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Toddler Wakes at 5AM and Won’t Go Back to Bed

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Early Riser Toddler Won't go Back to Bed

It can be hard to get a child to sleep through the night – but what if they are habitually waking early? 

One mother emailed me and her 3 yr old son who complained that anything she offered for him to do alone, read or watch TV he refused to do. If she didn’t let him in her bed, he would cry until he woke his 10 mo old sister. NOW there are TWO wailing children to contend with at 5:30 am.  Ugh!

Is this how you start your day? Are you sleep deprived from this regime?

Here was my reply:

Thanks for the email. He is an early riser and you are not. He can rise early (try to make him stop –  HA!)  and that is okay – but he must be a co-operative human in  your house  and realize he doesn’t have the right to distrub others when he wakes.

So…. tonight at tuck-ins, let him know YOU are not to be woken until 7 am (or whenever) and set an alarm for him so he knows when it will be 7am, then ask him what he would like to do alone from when he wakes till 7am?   So long as he is safe and non-distrubing it shouldn’t matter to you…

The fact that he is saying "the TV is too bright" "the hall is too   dark" is all just ways of eliminating the options you have offered in order to get to being social with you! TOUGH – you are NOT an option at 5:30 am and he must be left to deal with the true fact that life at 5:30 am is BORING and hopefully he will either LEARN to self-entertain, not  be afraid of  the dark, give up minding the TV brightness or go  back to sleep.

To ensure he doesn’t distrub you, you can put a childproof handle on the outside of YOUR bedroom door.   Its okay if he scream and bang for the first few mornings (say NOTHING) so he learns that there is NO mommy interaction until 7am. 

If the  baby cries – leave her too. Now he has a crying sister and no  mom!  Boy – better not be stuck like that again!!!  The baby will  settle again (good training for her too) or he’ll go play with her and the two of them  can keep each other company.  They’d  learn it’s no fun, lots of tears,  boring and maybe a bit scary to  be up and alone without mom.  Let  him / them experience this a  few times (the baby will learn to sleep  through the noise of her  brother) and they both will learn there is no good reason to get up before 7am.

Good luck!


About Alyson

Alyson has been blogging parenting advice for over 15 years. She has been a panelist at BlogWest, Blissdom, #140NYC and more. Her content appears on sites across Canada and the US, but you can read all her own blog posts right here.

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