If your child awakens before you do, you can be sure he’ll come and wake you up. He’s excited about the new day and he wants to share it with you. If you’d like to add a few precious minutes of sleep to your morning, here are some steps you can take:
• First, be sure he takes only one nap a day and that it’s less than two hours.
• Second, make sure he gets plenty of exercise after that nap so that he’ll be tired at night.
• Third, if he’s been going to sleep before 8:00 p.m., delay his bedtime.
That should do it, unless your child’s sleep requirement is less than the average 10 – 12 hours. In that case:
• If he’s in a crib, simply keep him there until breakfast. He can learn to play quietly with toys. If he cries, go in once to reassure him.
• If he’s in a bed, give him a clock radio, set it for 6:00 a.m., and tell him he can’t leave his bedroom until the music comes on, but he can play quietly until then. Help him put out special toys or books the night before.
• Also, don’t forget to tell him that it’s not polite to wake up someone who’s sleeping.
During Dr. Schmitt’s 20 years as a medical practitioner and researcher, he has published over 100 articles or chapters on pediatric health care, and has been awarded the distinguished C. Anderson Aldrich Award by the American Academy of Pediatrics for outstanding contributions to the field of child development. Schmitt has also authored five books including Your Child’s Health, which won Child Magazine’s first Hall of Fame Award in 1991. Schmitt is also a professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and on staff at The Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado.