my kids that if the bunny is not awake then they need to try to go back to sleep, and they usually do fall back to sleep.
Another great feature, you can set two different times on the clock. This is great if your child takes a nap or does some sort of quiet time during the day. You don’t have to reset the clock each day. Just set the second clock and when you put your child down for a nap you can switch the bunny to sleep again and the clock will automatically know when to wake up. Sound like something that will work for your child? Check it out here.
That’s it! Those are the three things we have done and continue to do to keep our kids in bed until 7:00. I hope they work for your family and you can enjoy happier kids and a little quiet time in the morning. Do you have strategies that have worked for your family? Let me know in the comments below!