Anyone with small children will tell you that predictability tends to go out the window. In those first few days and weeks of motherhood, the chaos of having a newborn is utterly overwhelming. But as someone who has done it twice and lived through it, I can assure you that it gets better and it doesn’t take as long as you think it will. There are several tools and strategies that you can implement to make life much smoother for everyone. Today I’m sharing with you one of my personal favourites. How to make your day easier with a baby by having a consistent start to your day. I’m going to share why it is important and how to implement it. 🙂
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Having A Consistent Start To Your Day – Why?
It Sets Their Metabolism
Let’s focus on the ‘why’ to start with. Personally, I have done my best to start our day consistently since my babies were newborns. This is a principle that can be found in the Babywise book. If you’ve heard scary warnings about it being an abusive method then please take a moment to read THIS post. 🙂
One of the big reasons that I’ve implemented a consistent wake time is because it regulates their metabolism. Essentially, by getting your baby up and feeding them at the same time every morning, their body will learn to expect it. This helps towards them sleeping through the night and just regulating their metabolism to expect breakfast during waking hours and not the middle of the night.
The second reason is that it sets a foundation for your day. In truth, both wake up time and bed time are fairly rock solid in our home. Bed time tends to be a little more flexible based on the day’s events, but wake up time or at least ‘get up time‘ is pretty set in stone. Having these two anchor points helps to maintain sanity. Both my kids and I know that at x time in the morning the day starts and at x time in the evening it ends.
It may be crazy town in between but we all know when it will end.
Of course, when my babies are really little I’m a lot more flexible. I allow about 15 minutes either side of the desired wake up time when things are a little rough but after around 2 or 3 months even that gets reigned it somewhat. If my children wake early (which they often do) they play in their beds until I come and get them. This is a president that has been set since the beginning so it is just normal for us now.
It Makes The Day Plannable
When you know the time that everyone is going to be up in the morning it makes it about 100 times easier to plan out your day. This includes nap times, outings, meals, etc. Everything becomes a whole lot easier to deal with in general. For instance, if I know that my baby will be up around 7 then I can calculate when she will be ready for her next nap. In our case, it is currently around 2-2.25 hours from when I get her up in the morning.
Not only does it make the day plannable but it also gives it a rhythm, especially when it comes to naps. When the day starts at the same time naps generally happen at the same time too. Which means if I need to make an appointment or something like that I know which times of the days will work best.
How do you start the day at the same time? I mean babies wake through the night when they’re young and toddlers are like energy bunnies at 6 am.
I hear yah!
Ideally, you want to start these strategies when your child is a newborn because it makes life easier long term. So, first of all:
Pick Your Desired Wake Up Time
Work out when you want to start the day. Be realistic here because most babies will not naturally sleep in till 10 am. Here are a couple things to keep in mind when you’re deciding on your desired wake up time:
- It should be around 12 hours from bed time. Babies and young children need 11-12 hours of sleep to be well rested. So, if your bed time is 7 pm then your desired wake time should be 7 am.
- Generally speaking, children do best with a bed time between 6-8pm. I know mamas that go outside of those times but the vast majority stick within them.
Start The Day At The Same Time Consistently
This can be difficult with a newborn because you are tired. I get it. So, this is when you can give yourself a little leeway. 15 minutes either side of the desired wake time won’t hurt anyone.
So, what if your desired wake time is 7 am and your baby wakes at 5 am? Offer a snack feed and put them back to bed. You can then wake them at 7 am to start the day or give them an extra 15 minutes but you need to be consistent even when it is hard. Trust me, in the long run, it is so worth it!
Visit THIS post to find the steps on implementing a desired wake time for your toddler and how to get them to stay in bed.
As with most ‘rules’ in our home, there is the occasional exception to it. 95% of the year we start the day at the same time, but the 5% that remain can be clocked up to late nights and sickness. When I know my children need the extra rest I let them have it. You can judge this based on your own child because they are all so different. 🙂
Starting the day at the same time can be beneficial for the entire family. As your children get older the household wake up time can definitely become more flexible, especially on the weekends. However, I firmly believe that have that foundational start time for your day makes life so much easier overall.
So, let me know in the comments. What time do your kids wake up? My baby is up at 6:45 am and my son is up at 7 am. Although they’ll both be up at 7 am as soon my daughter is weaned from bottles. 🙂
Until next time!