How do I keep my toddler from waking too early?

Here are some ideas on how to keep your toddler in bed a little longer in the mornings.

I’d first make sure the room is blacked out and then look at white noise. Rain sounds, ocean sounds. One track I recommend is Weightless by Marconi Union – it helps reduce anxiety (you can find this in the iTunes store). It’s really hard during the summer months when it gets lighter early to stay asleep because we’ve got birds cawing as early as 3:00 in the morning!

I’d also be looking at something like a Gro-clock which would be a visual cue to let your little one know when it’s okay to get up. I wouldn’t recommend these for under two-year-olds, but two and a half is totally fine. Any younger and they won’t understand that yellow equals getting up and blue equals staying in bed. The beauty of this is you get to set the time.

With the Gro-clock, instead of just setting it to an hour later (which would be really hard for a toddler to adjust to overnight), I’d suggest gradually shift out her mornings. So because we want to set them up for success, I’d be setting the clock 15 minutes earlier than she already wakes. So if she’s waking at 5:00 AM, I’d be setting it for 04:45 AM. You want to make this really easy for her to get.

Set it up by really talking about it to her during the day – “we don’t get up until the sun is up!” You’re making it almost impossible for her to fail. Of course, the sun’s going to be up, because she only wakes at 05:00 AM.

Once you’ve got her hooked on that positive reinforcement, after a couple of days start shifting it later. Start in increments of 5 minutes, maybe 10. There is no harm in going backwards if she sleeps a bit, but you have to gradually shift it forward, so that she gets hooked on that positive reinforcement. You’ve made a huge deal about how awesome she is that she waited for the sun to come up. Then slowly move the time later.


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