My toddler wakes up too early: how to train her to stay in bed longer

If your toddler wakes very early every morning it’s really hard on you as the parent.

The big problem here is that toddlers are too young to read clocks, so they can’t tell that it’s too early to get up.  Fortunately, there are some techniques you can try even before your toddler is old enough to tell the time:

1. Get blackout curtains. It can be hard to convince a child it’s still night if the sun is shining outside, so stretch out the night time a little longer by creating your own darkness.

2. If child is waking up because she’s thirsty or needs the toilet, give her a drink or a trip to the bathroom then encourage her back to bed by explaining it’s still night-time.

3. Set up a nightlight and a timer so that the nightlight comes on at 6am (or whatever time you choose). Then explain to your toddler that they should play or read books until the light comes on.

4. Get a Gro Clock – an alarm clock specially designed for toddler sleep training. The clock displays stars to show it’s night time and then you set it so that a sun is displayed when it’s time to get up.

5. For older toddlers with a digital alarm clock, cover all the digits except the first one with a piece of paper and explain that wake-up time is when they see the ‘6’ (or whatever time you choose!)

If the child won’t sleep, encourage her to play or read quietly in her room until it’s ‘wake-up time’.  There’s a good chance that, once your child has had a little of the sleep training above, that she will start to sleep until later.

For more tips on getting your child to sleep until later, take a look at how to stop your toddler from waking up too early.