How early is too early for bedtime?!
If you were asking for me, then I’d say there’s never too early! I love an early bedtime, and actually, I’m a big fan of them for tired kiddos too.
However, it’s not as easy as saying bedtime no earlier than 6 pm, because there are a few factors that you need to consider.
By the fact that you’re even thinking about an early bedtime, it’s likely to mean that your little one has either:
- Woken up for the day early
- Had short naps or skipped a nap
- A combination of both a & b – (gah the worst days right?)
In all these scenarios, your child has lost some sleep. Unless they catch up on that sleep to some extent, they’re going to be overtired and we know that overtiredness is the destroyer of peaceful sleep.
The only way you can help your little one catch up on that sleep is by giving them an extra nap, an extra-long nap (if they’ll take it), or wokeearly bedtime.
Let’s have a look at a couple of examples.
Your 6-month-old has woken at 5 am, has had 3 naps, and wake from their last nap at 2.30 pm. Trying to get them to a 7 pm bedtime is a looooong stretch and even a 6 pm bedtime is going to be too long.
If you put them down at 5.30 pm, they’re much more likely to settle easier and happier because they’re not shattered.
If you consider that they started the day just over 12 hours earlier at 5 am, bedtime at 5.30 pm seems pretty reasonable plus they have no clue of the actual time, it’s only us with our adult brain that considers 5.30 pm early.
Your 18-month-old, whose generally a pretty settled sleeper has woken at 5.15am. They’ve had a 2-hour nap and woken at 1.00pm. There’s another long stretch to perhaps their normal 6.30pm bedtime so they do need to go to bed earlier.
In this scenario, I’d go for a 6.00pm bedtime because the child is a generally good sleeper and doesn’t have a sleep debt bubbling under the surface, and they’ve managed a solid 2-hour nap.
As I always say, don’t be afraid of early bedtimes. They do not mean that your child will wake up earlier the following morning…it’s the overtiredness at bedtime that causes them to wake early.
If you’re plagued with early waking, then you need to check out my Early Waking Programs to discover why your kid is waking head splittingly early and the precise steps you need to follow to solve it.
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See you next time,