As parents, we’re warned about the sleepless nights. But when our newborns mature into active toddlers, bedtime and sleep comes with different challenges. Our toddlers might not want to go to sleep when its bedtime! Or if they do, they wake up before the sunrises.

Early risers can be one of the trickiest sleep hurdles to tackle as a new parent, but having an approach that works for you and Bub can lead to re-setting bedtime and sleep trends.

Bedtime starts in the morning

Most babies will naturally rise and fall with the sun. This can naturally move a little earlier or later depending on your family and our body’s natural sleep clock which is set by food, light, and social interaction.

Typically, babies and toddlers need a 12- to 13-hour day to rebuild sleep pressure for the right balance across a full day’s rhythm. This provides the best opportunity to achieve 11 to 12 hours sleep overnight. So if they sleep in, you want to ensure they then have sufficient time to rebuild sleep pressure for the night ahead.

Now that we understand why the start to the day impacts bedtime, we can form a plan for shifting a sleep transition based on developmental milestones. There are two approaches when forming a plan to sleep transitions: proactive and reactive. And one thing is for certain, using a smart baby monitor during either of these transition plans can improve a parent’s understanding of their little one’s sleep trends.

Setting up sleep transition shifts

When baby reaches new developmental milestones like crawling, pulling to stand or walking, it can be exciting and exhausting! It’s exciting to see your bub enter a new stage of gross moor development, but their sleep may be temperately impacted.

However, forming a proactive plan and reactive plan are based on timing – hence the names. If you’re using a proactive plan, you’d be working towards a date or starting the sleep transition prior to your little one hitting that particular milestone.

It allows parents to progressively shift their little one’s bedtime routine by 15 minutes every two days. This means every step in their routine happens slightly later than normal.

The aim of the game is to start at the beginning of the day and push breakfast, lunch and dinner times and nap time by 15 minutes.

Yet some babies and toddlers develop slightly faster than others, so you weren’t expecting it! Your first child may have started walking at 13 months and now your second child is showing signs of walking at 10 months. So, when this happens, how does a reactive plan work and is it just as effective as a proactive approach?

The answer is yes. Even if a parent starts transitioning their little one’s sleep routine weeks ahead, they can continue to do so beyond when the Bub takes its first steps. As such, a reactive approach has the same concept as a proactive plan, but the only difference is the parent is transitioning their child when the developmental milestone has happened.

Whether it’s a proactive or reactive plan, there is a solution to providing parents with peace of mind and it comes down to the Achilles’ heel of their child’s sleep – consistency.

Consistency plays a large part in adjusting a bub’s sleep. As a parent, we want to guide our little one to sleep rather than force new sleep patterns. Using a device like Owlet’s Smart Sock can give parents a better understanding of their child’s sleep patterns as it tracks sleep trends, meaning you can view the total number of hours slept, the number of times bub woke up, and their overall sleep quality. With persistence and a plan, parents will be able to smoothly shift their child’s routine leaving them more confident than ever.

By Kelly Martin, Infant & Child Sleep Consultant