Low tech solution to early waking

Thursday, 18 March 2010  |  Admin

With the lengthening of the days comes one of the joys of parenting - earlier morning awakenings. Our middle son had started to waken earlier each morning (completely ignoring his Groclock) which we were putting down to tha fact that it was starting to get light earlier each day.
Although we have a blackout lined blind on his window already, it wasn't 'light-proof' and enough light filtered around the edges for it to be obvious to a 2 year old that it was 'morning' (although for his weary Mummy & Daddy, 6.10am is still definitely night time!) Horrified by the thought of progressing to 5.45am wakings, I decided to try one last attempt at putting stop to it. My plan of action was:
Carrot / Stick

No2 son loves his bed-time stories. However we told him that if he got up before the sun (on his groclock), there'd be no bed-time story for him. So, last Saturday and Sunday night, there was no bed-time story, but we re-iterated at bed-time each nigth that he could have a story the following night, if he stayed in bed until the sun came up.
Extra blackout

Because we have a sloping roof. we didn't have space for a blackout curtain to go over the blind, so I dug out my sewing machine and lined a panel of material with blackout fabric and used stick and sew velcro to attach it to the window frame itself. It can still be easily removed during the day but the velcro down the edges and at the bottom means that it is very good at excluding light - the picture shows the room in broad daylight, without the top blind covering and as you can see there's not much light getting in. I'm not 100% convinced that this was linked to early waking, but by solving the problem, we could rule it out.
Stick to it

On Sunday evening we put no2 son to bed without story and told him that if he got up before the sun, he'd be going back to bed. Sure enough, on Monday morning, in he came at 6.10 (force of habit maybe?) but I carried him back to his room and tucked him in again. No story for him on Monday evening, but on Tuesday morning (and every morning since) he's stayed in bed which is a massive relief.
As my grandmother used to say 'If at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again'. If you've solved early wakenings, feel free to share your hints and tips with us!

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