Parents tell me all the time their children are waking up early at times like 5am while reasons for early waking do vary, there are a few things that can be used to support early waking.
Sensory Diets. You may have had an OT discuss these or suggest these for home and school. Some children require extra sensory input in their day, and Sensory Diets are essentially sensory and movement based activities that aim to provide structured and individual extra sensory input to a child’s day. So they can help stay at a ‘just right’ level of arousal. Having sensory diet activities (particularly before bed) can help support regulation and lower arousal, so children go to sleep calmer and can often lead to longer sleeps.
Before bed routines (such as the sensory diet) can help support sleeping routine and sleeping quality. A clear bedtime routine can provide predictability and further lower arousal prior to bed time. Using a visual schedule of each time can be very beneficial .
For children who can tell time can have a clock in the room to show the time when they wake. If you say ‘you can come out at 7’, you can establish this so children know when they can wake up.
Or having an alarm in room or a timed light , like the clock idea, encourages children to know that they can’t come out until it goes off. As they may still wake early, they can be encouraged to stay in their bed, read a book, play with a few simple toys, until the alarm has gone off.
Going to sleep later can also be useful . Gradual exposure to this is important, so slowly increase new time frames (e.g 15mins)
Sleep can be a big issue for children with and without developmental difficulties. Occupational therapy can often be a valuable tool in helping improve this for your child , make contact today to see can we help you .