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 toddlers to stay in bed longer so you can all get more sleep

How to get kids to stay in bed in the morning?

R. writes,

“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.

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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: alissa@bouncebackparenting.com