What to Do about Toddler Waking Up Early?

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Does your toddler wake up earlier than you?

Perhaps you are wondering if your little one is getting enough sleep at all or if this issue of toddler waking up early is normal.

If you are starting to get concerned about your little one waking up early, or you are just curious why she does it, we’ll get your questions answered and give you pieces of advice to get her to sleep better and make sure she’s got plenty of rest.


Toddler Waking Up Early - Why Does It Happen?

Just like every parent, you want to make sure your little one gets a good night’s sleep each time.

And yes, you want more time to enjoy quiet moments and brief “me time” in the morning.

It’s absolutely normal, and we’ll help you figure out why this thing happens with your toddler.

First of all, you need to analyze if your child is actually getting more shut-eye moments. Is she sleeping for 11 hours or less? Does your child take naps in the AM?

If the problem is your child has been losing sleep and each morning is a grumpy day for her, then this can be a concern. You may even notice her wanting to nap just a couple of hours after getting up from the bed.

One possibility to solve this issue is by tucking him earlier. Maybe she has been dozing off way past her bedtime, yet wakes up before the sun rises. No wonder she’s irritable, cranky and grumpy upon waking up.

Another reason why your child is waking up early is the condition in her room. Is it dark and cozy enough for sleeping? Perhaps the light comes in through her windows, making her room quite bright and not exactly the perfect condition for sleeping longer.

This is why it helps to install drapes that can block out the light and keep her in a sleep mode for hours.

It can also be that your little one gets hungry too early. Maybe she did not get enough to eat the night before. So it is not surprising that she wakes up at 5 or earlier and feeling hungry.

Giving extra milk and making sure she has a substantial amount of food during dinner can definitely keep her in bed longer and dozing off to dreamland.

Toddlers tend to wake for a short period in the middle of the night or the wee hours before sunrise. But normally, they fall back right to sleep pretty quickly.

If this is not the case with your child, maybe she is just used to having you there all the time to soothe and rock her to sleep before bed. So when she wakes up at 2 am or something, it is hard for her to go back to sleep when you are not doing the rocking and soothing for her.

To address this issue, you need to make sure that you teach her how to get settled in bed and go back to dreamland even without your presence in her room. 

A Change May Be Needed When Toddlers Wake Up Early

In the case of some toddlers, they may not feel quite tired at daytime because they had long hours of sleep the night before.

And yes, even if they wake up earlier than what you want.

When this is the kind of situation you experience with your child, you can consider switching her bedtime to a later time. Perhaps she just needs a little less sleep than other kids, and 9 hours might suffice for her than 11.

It really is a matter of testing it out with your kid since not all toddlers are the same.

You have to find out what works best for your little one that may not be ideal for other children her age. After all, the most important thing is that it suits your child’s unique needs and serves her well.

It is also worth noting that when your toddler DOES wake up pretty early, she should not be jumping in bed. You need to teach her to relax in bed and be quiet in there for a bit more in the morning.

You can give her some cues that will let her know it is the right time to stretch and get up. Perhaps, you can play an enticing tune for a musical alarm or maybe give her a clock that chimes and lights up nicely at a specific time.

Explain to your little one that unless she hears the chime, it is still time for bed. This is why she should still remain in bed and just wait for the cue to get up. 

Practical Tips for Toddler Waking Up Early

Here are a few things you can do when you are worried about your toddler waking up early - so she can have better sleep each night.

1. Shift the Time for Bed.

This is a case of trial and error since your child may be needing less or more sleep than others. But what you can do is to move the bedtime 15 minutes later and test it out for two nights. If this works and helps her to sleep longer and wake later, then it means it is working. 

The important thing is that she does not get up feeling irritable or grumpy.

2. Ensure the Right Conditions for Longer Sleep.

There are many reasons why kids wake up earlier.

Perhaps their room is too bright, the diaper is soaking wet too early in the morning, it is too loud in their room, and so on.

You need to check which among these are true in the case of your child and take the right action to make her room conducive to a good night’s sleep.

3. Nap Times Impact their Wake Up Moments.

Maybe she has been napping for longer hours, or she is not napping enough, or she is napping too often.

In this case, you can either shorten her nap time or give one nap instead of two. Test out whatever works for your child to find out the best way to address the situation. 

Final Thought

With all these things in mind, you should be able to finally resolve this concern of your toddler waking up early. It is just a matter of knowing what works for her and to take the best action that will help the situation and give her a better quality of sleep each time.

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