My toddler wakes up too early! – Ways to get kids sleeping later
Is your toddler waking at 5am? Waking up you and maybe the rest of your family? Here are ideas for how to get toddlers to sleep later, or at least bring more peace to the morning. From toddler alarm clocks that let kids know when it’s time to rise, to activities for early risers; this collection of ideas will help know what to do when your toddler wakes up too early. This post contains affiliate links when products are recommended.
How to get kids to stay in bed in the morning?
“I was wondering if you and your readers could help me with bed time difficulties. Mainly the issue is that my children wake up very early and once they’re up they disturb each other or everyone else!! I have a two boys 5 and 3 1/2. The 5 year old used to wake up and stay in his room till I went to get him at 7am. The 3 year old has always woken up early and gets up and down a million times to go to the toilet (just an excuse to get out of his room). They’ve now started going into each other’s rooms to play which soon turns to arguments.
I’m frustrated that they don’t just stay in their rooms till 7am, which I consider a reasonable waking time, reading / playing with toys quietly. I’ve tried all sorts of reward charts, rewards etc etc but nothing seems to work.
I hope you can offer some advice!”
Ideas for when your toddler wakes up too early:
Toddler Alarm Clocks
Dhara said, “What about getting a toddler clock and setting it to 7 am and having one in each their rooms? I have the ok to wake one and my 3 year knows that she’s to stay in bed until the light turns green.”
- Find our picks for the best toddler wake up clocks here.
Ideas from Bounceback Parents to help everyone get more sleep:
- My two year old is learning this skill as well. It’s not something we are comfortable allowing, him dictating this part of his schedule. I follow the same procedure as I did for staying in a big boy bed at night. No talking. Just taking him back to bed and covering him up and leaving. When it gets intense I can stand or sit by the door without interacting until he complies. It’s a few mornings of early waking so we can work together and help him understand our expectations.
Understand that this part of our parenting is because our son becomes very anxious when he does not get enough rest. ~Amanda B.
- When we went screen-free my three year old started sleeping 7p-8:30 AM. From a previous 8:30p-6am. It might be worth a one month trial? ~Emily K.
- I personally would not expect either kid to stay in their rooms til a certain time. Both my boys (4 and 1) are early risers, and the thing about kids is that they just cannot WAIT for another day to start. Yippee, it’s another day that I get to be this awesome! I imagine they are thinking Early mornings are just one of the many sacrifices of parenthood. Trying to reason with kids that age is pointless. My only suggestion (and this would take more work and planning that may not be worth whatever extra time you might get) is to provide a novel activity for each of them to do in the morning. Like set it out the night before for them to find when they wake up, and then maybe they’ll keep busy for a while (homemade play dough with cookie cutters, mazes for the older child, etc). ~ Annie H.
- Need activity ideas for early morning risers? These independent play activities may give ideas.
You may also be interested in:
- How to choose a good alarm clock for kids – once your child is starting to read a clock they can start getting themselves up before school on their own.
- Revolutionary Tips for a Great Morning Routine for Your Child – Help your big kids get to school on time without the fighting.
- Tips for starting a new routine – ways to ease transitions
- Help for the witching hour – what can make the afternoon and evening better?
Readers, what would you suggest? Some questions that are better answered by the collective wisdom of the Bounceback Parenting community rather than just me. Share what you know in the comments! If you have experience or helpful ideas, please leave your comment! To submit your own reader question you may email me at: [email protected]
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Im very lucky when it comes to my 17month old. We changed her crib into a bed about 3months ago. We share a room so her daddy leaves for work at 630, at about 730 she crawls into bed with me, and i either turn on cartoons and she snuggles up but lately shes been going back to sleep till about 930-10. Keep in mind my daughter is like me, shes never been a morning person and she doesnt go to sleep till about 830-9. Her doctor said as long as shes getting about 11-12hours a night it doesnt matter what time she falls asleep and that some children are night hawks…im so thankful shes like me in that sense because im really not a morning person either
I personally put them back to bed quietly and stroke them gently until they drop off. Unless they are really upset and then I would let them into our bed. But as a rule I don’t really want my kids in my bed unless it’s wake up morning cuddles 🙂
Jeanneen Maria Peterinelli
Nope let them come.. They’re only little for so long & you’ll wish that they were again trust me! My 19 yr old is at college. She slept & held my hand to fall asleep till 15. In a bed right next to mine!
Selfishness & parenting do NOT coexist together well. So suck it up till they’re gone, because you wish they could be back again! TRUST ME,
Walk them back to bed, don’t talk. They learn there’s no point getting out of bed
Nicole Morkert Hashimoto
I have read about making some ‘anti-monster spray’. You just help your child decorate some empty squirt bottle, fill it with water, and maybe add some scented essential oil. Lavender is pretty calming for night time. Also some people have said giving them a small, cool flashlight let’s them look around the room until they fall asleep. Other than that, since I was ready to march my daughter back to her room every single time she invaded on my side of the bed, she quickly learned to invade dada instead, as he is a complete push over, and would indulge her. Guess who got the feet to the ear? Not him!
I have a grand son that will not sleep in his room so his Mom put his bed in her room right next to thier bed and she holds his hand until he falls asleep and if she lets go he wakes up and wants her hand how can she break him of this he is their only child and he’s going to be five at the end of the month and has never slept in his bed without Mom she needs help with this !
Snuggle time when mine woke up early and the take care of themself (read a book, pour some cereal) till mommy was out of bed, now I miss it they grow up so fast.
Joan Prusky Glass
7:00 is sleeping in in my house! My two year old gets up between 4 and 5 every morning
One of my most precious memories of my two little girls (they are now mummy’s themselves) was them coming through early in the mornings and cuddling with us. This was such a special ‘together’ time. A beautiful way to begin a new day! Now my precious grandchildren when sleeping over do the same and I couldn’t think of anything better. I will be sad when they are too big to do it….. Because time passes so quickly.
Desiree Ann Carrasco Smith
My oldest would wake up with sun and come running into our room shouting the suns up mommy time to get up the suns up mommy. Mommy time to get up
Dawn Czarnecki Seshadri
He would run out of his room in the morning saying “Bunny awake! Bunny awake!” Such a sweet memory. 🙂
Dawn Czarnecki Seshadri
I used this clock. My son was not allowed to come out until the bunny was awake. https://www.amazon.com/KidSleep-KSCLB-Classic-Blue/dp/B000VVIHPS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413115991&sr=8-1&keywords=bunny+clock
Michelle Lubbers you could be talking about our house! 100% same story….little sister and all! 😉
Amanda Layne Armstrong
I gave up but now mr 7 has started going in and waking his brother up, so not cool when he wakes up at 5 am and little brother normally sleeps till 8am
Nicole Morkert Hashimoto
he gets right up and comes right back. got the special clock, here’s hoping. need whiskey. send help.
My little boy did this til very recently. His dad has started to take him straight back into bed and tells him it’s not time to wake up yet (I think if It were me saying that to him he would get upset and want to get into our bed!) To my surprise he does go back to sleep now til around 7am
Gro clock, toys r us, best thing ever!!!!
Nicole Morkert Hashimoto
Wishing my 2 1/2 year old would stay in bed. HE comes a running every single morning, anywhere between 4-5:30, and crawls all over me. Would be something if he could slip in quietly and leave asleep, but this is torture.
Heather Lynn Head
I’m going to try this soon!
We deal with this every single day. It doesn’t help that our boys (6 & 4) share a room. Oldest child always got himself a snack and watched TV quietly. Once second boy was old enough to do the same, the loud normal boy play commences no matter the time. Oldest is very independent and self entertained, second child has never liked being alone or the quiet type (birth order ?) so he calls out for his brother and wakes the whole house including his younger sister. A little quiet in the early morning would go a long way since my husband works late nights. But I think that is too much to ask from a 4-yr-old who is just excited about life and starting a brand new day. I’m not holding my breath, it is just how he is wired. Unique personalities make the world a better place.
Sara Byus Earhart
*needed so that they could exert that independence, and to allow them to listen to their body’s cues for waking/getting moving.
Sara Byus Earhart
At five, my oldest could get up out of bed, go potty, and go downstairs, feed our dog and let him out to potty, to play, eat a snack/partial breakfast, and/or turn on a cartoon for him and his brother. They are early risers, so I taught them the skills