Can you Get Your Child to Sleep In?
Sleep training, like any process that yields change, is all about managing expectations. Many parents wish that their children would sleep in and are always trying to shift timing in order to make that happen.
Unfortunately, many people take a logic based approach and believe that keeping a child up later will yield later wake times in the morning. This is absolutely not the case and while it might work every once in a while if the child is really exhausted, it’s not a sustainable long term solution. Here is what you need to know when it comes to the timing of sleep:
- Sensitive sleepers, those kids who have trouble falling and staying asleep, will not be likely to ever “sleep in”
- A normal, acceptable wake time is anything between 6-7:30 a.m.
- Keeping your child up later at night will not help them sleep in later, a truly well rested child never appears to be tired and has an easy time going down to sleep and staying asleep
- You might want your child to sleep later than 7:30 but if they have nap issues and night wakings, it’s important to start the day by 7:30 a.m. so you can control the rest of the day’s schedule
- Waking up by 7:30 a.m. means your child will be ready to nap during the day during their “sleep waves” or the times when natural releases of melatonin occur. It also helps break any inconsistent sleep patterns so their circadian rhythm can be re-set
- Children are much more likely to follow their natural, biological sleep rhythms, which is a good thing! Once they can self-soothe and sleep without wakings and take solid naps, they will sleep naturally when their bodies are designed to, unfortunately for parents, this does not mean they will be sleeping in late on the weekends, their bodies are not designed to do that
Remember that children are not like little robots, constantly tweaking their sleep schedules to try to get them to sleep later will likely backfire, leaving everyone exhausted and frustrated. It’s normal for children to wake up early (between 6-7 a.m.) and making sure they are sleeping well during the day and at night is the most important thing.