My Babys Amazing Toddler Care Tips for Managing a Toddler Who Wakes Up Too Early

Tips for Managing a Toddler Who Wakes Up Too Early

Toddler Wakes Up Too Early
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It’s common for a toddler to wake up too early, but it’s not one you have to simply accept and live with. While babies and older kids are born early to wake up, if their wake-up time goes back to the early hours, it’s time to take action. While each toddler’s sleep can vary widely, most kids have sleep patterns that parents can handle. However, if the pattern includes unusual early rises, you may feel as tired as you were at birth. Depending on the nature of your toddler’s sleep, you may need to adjust your child’s wake window, nighttime environment, or your expectations.

How Much Sleep Do Toddlers Need?

While a variety of factors can cause toddlers to wake up early, the amount of sleep they get each day tends to play a role. Most young children sleep between 11 and 14 hours in a 24-hour period, with 10 to 12 of those hours occurring at night.

However, these numbers range widely, with research showing that perfectly healthy toddlers can sleep 11.4 hours in a 24-hour period, while other equally healthy children in this age group can sleep more than 16 hours.

If your child wakes up looking happy in the morning, total sleep probably isn’t an issue. Waking up grumpy is another story, and it probably tells you that they need more quality sleep at night.

If you’ve established that your child isn’t getting enough sleep, and abnormalities like teething aren’t to blame, you can address the issue by making some strategic adjustments to your sleep strategy.

How To Know If Your Toddler Is Waking Up Too Early?

If your child usually wakes up between 6:30 and 7:30 in the morning, you’ll know she wakes up too early. But now she starts calling you around 5:30 am (or earlier!).

As a refresher, toddlers 1 to 3 years old should sleep 11 to 14 hours a day, including naps and nighttime. Getting up early shortens the recommended sleep time.

A toddler who wakes up too quickly may fall asleep too early, sleeping more than she actually needs. The opposite can also happen: sometimes early-rising toddlers sleep too late, get too little sleep, and end up overtired or sleep-deprived.

Your child’s nap time and nap time may also be out of balance, which could cause a toddler to wake up too early in the morning.

Why Toddlers Wake Up Too Early

Why Toddlers Wake Up Too Early

It’s her nature. Yes, it’s true: You can have a child who loves the morning and longs to leave when the sun rises. But don’t worry, when she’s a teenager, she’ll probably be up at noon!

She misses you. Two other factors that may explain the early rise are fear of missing out on any fun that might happen and separation anxiety.

Her diaper was wet. Going to the toilet is a long process, and staying dry at night can take longer. Plus, who wants to lie in bed with a wet diaper?

She is experiencing sleep decline. Like sleep degeneration in babies, sleep degeneration in toddlers can interrupt their sleep, causing your kids to get up with the birds.

She is teething. Pain in the front teeth, canines, and upper and lower molars may also have caused her to wake up too early.

She has a new baby brother. Major life changes, such as the birth of a sibling, moving house, or starting daycare or preschool, can cause a child to get out of bed prematurely.

She would rather run. Or skip the hall, or scale that oversized sofa. A toddler’s gross motor skills, combined with better speech skills, may tempt her to get up early so she can practice.

The room is very bright. The sunlight outside the window may prompt your child to get up too early.

She heard a noise. Clinking dishes or beeping garbage trucks can also interrupt ZZZ.

Her naps have stopped. Sleeping too long or too early (or too late) during the day can disrupt the nighttime schedule and cause your child to wake up too early in the morning.

Her schedule needs to be adjusted. Whether she’s napping or getting into the habit of going to bed a little later, sometimes a toddler’s sleep schedule or bedtime falls apart. What is the result? A child who wakes up at dawn.

She is overtired. As crazy as it sounds, missing naps or staying up late can also affect your child’s wake-up time. As the saying goes, sleep leads to good sleep, and too little sleep leads to sleep deprivation at night and early rise.

It’s a habit. If you ask her to get up at 4 am (and then crawl between your sheets to snuggle next to you), she’ll keep doing it.

Tips For Getting Toddles Sleep Later

Tips For Getting Toddles Sleep Later
  • Go to bed as late as possible.

Often, the culprit for getting up early is going to bed early. Going to bed late can help, but if you switch too quickly, it could cause your child to overtire.

Instead of suddenly switching to a later bedtime, try putting your child to bed 15 minutes later every night for several nights until you reach the new bedtime. Don’t give up on your bedtime ritual — start it later. Even when making changes, keep your bedtime predictable so your child feels safe.

  • Adjust for naps. 

If closing your eyes at night doesn’t lead to early waking, daytime naps may be the problem. This will change as your child gets older. At around 12 months, your child may still be taking two naps a day. Before long, they’ll start taking just one nap. This can cause severe sleep disruption.

By 18 months, your child should have an afternoon nap. In general, naps are about two hours a day, although some toddlers sleep as little as one hour. How long these naps last and when they end can affect bedtime and even when your child wakes up in the morning. If your child naps regularly for more than two hours a day, it may be time to take a nap or try a nap.

After the age of two, your child may never nap again. Some research suggests that naps may actually impair nocturnal sleep when young children enter preschool.

  • Consider your child’s sleeping environment.

Is your child’s room comfortable? The firmness or room temperature of the mattress may not bother your child in the first place, but these issues may make it difficult for them to fall asleep in the morning.

  • Don’t forget about light levels. 

If you find that the earlier your child wakes up, the longer the day, consider installing blackout curtains, or determine if lights from other parts of the home or equipment are waking them up. Research has shown a clear link between a TV in the bedroom and sleep problems, so if you have a TV in your child’s room, consider removing it.

  • Serve a healthy, hearty dinner. 

Processed foods high in carbohydrates may not keep your child full all night. Introduce high-protein foods, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates to avoid nighttime hunger.

If your baby wakes up very early to start feeding, consider the possible need for hunger and comfort. Some toddlers are weaned at night, but for prolonged breastfeeding, waking up to feed is also normal.

  • Avoid wet diapers. 

Some toddlers are sensitive to the fullness of their diapers. You can reduce this problem by using nighttime diapers or a diaper one size larger than usual. Some parents also limit water intake at night. Even if your child is toilet trained and uses underwear during the day, they may need diapers at night.


Patience, consistency, and an understanding of the child and his needs are the keys to the success of this process. Be firm, be loving, and good morning is just around the corner! Wishing you many happy mornings together!

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