How To Stop Your Toddler Waking at 5 am

baby sleeping through the night guide

 

What to do when your toddler wakes up too early- 5 essential steps5 am wakings. They have to be the worst part of parenting a toddler, right? I remember the pain of my toddler waking up too early like it was yesterday.

My daughter was 2 years old and suddenly started waking at 5 am, ready to start the day. Like any exhausted parent desperate for 20 more minutes of sleep, I took her into the living room and turned on cartoons. [Warning- NEVER do this!]

You can imagine what happened next… Every single day after that, she woke at 5 am yelling “Buddies!” (Her word for cartoons. Super cute, but not at 5 am.)

I quickly realized that my early waking 2 year old had developed a habit that wasn’t going to stop on its own. I needed a strategy to get her sleeping later ASAP.

Admittedly, I am a “morning person.” But more like a “7 am morning person.” No amount of coffee can make waking at 5 am feel good. Given the volume of emails I get with the subject “Help! My toddler’s waking up too early!” I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one that feels this way.

I bet you’ve tried it all- moving bedtime later, then earlier- but still you have a toddler waking at 5 am calling for you.

Maybe it started after the clocks changed or a vacation. And like me, you fell into the habit of starting your day way too early. Now you realize it’s a dreadful habit that needs to be stopped, but you have no idea how to do it!

Well, I’m happy to report that my toddler’s early risings were stopped just by changing around her sleep routine. In less than a week, she was sleeping until 7 am! Later mornings = happy mama.

These tips haven’t just helped my daughter. I’ve been sharing them with exhausted parents for several years and they work! You can stop your toddler waking early when you do the following 8 steps.

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RELATED: Sleep Training Methods Explained

 

How To Stop Your Toddler Waking Early

 

  1. Give your toddler an appropriate bedtime
  2. Have active days & peaceful evenings
  3. Offer a bedtime snack
  4. Create a sleep-friendly environment
  5. Get your toddler sleeping through the night
  6. No fun before 6 am
  7. Limit nap time
  8. Rule out a sleep regression

 

I’m Making a Toddler Sleep Program! I’d love your advice. Click Here.

 

Step 1: Give your toddler an appropriate bedtime

 

Sometimes the simple act of tweaking your toddler’s bedtime immediately results in later mornings. In fact, research shows that a consistent and age-appropriate bedtime leads to longer sleep, less aggression and better attention span in children. (Wow! Just from the right bedtime?!)

Toddler’s body clocks are naturally programmed for bedtime between 6:30-8 pm. When you work with your toddler’s body clock, and give her a bedtime that naturally suits her body clock, she’ll sleep better overnight. This typically means she’ll wake less often at night and sleep later in the morning.

This may seem counterintuitive, but I’ve seen it work with hundreds of children! If you’re struggling with a toddler waking up early everyday, move bedtime earlier. Maybe 7 pm works better than 7:30 pm for her.

Once you find your toddler’s bedtime “sweet spot” she’ll naturally sleep better at night. Try to keep bedtime within a 15 minute range every night. For example, your toddler is always asleep between 7-7:15 pm everyday.

Toddlers can be expected to sleep 11-12 hours at night. So finding the ideal bedtime is a delicate balance. If your little one’s bedtime is 6 pm, you can bet she’ll be awake by 6 am… latest.

So if your toddler’s bedtime is 7 pm, she can be expected to sleep until 6-7 am. A dream for parents struggling with 5 am wakings!

 

 

 RELATED: How to Get a Resistant Toddler to Nap

 

Step 2: Have active days & peaceful evenings

 

Toddlers need to run around outside, play and burn off energy during the day in order to sleep well at night.

Make a point of taking your toddler outside in the morning and afternoon, ideally one hour each. Time spent running in the yard, climbing at the playground or walking the neighborhood helps your little one burn off enough energy to be able to settle easily and sleep well.

On rainy or cold days, just 15 minutes outside twice a day can be enough. Resist the urge to clock up on screen time on bad weather days. Not only does this prevent our toddlers from having physical activity, it can actually overstimulate and wire them. This makes it especially hard to relax the body and brain.

Painting, puzzles, Play-Doh, building blocks and other creative activities give your toddler the mental stimulation they need when trapped indoors.

In addition to active days, toddlers need peaceful downtime in the early evening to prepare them for sleep.

You want to “set the scene for relaxation” 1-2 hours before bedtime. Dim the lights and turn off the TV or any electronic gadgets. Try to reduce any noise or stimulation that could excite your toddler. This sends the signal to your toddler’s brain and body that it’s ok to relax, a necessary precursor to sleep.

Overstimulation or too much excitement before bed is something you want to avoid! Otherwise your toddler may be too energized to fall asleep, push bedtime later and continue the early waking cycle.

 

Indoor Activities for Your Toddler

Click to order on

Kids Painting Kit

Wooden Peg Puzzle

Play-Doh

Building Blocks

RELATED: How To Create a Peaceful Bedtime Routine that Lulls Your Child to Sleep

 

Step 3: Offer a bedtime snack

 

Sometimes your toddler’s early wakings are due to hunger. For example, if your little one sleeps 11 hours at night and dinner is 2 hours before bedtime, that’s 13 hours without food. That may be too long for him.

To rule out the possibility that your toddler is hungry at 5 am, offer a light snack at bedtime. A few whole grain crackers or string cheese may be enough to hold him over until morning.  

[Important] In addition to a snack at bedtime, you need to make sure your toddler eats enough during the day. This prevents nighttime hunger. Offer your toddler a meal or snack every 2-3 hours during the day.

 

Step 4: Create a sleep-friendly environment

 

This is one of the first tips I give parents. I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve gotten with the subject “He slept until 7 am!” after only one night with a few tweaks to their toddler’s bedroom.

My Exhausted Mom’s Starter Kit shows you exactly how to set up your toddler’s sleep environment so they fall asleep easier and sleep better at night. It’s got ALL the info you need, and the best part is – you can start all the tips TONIGHT!

 

 

Step 5: Get your toddler sleeping through the night

 

Overtired children sleep worse than well-rested children. (Another crazy and counterintuitive aspect of toddler sleep.)

If your toddler is waking during the night and not getting the long, restful sleep that she needs, she’ll become overtired. But rather than snoozing until 8 am, overtiredness makes kids wake early in the morning.

When toddlers don’t get enough sleep or have broken sleep, their systems become overstimulated. This makes them sleep lightly and wake often.

Your toddler will sleep deeper and longer once she’s sleeping through the night.

One- and two-year olds can be expected to sleep 11-12 hours straight at night. Unless your toddler has weight gain issues, she shouldn’t need night feeds.

My sleep training program shows you how to set your toddler up to sleep great at night. I offer various gentle sleep training methods for parents to choose from. Your toddler is definitely old enough to sleep train! If you’re ready to make the change, we’ll be waiting for you in my program. 

 

Step 6: No fun before 6 am

 

Let me just say, there is zero judgment from me if you pull your little one into your bed or play cartoons at 5 am. (Remember? I’ve been there…) I know how it feels to be desperate for just 30 minutes more sleep.

But here’s the thing. Toddlers can’t tell time. So if your toddler gets used to nursing, coming into your bed or screen time during early wakings, he will continue waking early. In fact, most little ones start waking at 4 am. Then 3 am. Then midnight, and crying until parents give in out of desperation.

As you may have guessed, the way to fix this is to treat a 5 am waking the same way you treat a midnight waking. You wouldn’t take your toddler out of the crib, make a coffee and start your day, right? So don’t do this at 5 am either.

It can be difficult the first few nights of making new changes, but it’s imperative you treat ALL wakings before 6 am as night wakings.

  • If your little one doesn’t get fed during the night, don’t start feeding at 5 am. (Especially if he never falls back asleep after this feed.)
  • If your toddler falls asleep on his own during other parts of the night, don’t start helping him back to sleep at 5 am.
  • If you don’t play cartoons at 2 am, then don’t play them at 5 am either.

Children need consistency. It’s the only way they learn and adapt to new sleep routines. When your toddler understands that every night waking results in the same outcome (he stays in bed and falls back asleep) then he’ll adapt and comply! 

So remember, zero fun before 6 am.

 

Step 7: Limit nap time

 

Most 1 year olds can nap 2-3 hours during the day and still sleep well at night. However, once your toddler turns 2, sleep needs begin to change.

Specifically, naps may begin interfering with night sleep if they’re too long.

I recommend you adjust naps only after doing all the above steps. It’s the final tweak we make to stop your 2 year old waking up too early. And it only works when your toddler falls asleep on his own at an age-appropriate bedtime, and sleeps all night in a blacked out bedroom with white noise.

Does this describe your toddler’s sleep? If so, follow these nap-limiting guidelines:

 

Limit your toddler’s nap to

• 2 years old: 2 hrs

• 2.5 years old: 1.5 hrs

• 3 years old: 1 hr

 

 

RELATED: How & When Do Babies Transition to One Nap?

 

Step 8: Rule out a sleep regression

 

If your toddler’s waking up early all of a sudden, with no change in her sleep schedule, it could be a regression. This is especially true if she’s also fighting bedtime, waking suddenly at night or resisting naps.

Sleep regressions are sudden disruptions in sleep for a child who was sleeping well. These disruptions come at predictable times because they are associated with developmental milestones. 

There can be sleep regressions around 18 months and when your toddler turns 2. So if your toddler’s suddenly waking up early, consider a sleep regression.

These two videos explain sleep regressions in more detail, how to recognize the signs and give tips on what you can do.

 

 

 

RELATED: Is your toddler fighting nap time? Find out when toddlers can stop napping here.

 

 

Starting your day at 5 am with a tired toddler is exhausting for everyone. Rest assured, you can get your toddler waking later every morning by making a few changes to their sleep routine.

Make sure your toddler is not hungry or overtired. Move toward an age-appropriate and consistent bedtime. Make sure the bedroom is sleep-friendly. (My Exhausted Mom’s Starter Kit walks you through this!) Eliminate night wakings. And as a final step, trim down naps if needed.

These 8 steps work together to help your child sleep deeper and longer. Once you’ve implemented these changes, your toddler will sleep through the dreaded early hours. And you’ll both wake at a more acceptable hour. Every parent’s dream!

a guide for parents to help their baby sleep better

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162 Comments

  1. Anna

    Hellllppp! My sixteen month old is waking up at 4:45. He has always been an earlier riser, usually 5-5:30 (zombie here) and I feel like I have tried everything—later bedtime, earlier bedtime, moving naps around to try to adjust his wake windows, etc. he dropped to one nap before 12 months because he wasn’t consistently sleeping in the afternoon. The last week he has been tossing and turning and waking up a lot at night. I’m out of ideas!

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Anna,

      Those early wakings can be SO tough! Check out our 1 year old sleep guide here for more helpful tips and timings. We would love to help you work on a personalized schedule to ensure your LO starts waking later in the morning!

      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/1-year-old-sleep-tips-toddler

      We can definitely help you get your LO’s sleep on track and get your entire family sleeping better! We can provide the best support to your family in our 21 Days to Peace & Quiet program.

      In this program we offer 4 step-by-step sleep training methods. You choose the one that feels best for your LO. We have super gentle & gradual all the way to quick & efficient. Each step of the way you get advice based on your baby’s developmental stage, energy levels, and temperament.

      Two of our package options include personalized support and I find this to be so beneficial during the sleep training journey! Jilly and members of our support team answer questions 7 days a week in our private FB group and we host 3 Zoom calls per week! You will always feel like you have the support you need every step of the way.
      You can find out more info on the program here: https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/21-days-to-peace-quiet-program
      When you are 100% consistent in following the steps of the program, your baby will be sleeping amazingly within 1-3 weeks. It depends on the method you choose as well as your baby’s adaptability, but we cover all of this in the program!

      Happy to answer any questions you have. We hope we get the chance to help you and your LO on this sleep journey!
      Have a great day!
      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  2. Kirsten

    Hi! Thank you for the great information in this post. I have a 13 month old that has been struggling with sleep for a few months and we are all out of ideas. Every night is different for him, sometime he wakes between 11:00pm-12:00pm and sometimes he wakes between 3:00am-4:00am. We have not transitioned him away from bottles yet because they are the only thing that helps him go back to sleep. If he wakes around 11:00pm-12:00pm, he will drink a bottle and fall back asleep pretty quickly. However, if he wakes around 3:00am-4:00am, it will take him up to an hour to fall back asleep after his bottle and we usually end up having to make a 2nd bottle. His wake times are different each day depending on what time he wakes up at night, and then his naps are affected as well. He is still taking 2 naps a day, one 2-hour nap in the morning anytime between 9:00am-11:30am and a second 1-hour nap in the afternoon around 2:30. We put him down for bed around 7:15 each night. Our pediatrician says nighttime sleep is all about daytime calories or it could be teething, and suggests giving Motrin 30 minutes before bed. Our son eats three meals a day and we offer 2-3 snacks throughout the day and he gets a bottle of milk before his naps. I’m not sure how else we can get him more calories than he’s already getting. I’m expecting another baby in 6 weeks so any additional advice you have would be greatly appreciated! Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Becca Fuentes

      Hi Kirsten,
      Thank you so much for reaching out to us! I’m sorry that you’re struggling with your little ones night wakings. We have seen this many times before and it sounds like he has a sleep association with his bottle. At his age, he can definitely get through the night without a night feed but the bottle is giving him the comfort he is desiring in order to resettle himself. Some babies need our help to learn how to self-soothe and resettle themselves to go back to sleep. Our programs gives many different options on ways to do this that works best for you, your baby and your family. I think this would be a great time for you to look into our programs. We have a 30 day money back guarantee so if it doesn’t work for you, you can always get your money back since you should see results in just 21 days.

      We can provide the best support to your family in our 21 Days to Peace & Quiet program.
      In this program we offer 4 step-by-step sleep training methods. You choose the one that feels best for your LO. We have super gentle & gradual all the way to quick & efficient. Each step of the way you get advice based on your baby’s developmental stage, energy levels, and temperament.

      Two of our package options include personalized support and I find this to be so beneficial during the sleep training journey! Jilly and members of our support team answer questions 7 days a week in our private FB group and we host 2-3 Zoom calls per week! You will always feel like you have the support you need every step of the way.

      21 Days to Peace and Quiet: https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/21-days-to-peace-quiet-program

      When you are 100% consistent in following the steps of the program, your baby will be sleeping amazingly within 1-3 weeks. It depends on the method you choose as well as your baby’s adaptability, but we cover all of this in the program!

      Happy to answer any questions you have. We hope we get the chance to help you and your LO on this sleep journey!

      Have a great day!
      Becca, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  3. Tara Thompson

    Hi there! At around 12 months, my daughters sleep started going all over the place. Nights were not affected much but naps were hit or miss. Now at 16 months we decided to transition to one nap because two just wasn’t working. She is still figuring out how to lengthen that one nap so if she wakes early we leave her in the crib to fall back to sleep and really encourage around a 2hr nap. Since then she has started with early morning wakings between 4-5 and will cry for up to 20 min. Do I need to change anything or just power through the transition and hope it all works out? It’s been about a week of one nap

    6:30 wake
    12-2 nap (May wake once or twice during)
    Bedtime 7-7:30 depending on quality of nap

    Thank you for your help!!

    Reply
  4. Azure

    Hello!
    My 13 month old has recently started waking at 5:30 AM, when he used to sleep until 7-7:30. He’s always been a good sleeper. He’s a daycare baby and transitioned to the toddler room, where they nap from 12:30-2:30. This makes his morning wake window extremely large. At home, we mimic the one nap because he struggled with 2 naps (the last one was 20 minutes at best). He does great with 1 nap. We let him sleep from 12-2:30 usually, but I tried moving his nap to 11:30-1:30 with these new early wakings. Bedtime is usually 7:15-7:30. Thanks for your advice!

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello!

      I would agree that you should move the nap earlier (awake time of 4.5/5 hours max before nap 1) and do an earlier bedtime if needed! Check out this guide for more helpful tips! Best, Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      TODDLER / 1 YR SLEEP TIPS:
      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/1-year-old-sleep-tips-toddler

      Reply
  5. Amanda C.

    Hi there,
    My 18m old has never slept late, but at this point the 4:45am wake up are killing us. We have spoken with sleep consultants and truly tried everything. We are totally at a loss.
    We have blackout shades, sound machines, she falls asleep independently with not crying or fuss for nap and bedtime (and always has), her diaper is not leaking, she knows how to self soothe when she wakes up in the middle of the night always goes back, etc. We have tried limiting daytime sleep and shifting bedtimes. She is tired at nap time and night and ready for bed/rest, happy to go in her crib.
    Nothing has ever made any difference. Here is her current schedule:
    4:45-5:15am: wake up
    6-6:15am: we get her out of crib
    12:30: naptime (she sleeps 2-3 hours)
    7pm: bedtime (she previously was 6:30 and she shifted to try to help with early wakings)

    Our pediatrician is a firm believer that she should absolutely not be going to bed later than 7pm and I truthfully don’t believe she can handle later. It’s also for sure best for our families schedule.

    Any help or ideas is GREATLY appreciated!
    Oh, and ps, it’s not hunger! She eats tons and in the morning isn’t even that excited about her milk. It’s not like she’s grabbing it right away or anything!

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hi!

      Thanks so much for your message and I am sorry your LO has been waking so early! Those early wakings can be super tough. There is an 18 month old regression at this age and that could be contributing a little bit too! Toddlers can handle less awake time in the morning but more before bedtime. I would move your LO’s nap up by an hour. I would aim for 5 hours of awake time before nap and 5.5/6 hours before bed. It can take a week or so for your LO to adjust to the new schedule. Trying to follow a “by the clock” schedule at this point will really help! Best, Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  6. Rebecca

    Please help! My 2 1/2 year old has been waking at 4.20am every day for the past 3 weeks. I’ve tired black out blinds, she has a grow clock and nothing seems to work. She wakes up shouting out for me and is so stubborn will still be doing it 30/40 mins later. This then wakes my 4 year old who is now falling to sleep at pre-school because she is so tired. After 30/40 mins of screaming from her and a unhappy 4 year old I end up getting up. My 2 year old has a 1 hour sleep around 12-1pm. And goes to bed every night at 7pm and is generally asleep by 7.30pm. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated even just an extra hour till 5.30am I would love right now.

    X

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Rebecca,

      This sounds super tough! I would try to alter the schedule a little but if possible and aim for an earlier nap since she is waking so early. You can start your day around 6am, nap around 11:30-12:30/1 (90 minutes is ideal at this age) and then aim for a 6:30pm bedtime. An earlier bedtime can often lead to later wakings. Give this a try for a solid 2 weeks to see if it helps!

      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/2-year-old-sleep-problems-solutions

      Best,
      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  7. Melissa

    Hello and thanks for your wonderful article! I have a 20 month old who has always slept great, and until this past week, has slept until 7:15-7:30 every morning regularly. However, last weekend, we had to travel for a family event and as the event was from 1pm to 4pm, my son missed his nap. Due to the car travel, he had approximately a 30 minute car nap at 10am on both Saturday and Sunday. The next morning, he woke at 6am, but I figured it was because of his terrible naps and wasn’t worried. But now, several days later, he’s still waking up early (5:30 this morning!) could this still be because of his bad naps this past weekend or is this my new normal??

    His bedtime is usually 7:30 (that hasn’t changed) and he usually naps from 1-3 or 3:30pm every day.

    Thank you for your help!

    Reply
    • Micaela

      Hello Melissa, there might be some residue but I would also take note if it goes better or worse when he naps 2.5h. Also, if he is waking up 2h earlier than usual his nap needs to be earlier too and bedtime too as a consequence. This is temporary and it’ll help him gain lost sleep. As you can see his wake-up time go back to normal adjust the schedule. Hope this helps, if you have any trouble and would love our help check out our sleep training programs here https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/get-help-now/
      Micaela BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  8. Martina

    Hi,

    My 13 yo is an early riser, 5:30 / 5, and we really want to push his wakeup time to at least 6 (7 would be a dream!).

    He is usually very tired in the mornings and ready to have a nap around 9. But since he started daycare a month ago, he’s transitioned out of that morning nap.
    Now he has 1 nap from 12:30 to 3:30 at his daycare. Then has dinner at 7, a bath, and is in bed by 8. He goes to sleep on his own, we put him down drowsy but awake after a bit of breastfeeding or sometimes a bottle.

    He sometimes wakes up at 2 or 3 am, cries for 1 or 2 minutes, and goes back to sleep on his own.
    When he wakes up at 5 though, he stands up and starts crying to the top of his lungs. I tried making him sleep a bit more with us in bed, but all he wants to do is play.

    Lately, it feels like each day he is waking earlier and earlier, so we want to intervene now before he starts waking up at 4!
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Micaela

      Hello Martina,
      13mo is a bit early to transition to one nap but there is nothing you can do about it when he is at daycare. Try to see if he will still have two naps at home.

      You can check here our 1y old sleeping guide https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/1-year-old-sleep-tips-toddler so you’ll have an overview of your Lo’s needs (awake times, ideal bedtime…).

      If you want to check out our sleep training program 21 Days to Peace and Quiet it’ll definitely help you solve all the issues you have mentioned in your comment 😉
      Happy to answer any other questions you have about the program.
      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/21-days-to-peace-quiet-program/

      Micaela BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  9. Neil

    Hello, Our 17 mo daughter is waking up at 530am. We would like her to wake at 630 if possible. She used to sleep at 715 pm to 615-630 am. She naps at 1230 for almost 2 hr. She wakes up in a good mood in the morning. She has napped once daily since 14 months.
    We tried moving her bedtime a little later (730-745) but it does not seem to make
    much difference.
    Any help appreciated to get her to sleep in a little longer!

    Reply
  10. Jillian

    Thanks for helpful tips.
    So my 3yo has been on a strict schedule for her whole life basically but since we moved her to her big girl bed she will wake up once screaming. When we go in and tell her to go back to sleep she does. But it’s waking my newborn (and is!). She just doesn’t want to sleep anymore. She says she wants to play. We put her down at 7 and this has been happening around 5-6. She used to always sleep until 7. Any other ideas of what to do. We’ve tried stickers. Night lights that go off at 7am to signal wake up. Nothing works. Her afternoon nap is 1-1.5 hrs

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello!

      I can completely relate–similar thing just happened to my 3 year old when we moved to the big bed as well. Totally normal at this age. First, I recommend capping the nap to 45/60 minutes at 3 years old. Make sure your white noise is going ALL night long for your 3 year old and your newborn. Continue to use the light system and tell her she needs to stay in bed and it is quiet time until the light goes off. For a 3 year old, 12 hours of sleep is great in a day, so if her nap is 1 hour, then 11 hours of sleep is developmentally appropriate at this age. Try shortening the nap first, but then you may want to move wakeup time to 6/6:30 since she may not be tired anymore! Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  11. Jillian

    Thanks for helpful tips.
    So my 3yo has been on a strict schedule for her whole life basically but since we moved her to her big girl bed she will wake up once screaming. When we go in and tell her to go back to sleep she does. But it’s waking my newborn (and is!). She just doesn’t want to sleep anymore. She says she wants to play. We put her down at 7 and this has been happening around 5-6. She used to always sleep until 7. Any other ideas of what to do. We’ve tried stickers. Night lights that go off at 7am to signal wake up. Nothing works. Her afternoon nap is 1-1.5 hrs

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello!

      I can completely relate–similar thing just happened to my 3 year old when we moved to the big bed as well. Totally normal at this age. First, I recommend capping the nap to 45/60 minutes at 3 years old. Make sure your white noise is going ALL night long for your 3 year old and your newborn. Continue to use the light system and tell her she needs to stay in bed and it is quiet time until the light goes off. For a 3 year old, 12 hours of sleep is great in a day, so if her nap is 1 hour, then 11 hours of sleep is developmentally appropriate at this age. Try shortening the nap first, but then you may want to move wakeup time to 6/6:30 since she may not be tired anymore! Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  12. Nicole Riccardo

    My daughter is 19 months old. She used to sleep in the morning until between 7 and 7:40 with naptime 12:30-2:30/3 and bedtime 7:45/8. Some days she sleeps that time but recently she has been waking up at 5:30/6 and is acting fine to start the day but it makes mom and dad feel exhausted. She sleeps throughout the night, doesn’t wake up. She is also not a big eater so I don’t know if it is that or a sleep regression. Help me. She used to be such a great sleeper. I just want her to sleep until at least 7.

    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Nicole,

      It sounds like your LO is going through a sleep regression. If your LO is content hanging out in the crib, I would definitely continue to keep her in her crib until 7am so she knows that morning time doesn’t start until then. Also, limit any sugars or screen time before bed. Try to get her outside as much as possible. Lots of fresh air and physical activity can help during a regression. Regressions normally take just a couple weeks to pass so hang in there! Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  13. Nicole Riccardo

    My daughter is 19 months old. She used to sleep in the morning until between 7 and 7:40 with naptime 12:30-2:30/3 and bedtime 7:45/8. Some days she sleeps that time but recently she has been waking up at 5:30/6 and is acting fine to start the day but it makes mom and dad feel exhausted. She sleeps throughout the night, doesn’t wake up. She is also not a big eater so I don’t know if it is that or a sleep regression. Help me. She used to be such a great sleeper.

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Nicole,

      It sounds like your LO is going through a sleep regression. If your LO is content hanging out in the crib, I would definitely continue to keep her in her crib until 7am so she knows that morning time doesn’t start until then. Also, limit any sugars or screen time before bed. Try to get her outside as much as possible. Lots of fresh air and physical activity can help during a regression. Regressions normally take just a couple weeks to pass so hang in there! Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  14. Mike

    Hi, I’m hoping you can give some advice for my 18 month old daughter. She has always been an amazing sleeper and has recent just transition to a toddler bed as she was nearly escaping her cot. Her sleep routine has been as follows for some time now without any issues;
    Wake:7/7:30
    Nap: 13:00 for 2-3 hours
    Bed :7
    She started nursery a few months ago for three afternoons a week, as she starts her afternoons at 13:00 it was suggested by her nursery that we aim to start her naps at this time so that she can go straight down when she gets there. After a few months she now seems pretty set In her nap time, although for the past few weeks she has started to wake at 5am ready to start the day. I’m wondering whether this is because she is only getting one hour sleep on average during her afternoon naps on those days at nursery. Is there anything you can recommend to help with this? The nursery have said it’s made a world of difference as she’s now much happier after her naps but I’m concerned it might not be enough sleep combined with the 5am starts.

    Reply
    • Micaela

      Hello Mike,
      this could be caused by the 18mo sleep regression. I would just have an earlier bedtime on days where she is not able to nap enough at nursery. Also you can opt to keep her nap earlier on days where she is at home. Toddlers can handle different schedules but this way you’ll ensure she is not getting overtired. Of course if there is no way she is napping before now that she has gotten used to this schedule AND she napps well and enought at home that’s fine 😉
      Micaela BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  15. Sabrina Allarie

    another question, what are your thoughts on Ok to Wake clocks, for example the Gro Clock where it turns a certain light when it is time to get up in the morning? Do you find these are helpful or do you suggest not to use them in your practice?

    Reply
    • Micaela

      Hello Sabrina,
      you can try to postpone the nap by 15-30min and see if it helps. As our toddlers get older they can manage longer awake times. I would definitely get a toddler clock. I use it for my 4yold. She still naps some days but nevertheless she knows she needs to stay in her room for some quiet time until the clock turns green. Micaela BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  16. Adam

    My son has always been an amazing sleeper in that he goes down for naps and sleeps really easily and has to be woken from those naps or he’d probably just constantly sleep! This is in sharp contrast to his older sister who was the total opposite and whose sleep only normalised now she’s 4!

    He’s 17 months old now and waking around 5/5.30am every day and it’s killing us. He naps twice a day still. The first around 3 1/2 hours after wake up. If he’s woken up very early, we’ll let him sleep longer for this nap – 8.30 – 10am. We then wait 3 1/2 to 4 hours till the next nap and he’ll sleep for 2 hours till around 4pm. Dinner is at 5/5.30 and bed at 7pm every night.

    Room is dark, routine is calm, he self settles, very few if any night wakings unless he’s poorly or teething. Even then, he usually goes back to sleep quite easily with minimal intervention.

    I realise he might be napping too much but he really loves those naps and they improve his mood during the day greatly. We’ve tried single nap strategies on days where he does wake up later and it just makes him over tired and cranky.

    This morning he woke at 5 and rather than get him up, I tried to resettle and did this 3/4 times till 6am but he didn’t go back to sleep. We could keep doing this to see if it works but still a killer as we’re up anyway.

    Thoughts most welcome.

    Reply
  17. Christina Robinson

    My son just turned 2 April 13th, he has a been a great sleeper up until about 3 weeks ago. He would normally sleep from 630pm-630am but out of nowhere he has been awake at 430-5am ready to start his day. We haven’t changed our night routine or anything. We converted his crib to a toddler bed when he turned 2 but he did fantastic and now he is not. I am thinking of putting the crib side up again to see if he will sleep better. I don’t know what to do I don’t want to keep waking up at 5am it’s exhausting.

    Reply
    • Micaela

      Hi Christina, I would definitely put the side up again. You can aim to keep your baby in a crib until he turns 3y unless it’s a safety issue (which does not seem like your situation).
      Micaela BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  18. cassie

    Hi,
    my 20 month old wakes between 5-5.30 every morning – we are so exhausted and so is he when he’s awake. he wees a LOT during the night (we use a normal nappy, nappy pad and pull up but sometimes he leaks through still). he has a bottle of milk before bed at the moment. we bath him at 6pm and he is asleep at approx 7pm every night.

    We have blackout blinds in his room and he has dummies and comforters/loveys in his cot with him plus a blanket.

    His last meal is at 3pm, but we usually give a snack at around 5pm (piece of fruit) then he has the milk in his cot at around 6.45pm.
    I’m thinking of stopping the milk to reduce the chance of him weeing excessively and also moving his snack to 5.30pm.

    Any tips or help would be great!

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Cassie,

      I would try to do a bigger dinner closer to bed vs. a big bottle. If bedtime is around 7pm, then I would aim for a dinner around 5:30pm 🙂 Also, definitely try make sure your LO is falling asleep independently. This is often the key to sleeping in/resettling. Also, no fun before 6am!

      Best,
      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  19. Tiff

    I have a child who always wake up very early about 5 Before 6 she go bed at 8 she naps about 2 hours everytime especially at daycare idk what to do with her sleep most of the time

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello! How old is your LO? I can send you the appropriate guide for your LO’s age. Also, I would check out our 21 Days to Peace and Quiet program if your LO is still sleeping in a crib. We are currently offering a big discount for Mother’s Day! 🙂 In this program we offer 4 step-by-step sleep training methods. You choose the one that feels best for your LO. We have super gentle & gradual all the way to quick & efficient.

      Each step of the way you get advice based on your baby’s developmental stage, energy levels, and temperament.

      You can find out more info on the program here: https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/21-days-to-peace-quiet-program

      Sleep Training Methods Explained:
      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/sleep-training-methods-baby-toddler

      When you are 100% consistent in following the steps of the program, your baby will be sleeping amazingly within 1-3 weeks. It depends on the method you choose as well as your baby’s adaptability. But we cover all of this in the program!

      Happy to answer any questions you have.
      Have a great day! Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  20. Kirstyn

    Hi there! Thanks for all of your amazing advice and support on these blogs!
    For the last 13 days my 10month old has been waking around 5:30am. I’m unsure if it was connected to a sleep regression even if she goes to sleep well otherwise? Has been a 7:45-7:45 gal for the last 6 months before this 🙂
    We use white noise, black room, correct temperature and have given a snack before bed incase hunger related this week. She self settles happily at night and for naps. We spend lots of time outside and do a peaceful ritual before bed.
    She was napping at 12:30-2:00 prior to the early waking.. now 12-13:40. Bed at 7:15….
    Unsure what we should change up to help her get a longer stretch in the morning as she is quite unsettled during the day, very tired with the early start…

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello!

      For a 10 month old, I would really really recommend sticking with 2 naps for a few more months. Sometimes babies can seem ready for 1 nap at times during a regression etc and seem to do okay with 1 nap, but the lac of sleep can quickly catch up with them. I would definitely check out our 10 month old sleep guide here and follow the awake times for 2 naps. Give it a solid week of consistency and you should see an improvement!

      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/sleep-training-10-month-old

      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  21. Katie

    Hello, I would love some help!

    My daughter just turned 1 a few weeks ago. Sleep has always been an issue with her, but we recently started getting her to sleep successfully in her own room in the crib at night. She sleeps between 7/7:30 at night until about 6-7 but more recently she’s started waking up at 5 (or even before!). We’ve always blacked out her room and used a hatch sound machine since birth. She hasn’t taken night feedings for months now. But the other problem is that during the day her naps are a mess. She takes one nap about 2.5/3 hours after waking for 30 minutes, another 30 minute nap 3-4 hours after that, and sometimes we have to stick in another 30 minute nap in between that second one and bedtime. I think it drives us all crazy but she just won’t sleep for longer than 30 minutes and I can’t seem to squish her first and second naps together. Any advice?

    Reply
    • Micaela

      Hello Katie,
      let me redirect you to our 12mo sleeping guide where you’ll find the correct awake time for her age because once they turn 5mo you should follow awake times rather than sleepy signs. This way you’ll offer a nap when they are tired enough to have a good and long nap. Ideally two 1.5h naps or 1h in the morning and 1.5/2h in the PM. https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/12-month-sleep-regression
      Micaela BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  22. Erin Fuller

    Help me.

    My 10 month old has started resisting his afternoon naps. Until last weekend he was still taking 3 naps a day and it was not going well. His awake windows were stretching too long that it was making him super crabby waking up from his third nap. So we decided it was time to go down to 2 naps a day. It is a MESS. His awake window from nap 1 to 2 seems too long. He is getting so overtired during the day that he is going to bed a little bit earlier and then, you guessed it, waking up at 5am a HOT MESS. Screaming and wont go back to bed. I don’t know what to do. I feel like going down to 2 naps was wrong but staying at 3 wasnt working either. And now I have a constantly overtired baby that I have never had to deal with before. He has never been on MUCH of a time schedule. Kind of just done naps when he needed them but went to bed between 8 and 830 every night. Everything I read says, when going down to two naps an earlier bed time might be needed which I see but that just means an earlier wake up from a still tired baby in my experience. And acting like it’s still night time gets us a screaming baby in my arms.

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Erin! I just transitioned my 10 month old to 2 naps too. I do agree that it was probably time. It can just take some time for transitioning. I would aim for 2.5/3/3.5-4 awake windows. Treat all wakings before 6am as night wakings. So I would try a schedule like this.

      6am-wake up/out of the crib
      8:30-10:00am-nap 1
      1:00-2:30pm-nap 2
      6:30pm-bedtime (asleep) goal

      Give this schedule a solid 1-2 weeks for consistency to see improvement and give your LO time to adjust!

      Best,
      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  23. Mary

    Hi –
    My 18 month old is waking up at 5:30 almost every day now. We do all that is listed above and I cant seem to get him sleeping later.

    He normally would get up at 6:30/7.

    6:30/7 – Up
    12/12:30 until 2:30/3 – Nap
    7 – Bed

    If we put him down for a nap earlier because of the early rising, he doesn’t sleep as long and then we have a cycle of an early bedtime because of a short nap. Early waking. 🙁 I’m not sure what to do to get him sleeping later. He wakes up happy and just talking in his bed at 5:30. We try to leave him in there until 6. Sometimes 6:30 if he is happy just laying there.

    Any tips or advice would be super appreciated!?

    Reply
  24. Dee

    Hi, I have a 16 month old who has decided the last month to start stirring and waking before 6am. Some days he starts at 4:30 and some days at 5. I try leave him in his cot until 6am but that’s with him crying on and off that whole time (obviously if he gets distressed I don’t leave him, but if he starts and stops I know its just noise).
    He used to sleep untill 7am but all of a sudden refuses to sleep in. He doesn’t fight bed time or nap times which is great but just don’t know how to help him sleep in.
    Nap: 12-2
    Bedtime: 6:45
    Do you have an advice to help us out?

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Dee,

      I would try to shift your schedule just a little bit. If he is up at 6am, I would do:

      6am-out of the crib
      11:30-1:30-nap
      6:20pm-in the crib
      6:30pm-bedtime (asleep)

      You can gradually move up nap 15 minutes every 2 days until you get to the desired nap time. Toddlers often need less awake time in the morning but more before bed. This should really help!

      Best,
      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  25. Hannah

    Hi, I have a 13 month old who goes to sleep independently, naps for about 30 mins at 9.30 then 1 for about 1hr30. He was waking up about 6.30 everyday but for the last couple of weeks it’s been 5.40 every morning. We leave him in the cot until about 6ish and then he has a feed about 6.20. We have tried everything, adjusting bed time, we already play white noise. Do I need to adjust his nap times? What age do they drop their morning nap? I’m just not sure he would be able to go until 12/1 without a nap when he’s waking so early. Not sure what else I can do?
    Thanks

    Reply
  26. Debbie Sessions

    Hello,

    My 21 month old daughter has never been an amazing sleeper, will often wake at night/but can sleep through as well. However we get the early wake ups between 5-6!
    Usual routine consists of a nap 11/1130-1230/1 bed @ 6.30/7 and then we never know how the night is going to plan out.
    Our daughter attends nursery to and unfortunately her napping isn’t as great there and she will only settle for 45mins most days up by 1.30 (usually) and then bed between 630/7.
    She also also started that ‘i am independent/in control stage’ where she doesn’t want to go to bed and will make sure we know of it! I do admit those early wake ups I get her up to not disturb her sister. Her room is blacked out/white noise never made any real difference so we don’t use it no more.
    Any advice appreciated.

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Debbie,

      I am sorry you are dealing with early wakings-those are never fun! My best advice is to definitely keep your LO in the crib until at least 6am. Let your other daughter know that your younger one is sleep training and will be working on sleeping independently. Keeping her in until 6am will help encourage her to sleep later in the morning. If she gets to get out of bed as soon as she wakes up, then it will keep reinforcing early wakeups. Also, I would do an earlier bedtime on those daycare days!!

      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  27. Tim Goff

    Hello

    Our son was getting up at 5am up to December last year (he is 2 years 2 months now, March 2021) but we managed to crack it. I believe the key part was moving his nap time to 1115am each day and limiting to 2 hours. His wake up times moved to around 630am – and even 7am.

    He started nursery late February and literally regressed overnight back to 5am. Nursery nap times are 1215pm for approx 90 minutes. Clearly there is nothing we can do about these nap times

    We have moved his bedtime to 7pm (was around 715 – 730pm) before. This has helped him get through the night but not the 5am starts.

    Any help / advice much appreciated.

    Tim

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello!

      Thanks for your post. I would continue to limit the nap to 2 hours and then around 2.5 years old, limit it to 90 minutes to help preserve bedtime. Is he content when he wakes up or is he upset? If he is content, I would leave him in the crib until 6am. We always say no fun before 6am! If he is upset, see if you can slowly help him extend those times by keeping him in his crib an extra 15 minutes every 2-3 days. Just try not to get him out right at 6am because that will reinforce early wakings. 🙂 Definitely continue early bedtimes on nursery days!

      Best,
      Alyssa, BSMS Support team

      Reply
  28. Kerianne Payne

    Hi, as it has been said so many times amazing info here. I feel like I’ve done all the things I shouldn’t have! Wish I’d read this earlier.
    My 2&½ year old daughter has always been a good sleeper, self settling and sleeping most of this night waking between 6.30-7.30 but then when we took away her dummy she started waking up around 5am. Not unhappy just awake and ready to start the day!

    She was then refusing to nap so I thought we needed to cut it out and it helped for about 3 weeks she went to a 6.30-7 wake up. Then got worse again so we changed bedtime from 6.30-7.30 but still awake at 5.30 so we went back to 6.30 bed and still awake at 5.30 on the button.

    Where should I start? I don’t want to change it all at the same time but should I introduce the nap again (even if she screams!) or should I try the 15 min later bedtime. Is 6.30 too early for a 2&½ yo? I don’t really know

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Kerianne,

      I would try for a nap again! Try for a nap 5.5 hours after she wakes up in the morning. It is okay if she doesn’t nap right away, at least do some quiet time in her room (dimmed lights, etc). If she wakes up at 5:30am on the dot, then I would 100% do a 6pm-6:30pm bedtime 🙂

      Best, Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  29. Lauren

    We recently had to tranisition our almost 18 month old into a toddler bed because of trying to climb out of his crib, unfortunately this happened during the sleep regression. We’ve had some good night but the last few days he has been waking up at 3/4/5 am. Nothing else has changed for him, other then the bed. he will wake up earlier but doesnt get out of bed and goes back to sleep. How can I get him to stay in bed at that time?

    I’ve always been strict on naptime/bedtime.

    Reply
  30. Aimee

    Help my 3.5 year old is waking at 5am I’ve done everything to bath and story time to later bedtimes to earlier bedtimes at the moment her bedtime is between 6-7pm with no nap during the day she used to sleep fine now she’s stopped to no your not having breakfast or tablet in your room until a certain time but she still has access to her toys I’m so overtired I don’t know what more to do please help a struggling mum!

    Reply
    • Micaela

      Hi Aimee, mom of a 4y old responding 🙂 if she is not napping anymore (which is fine at her age) she should be sleeping 11-12h each night. Have you ever tried a toddler clock? Also in this cases, communication is really key. She needs to know that waking up before 6am is not ok. Definitely remove any toys from her room. No fun before 6am. Hope this helps! Micaela BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  31. Lydia Chandler

    Hello,
    My 2.5 Yr old daughter was an excellent sleeper until last April when we brought a new baby home and of course lockdown happened. She began waking numerous times at night. This thankfully seems to have stopped but she is now waking up at 5/5.30am shouting to go downstairs. I am probably not as strict as I should be for fear of her waking her 10 month old brother. She rarely naps in her bed in the day but will fall asleep in the buggy/car which is at varying times. She is blatantly tired as she whines and isn’t her best version atm. She has bath time around 6pm then off to bed between 7/7.30pm. Some days she will fall asleep straight away other times she will play quite happily in her room until 8/8.30pm. I would be so grateful for any advice to help her sleep for longer in the morning as I want my happy child back. We go out a minimum of once a day and she walks mostly to wear her out. When she dies wake in the morning she has a sippy cup with milk and sometimes falls back to sleep but not always.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. X

    Reply
    • Micaela

      Hi Lydia,
      my best advice would be to have a “strict” routine. To help our toddlers’ body clock adjust we need to give them consistency. Wake-up time, nap time and bedtime should always be at the same time. (the occasional day when you need to switch things up is fine). a little regression when a sibling comes into the family is completely normal and it seems like you reacted well at the time, so congrats!

      You can read here more about your 2y old sleep https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/2-year-old-sleep-problems-solutions

      Micaela BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  32. Tiffany W

    Hello!

    My 22 month olds wake up times have been all over the board for the past month. Ranging from 5am on some days to 7 on other days. Because of this, her nap schedule varies each day. Should her bedtime be based on her awake time following her nap? Or is it best to have a set bedtime at this point? For example, based on awake time, her bedtime would be 645 on some days and 8 on other days. I feel like this might be confusing to her body though?

    Reply
    • Micaela

      Hi Tiffany, if your baby is sleep trained then I would encourage you to go with a by-the-clock schedule for sure. Consistency is always better 😉
      Micaela BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  33. Kasey Connors

    Hello our 23 month old has been waking up between 4 am – 5 am every morning and wanting a sippy cup of milk. Sometimes he goes back to bed after (in our bed) and sometimes he does not. His room is blacked out, cool, and we play white noise all night long, and he has a favorite lovey. He loves going to bed and after our routine of milk, books, brush teeth and hug he asks to get in his crib and this is always between 7-7:30 pm. We have tried earlier bedtimes but that just seems to make it worse. He naps 12:20/1-3/3:30 every day. Please help! I am not sure I can just let him cry for an hour in the morning.

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Kasey!

      It sounds like your LO could be heading towards the 2 year old regression. It is the LAST regression! Check out this gudie for helpful tips! Also, for a 2 year old, try limiting the nap to 2 hours max. This can often help preserve the bedtime!

      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/2-year-old-sleep-problems-solutions

      Best,
      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  34. Amy

    Hi please help!

    We have recently transitioned my 2.5 year old into a bed as he started climbing out of his cot. Since then he has been a bit of a nightmare settling at bedtime. we used to just leave him and he’d get himself to sleep but now one of us sits by his bed until he goes off otherwise it’s a 2 hour battle getting him to stay in bed! He used to be asleep by 8pm latest but now it’s way past 9 and he’s also started waking earlier and earlier and now wakes regularly around 5:30 and has an almighty meltdown if I try and put him back in bed. I have cut down his nap to an hour but now I’m wondering if that’s the right thing as he may be over tired. Any advice would be much appreciated!

    Reply
  35. Katie

    Hi there, I am so frustrated. My 19.5 month old has been waking around 5:30 the past week and a bit. She screams loudly and ends up waking up her brother who is sleeping in another room (even with sound machines – noise carries in our house and he hears her screaming and wakes up) – he is 3.5 and is no longer napping so he needs his sleep, and so he is suffering through the day with her early wake ups. On top of it, since this started happening her naps have shortened from 2.5 hours to 45 mins. So I put her down for her nap around 12 noon and before 1pm she is awake. Her normal bedtime was always around 7pm, but since this has started happening I’ve been trying to put her down earlier to make up some of that sleep she is now missing. So a 5:30 wake up, and a 40-45 min nap (sometimes it’s an hour but I still don’t think that’s long enough) around noon, and then a 6:30 bedtime to try to make up for lost time and it’s not working…I’m at a loss as to what to do to fix this. Do I give her two naps to try to get her to catch up? I always end up going in to get her when she’s screaming in the morning instead of letting it go on and on because I try to catch her before she wakes her brother up…(and he still hears her and wakes up even if I’m quick). Bedtime she goes down to sleep on her own no problem – bath, pjs, sound machine, a little song and to bed and she happily goes to sleep. Any advice is so much appreciated!! Dealing with two very exhausted toddlers all day is wearing on me.
    Thanks,
    Katie

    Reply
  36. Sonia

    Hello — I submitted this question earlier but I’m unsure if it submitted properly as it seems to have disappeared. (please disregard if you’ve already this!)

    My almost 3.5 year old has started getting up early.

    Typically he would sleep from 930 pm to 830/9 am and nap from 2-4pm.
    Over the last 2 weeks he has started to get up early, around 630 am. His naps were tapering off for awhile but ever since we moved him from his crib to a big bed (around christmas) the naps have started to drop off especially now that he knows he can simply get up and out of bed. Previously, (when he was in the crib) he would nap at least 3 out of 7 days.

    My question is, what should we be focussing on? Getting the nap back or adjusting his bedtime so that he isn’t waking so early. We’re still trying to take him to bed for a nap, but as soon as we leave the room he gets up. Laying down with him doesn’t work either. Right now, he’s waking at 630 am and going to bed for 915pm. We’ve tried adjusting his bedtime so that it’s earlier, going from 930pm, to 915 and even 830. This change doesnt seem to affect what time he wakes. Our concern is that he’s awake for a very long time, looks super tired and is moody. What to do? Help!

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hi Sonia,

      I just responded to your other post 🙂

      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  37. Sonia

    Hello! So much great advice here.

    Here is my question: my son will be 3.5 in February. Over the holidays we transitioned him from his crib to a big bed. This happened fairly smoothly. He was going to bed at his regular time 930pm and waking at his regular time which was about 830-9am and napping from 2-4pm. (Before moving him to the bed, we found he was napping maybe 3 days out of the week, sometimes more. But because he was in a crib, he’d happily stay there, play, talk etc and doze off). When we moved him to a big bed however, he napped initially (maybe the first 2-3 days) but soon realized he could simply walk out of his room. Now, nearly 3 weeks later, the nap just isn’t happening as we found he’d get up and start running around as soon as we’d leave his room. For about 2 weeks now he has also started waking earlier. Some days as early as 630am! We’ve tried making his bedtime earlier. We have tried 8pm, 830 and 915. This is sometimes making a difference of half hour to his wake up time in the morning, but it’s not significant. I am really stuck. Do we try to bring the nap back? (we can see he’s tired throughout the day from his face and behaviour and desire to lay down on the floor…) or do we just focus on the bedtime? And if so, how and what? We just want him to be rested. Before all this happened he was typically sleeping 11-13 hours daily. Now, we’re getting 10 hours total. Help!

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Sonia,

      Thank you so much for your message. Many 3.5 year olds aren’t napping anymore, so I wouldn’t stress about this too much. Even if he isn’t napping though, he should still get quiet time. I would put together a routine that requires him to be in his room and in his bed. He could read some books with a dimmed light. Give him a bit of a break. I would aim for 12 hours of night sleep. Many of our toddler parents use a light system (a little clock that lets their children know when they can leave the room). This really helps! If he is waking up at 6:30am, I would aim for a 6:30pm bedtime. Being overtired can lead to earlier wakings–an earlier bedtime may be necessary because he isn’t napping. Once he is sleeping a good 12ish hours at night, you can work on moving the bedtime back to your desired time. Move it 15 minutes every 2-3 days. I hope this helps!! Good luck! 🙂

      Best,
      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
      • Sonia

        Hi Alyssa, thanks for your reply!!
        My only concern about shifting the bedtime is that an earlier bedtime might result in an even earlier wakeup. I know that “sleep begets sleep” but I am still paranoid.
        We are working on pulling his bedtime back by 15 minutes at a time. Right now we are at 9pm, and tonight we will aim for 845pm. Typically, how long do you think it takes before sleep adjusts? We really need him to be sleeping more hours because right now we’re barely making it to 10 hours. AND he is super tired. Yesterday he fell asleep for five minutes in the car around 5pm.

        Reply
        • Alyssa Taft

          Hello Sonia,

          It is totally normal to be anxious about moving up the bedtime, but the majority of babies and toddlers actually sleep better and longer with an earlier bedtime. I would go ahead and continue to work towards moving it up. It can take a couple weeks to adjust once you get to that solid bedtime. Also, make sure you have white noise going and a TOTALLY blacked out room!!

          Best,
          Alyssa, BSMS support team

          Reply
  38. Laura K

    So much good advice here! Thank you so much for sharing all your wisdom!
    I wonder if you might have some suggestions for me…my very nearly 3 year old has been waking around 5-5.30 for the past few months. He goes to bed around 7, and he will not nap for us at home but he does nap for an hour for his childminder (4 days a week). He seems really tired and cranky at the moment, and I’ve tried playing with his bedtime a little – trying earlier bath at 6pm (sleep at 630ish) and later (sleep at 7.30pm) but it’s not making any difference.

    I think his pre bedtime is quite chilled, books and dim lights etc, and he eats good protein based snacks too.

    Do you have any advice?

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello!

      At this age, definitely go ahead and cap any nap at 1 hour. It may be a little tough for him when he is napping some days and not others. I would do a 6:30pm bedtime on non-napping days and a 7:00pm bedtime on napping days. Try to be super consistent with the bedtime. Make sure he has lots of fresh air if the weather is nice and limit any sugar or screen time before bed!

      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  39. Mary

    Hello

    My little boy is 21 months and usually sleeps 7.30-7.30 and naps in the daytime for between an hour and a half to 2 hours. The last 2 weeks he’s going to bed 7.30 and waking at 5.30!! Pleaseeee do you have any advice/ tips.

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Mary,

      This could be a quick phase so I would keep being consistent with your routines and timing. Treat anything before 6am as a night waking so his body clock can adjust. Try and get him physically exercised throughout the day AND do lots of fresh air if the weather permits. Keep dinner high in protein and low in sugar and make sure to limit any screen time before bed! 🙂

      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  40. Debbie

    I have a almost 14 month old who still wakes during the night and will wake up at 5:30 and he shares a room with my 3 year old who also has decided to wake up at 5:30 and I’ve tried a lot of things but they won’t sleep later and now my 14 month old is constantly fighting bedtime even though I haven’t changed anything
    I’m at my breaking point I’m not sure what to do 🙁

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Debbie,

      Thanks so much for your message! Is your 14 month old falling asleep independently? If not, I would work on this because that will help the night wakings. It is normal for babies and toddlers who are waking up a lot in the middle of the night, to wake up earlier in the morning. If you can get him sleeping through the night, you should see those early wakings improve. Check out our 1 year old sleep guide. If you are looking for more step by step guidance, definitely check out our 21 Days to Peace and Quiet program. We would love to help you!

      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/1-year-old-sleep-tips-toddler

      Best,
      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  41. Penny

    Hello! Thank you for all the information. My 2.5 year old has been waking at 5am for about 4 months.
    He goes to bed at 7pm with no hassle.
    Naps for 1.5 hours after lunch.
    I play White noise and have always done so.
    He has milk before bed which I will change to a snack.
    We do nice bath and story time an hour before bed….
    When he wakes he comes into our room and my husband goes into the spare bed. Occasionally he’ll go back to sleep with me but more often than not we’ll both lie there for an hour /hour and a half and at 6am/6.30am we’ll get up. So he knows he has to wait…. But he’s still getting up at 5am.
    Any advice so welcome!! Xxxxx

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Penny,

      5am is definitely early! We consider anything earlier than 6 am to be considered a night waking. So I would walk your LO back to his bed anytime before 6am. He is most likely coming into your room out of habit now. Check out this guide for helpful tips!

      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/toddler-getting-out-of-bed-repeatedly-2

      Best,
      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  42. Ana G

    Hi there,

    Thanks so much for writing this blog! I have followed all tour tips throughout our journey of early wake ups. I have a 21 month old who wakes us early. Usually it’s 4:40 am (random right?) and he is wide awake, happy, ready to play at this hour! Sometimes it’s 5 am, sometimes it’s 5:30 am. 5:30 am is a treat for us. It has been going on for a while year. We don’t go in to pick him up. He cries on and off for 1-1.5 hours. He just will not go back to sleep. In the past we actually tried rocking him or bringing him to our bed to no avail. Now we just let him be but nothing works! Two weeks ago he surprised us by sleeping until 6 and 7 am two days in a row. We could not find a reason for it. I feel like I’m grasping at straws now looking for reasons. We are at a loss. Have you encountered anything like this before?

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hi Ana,

      My daughter always sleeps longer when she had A LOT of physical activity the night before and when we get outside and have a lot of fresh air. It gets her really sleepy. Also, keep an eye on what you serve for dinner. Try to keep dinner high in protein but low in sugar. Keep the fruits and yogurts to earlier in the day! Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  43. Zoe

    Hi there!We’re also struggling with our 15 months old son waking up at 5 am sharp every day.We follow all the recommendations above: white noise, black out, bedtime at 19.00, 2 naps (9.00 – 10.20 and the 2nd nap 13.30-14.30), he falls asleep independently. I give him solids at 17.40 + additional breast feed at 18.30 (but he still wakes up for a 10 minute breast feed at 1 am) I tried to wean him off by reducing the night feed by a minute every night and giving him more food during the day , but when I got to 5 minutes, he started crying a lot and staying awake for a long period of time and waking up even earlier ( 4.00 am), so I gave up (( So,is this one quick feed during the night makes him wake up so early or smth else?

    Reply
    • Micaela

      Hello Zoe, it’s probably caused by more than one detail and we can help you tweak his schedule to get him to sleep at least 11h during the night and 2-3h during the day. This is what we do daily with clients of 21 Days to Peace and Quiet. I’m confident we can get you and your baby sleeping great.

      Happy to answer any other questions you have about the program. Here are all the details: https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/21-days-to-peace-quiet-program
      Micaela BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  44. RA

    Dear Alyssa,
    Thanks for such great content and valuable tips. My 3.5 year old daughter who used to wake up between 7-15/7:30am is now waking at around 6am and can’t put herself back to sleep (her bedtime is between 8:30-9pm). We try to explain that is still not the right time to rise but she gets impatient, starts to yell and all of that – it’s been a battle every morning. She naps consistently for about 1-1:30hr every day. We use all the resources you mentioned on your post: blackout curtains, white noise, very limited screen time, full belly before bed, toddler clock… I also tried to change her bedtime for an earlier time but it didn’t seem to help. My last resource would be to remove her day nap but I’m afraid she won’t get enough sleep during a 24 hour period, considering that she has never slept more than 10-11 hours a night. Any insights??! Thanks a lot!

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello! Thanks so much for your post. So for 3 year olds, we recommend capping the nap to 1 hour MAX to help preserve bedtime. So I would start to limit their daytime sleep. I work work on getting your bedtime pushed up closer to 7pm if they are waking up at 6am for 11 hours of night time sleep. You will want to do it gradually. Move it up 15 minutes every 2 days until you get to your desired bedtime! Being overtired can lead to early wake ups. Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  45. Elissa Daniel

    My 3yr old triplets are waking progressively earlier and are extremely hyper when they wake. Usually between 4:30 and 5. We try to get them back down but have not been successful. They are not napping longer than 1.5 hours per day and we do bedtime around 7. We are at a loss of what to do.

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Elissa,

      Thank you so much for your message. So for 3 year olds, we recommend capping the nap to 1 hour MAX. This helps to preserve bedtime. Make sure to treat any wakings before 6am as night wakings. This should help!

      Best,
      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  46. Alexander

    The only ones I think we can improve on are steps 2 and 7.
    I started letting our toddler get out of bed earlier after daylight savings, to stop her waking mama who is nursing a newborn. Now we are in a 4:30-5:30am waking routine.
    Can we all agree that daylight savings is stupid and pointless?

    Reply
  47. Kate Tully

    Hi, my 2 year has slept through 7-6.30 ish for almost a year now. But the last few weeks he has started waking at 5am. We’ve tried leaving him to re-settle but he got too worked up screaming and crying. We’ve also tried going back in to lay him down and say it’s too early but he doesn’t. So we started bringing him in with us for an hour and starting our day at 5! Only problem is, we have a 3 month old in the crib next to my bed who my toddler often disturbs also! I’ve always been quite firm with his sleep but he was poorly a few weeks ago so we kind of felt bad, hence we were bringing him into our bed. He goes to be at 7 every night, usually has between 1-2 hours nap each day. His room is completely blacked out, so we are running out of ideas…help! Xx

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Kate,

      Thanks so much for your post. It can be so tough when our LO’s have a big change in their schedule. Many 2 year olds go through a regression around the 24 month mark and this can cause some chaos in the sleep department. The good news is that this is the last regression and regressions normally only last a couple weeks. It sounds like some other habits may have been introduced though, such as bringing your LO into your room. I totally get it though–it can be exhausting when our LO’s aren’t sleeping. I would continue to treat any wakings before 6am as night wakings though and keep your LO in his own room at this time. It WILL get better. Try 7pm-6am overnight sleep and then a 2 hour nap during the day. Try 5/5.5 hours of awake time in the morning and 5.5/6 hours of awake time before bed. Give this a couple weeks of consistency to see an improvement! Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  48. Hannah

    Hi, My 20th month old daughter wakes everyday at 5am!! She goes to bed at 7pm and will sleep solid until 5am but just won’t sleep past then. Have you got any tips on how I can get her to sleep in later in the mornings? She has a 2hr nap at 12.30-2.30pm sometimes 2.5hrs thanks ?

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Hannah,

      Thank you for your post! Babies and toddlers can actually handle less awake time in the morning, but more before bed. I would actually try shifting your nap time to be a little bit earlier. I would try to have an 11:30-1:30pm nap. This way, she has more awake time before bed. You may want to do this gradually though. Try moving it up 10-15 minutes every 2 days. Also, make sure she has a ton of outdoor time with fresh air and is very physically active before bed. Try having dinner be high in protein but low in sugar. See if this helps and keep us posted! Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  49. Aime

    Hello, SO much good advice! Thank you!!
    I am still at a loss with my 15 almost 16 month old. He has been waking at 4:30am every single night for around 2 months now, we have also tried everything!!!! The only thing we have not tried is a white noise machine playing all night long, so I have just ordered one so fingers crossed!
    But my question is, when he wakes at 4:30am – I go in, lie him back down, saying ‘sleep time now Reggie, n’night’ and then leave the room. Me and my partner take it in turns to do this every 5-10 mins depending on how much he is crying. But now he he has started crying SOOOO much that he is making him self sick every single morning! After about 15 mins of us trying to get him back to sleep he screams that much he is sick. We know that he is only doing it for us to get him out the crib because as soon as we pick him up he is absolutely fine! PLEASE HELPPPP.
    What are we supposed to do? I do not understand how I am supposed to make him sleep until at least 6am. He has one nap per day from 12:30pm – 2:30pm and his bed time is between 6:45/7pm. Please help us from two extremely exhausted mentally drained parents!

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Aime,

      Thank you so much for your post. This does sound exhausting! How is night sleep going? Does your LO fall asleep independently at the beginning of the night?

      Best,
      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  50. Kari Bradford

    Hi, thanks for all your helpful information. We have a 20-month-old twins, almost 21 months. One has been getting up about 5 AM for the last several months. We have tried to let her self soothe but when we do that and let her go too long, she ends up waking up her sister and then we have two awake instead of one. We fell into the habit of getting her out of the crib and bringing her in bed with us, she will sleep another hour at least in bed with us and falls back asleep immediately so I felt like we were both winning. She will normally start whining about 445 five and I normally let her go until about 530. When she wasn’t falling back asleep she was exhausted and cranky. We go to bed about 715-730 every night, she has started to cry at bedtime but it is only for several minutes and it does not last long. We do a daily nap about 12:45-1 to 230. We Contemplated pulling them into separate rooms that they do not do well I’m going to bed without each other. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • Micaela

      Hello Kari, if you had previously sleep trained them, then I would move them into separate rooms and do a tune in with the one waking up early. If you have never sleep trained them and want some help, we’ve had many twin parents join our sleep training program 21 Days to Peace and Quiet. You can find out more here https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/21-days-to-peace-quiet-program/
      Have a nice day! Micaela BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  51. Lisa

    Hi there! I have 19 month old twins and they are awake at 6:00 in the morning and I would love if they would sleep till 7 at least. I put them to bed between 8 and 9 and its still always the same. They have a nap from 12:00- 1:30. What advice can you give me?

    Reply
  52. Natasha

    Hi my son is 23months and recently we stopped him from having bottles of milk at bed time. We have no problems getting him to sleep however ever since we said goodbye to the ‘boc bocs’ he has been starting the day at 03:50 onwards. Mainly all before 5am. I’m afraid I’ve fallen into to the cartoon habit to keep him quiet from waking the rest of the household. When the bottles went he stopped having a nap as he was dependant to fall asleep with his milk. However he has been having naps of up to 2hours from 1300/1400pm as he cannot stay awake.

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Natasha,

      Thank you for your message! We recommend starting your day at 6am, so I would treat anything earlier as a night waking. I would recommend doing some sleep training with your LO. We would love to help you in our program. We can work on getting your LO to self-soothe and fall asleep independently and to STTN (11-12 hours at night). We do want to keep kiddos napping until at least 3-4 years of age. I am also attaching some other helpful resources for you!

      Best,
      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/21-days-to-peace-quiet-program
      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/2-year-old-sleep-problems-solutions
      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/when-do-toddlers-stop-napping

      Reply
    • Kelly Simpson

      Hello

      My 3 year old has always had bedtime at 7pm and normally asleep by 7.15 but for the past 6 months or so hes been waking up from 5am and sometimes earlier. He often wakes up whinging but cant seem to fall back to sleep. I started using a gro clock about 2 months ago set at 6.30am to encourage him to go back to sleep but all he does is stay in his bed until the owl turns yellow at 6.30am and then gets out. He gets bored staying in his bed so often begins to shout out and make noises by kicking his bed. I just dont know how to get him to go that extra hour and its obvious he does not want to be awake. He sleeps through the night completely.

      Reply
      • Alyssa Taft

        Hello Kelly! It is great that you are trying to encourage your LO to get more sleep in the morning. 11-12 hours is solid night sleep for a 3 year old, so if he is asleep by 7:15pm, a 6:15am is realistic. Make sure your LO isn’t getting too much day sleep. We recommend capping the nap to 1 hour MAX for a 3 year old. Check out these toddler resources. Make sure your LO gets lots outdoor time and fresh air. Try to limit all screens for at least 2 hours before bed and have dinner be high in protein and low in sugar! 🙂

        Best,
        Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

        https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/when-do-toddlers-stop-napping

        Reply
      • Susan Jung

        Hi-My daughter is 2. She would sleep until 6am sometimes 6:30am but after daylight savings time now wakes up at 5:00-5:30. Daylight savings time was 3 weeks ago.
        She goes to bed at 8pm and has one nap during the day that is 2 hours at 12:30pm.
        Should we push up her bedtime?

        Reply
        • Alyssa Taft

          Hello Susan,

          Thank you for your post! Babies and toddlers can actually handle less awake time in the morning, but more before bed. I would actually try shifting your nap time to be a little bit earlier. I would try to have an 11:30-1:30pm nap. This way, she has more awake time before bed. You may want to do this gradually though. Try moving it up 10-15 minutes every 2 days. Also, make sure she has a ton of outdoor time with fresh air and is very physically active before bed. Try having dinner be high in protein but low in sugar. Also, I would only do 5.5/6 hours of awake time before bed and then means asleep at that time. So lets say your nap ends at 1:30pm, then you want bed to be 7/7:30pm! It may take a little bit of trial and error but find your LO’s sweet spot and then be super consistent with that time! Keep us posted! Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

          Reply
  53. Sarah

    My son is almost 14 months and he’s been struggling to fall asleep at night (it can sometimes take 45min for him to fall asleep) and he’s also waking early (5-6am). We have a consistent, calming bedtime routine, put him in his crib between 6:35-6:45pm, we eat dinner right before and he’s a good eater, so I’m confident he’s not hungry, we have blackout curtains, white noise, we don’t get him out of his crib until 7am (he happily just rolls around or lays down), we get outside everyday, he naps 2.5-2.75 hours/day (10 and 2:00 naps). I’m not sure what to do for him. Is he napping too much?

    Reply
    • panagiota

      Hi there Sarah! Thank you for your message. Maybe you should try changing around these naps (the length is great). The first awake time (that counts from the time your baby wakes, not the time that he’s out of bed) is too long and the last one (before bedtime) is too short. At this age a wake time of only 3hrs is short. Try changing things around.

      Check out our 1 year old sleep guide. In it you’ll find a form you can fill in and receive several 1 year old sleep schedule for kids that have either one or two naps. Here’s the link –> https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/1-year-old-sleep-tips-toddler

      Try implementing these tips for a few days and then let us know how things work out. Good luck. Panagiota, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  54. Lisa charvet

    Hi!
    My son is now 26 months and has been early rising for 2 months now! His bedtime was 7pm and start 6:30am. We have adjusted his bedtime earlier and later 6:30 and now at 7:30. With earlier bedtimes, it took less time to fall asleep but he woke up earlier like 4:50/5am. With the later bedtimes you can tell he is overtired and it takes him 30-60min to fall asleep.
    His nap time was 12-2 and now moved to 12:45/1pm-3pm. These adjustments were based off of help from two different sleep consultants. The last one I got advice from told me his nap was too early at noon and to move later (I did) and his bedtime needs to be later (even 7:45/8). I can only get him to sleep late as 5:30/5:45. He is very tired during the day, moody and it is now impacting his meals. He has his molars coming in but I give Tylenol and ibuprofen as needed! I have spent money with sleep consultants and have not had any luck! I have a 2month old at home that I will need to put in the same room. Any advice and help would be appreciated

    Reply
    • Lisa Charvet

      I forgot to mention that he is in a crib still and we have a cut off for naps to keep it 2 hours. He falls asleep instantly for his naps and sleeps well for most naps. Thanks!

      Reply
      • panagiota

        Hi there Lisa. Thank you for your message. What we recommend for LO’s is the opposite. At this age the nap should fall in the middle of the awake times, or the second awake time, the one before bedtime should be a bit longer, because then your child would be tired enough (but not too tired) to welcome sleep. Please check out our 2 year old sleep guide here –> https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/2-year-old-sleep-problems-solutions.

        This will help you understand what to expect from your LO’s sleep at this age, plus it’s got many tips on how to get them sleeping better at night.

        It’s a good thing you limited his nap time, and time passes and he reaches 2,5 years you should maybe limit it to 1,5hrs. Try implementing these tips (from the 2yo guide & the early wakings guide) for a few days and then let us know how things work out. Good luck. Panagiota, BSMS Support Team

        Reply
        • Jessie

          Our 13 month old has always struggled with sleep since age five months. She cat naps only for 20-45 mins twice a day, has 1-3 night wakings, wakes before 5am!!! HELP PLEASE! at ten months old we sleep trained which was a horrible experience. But after about six weeks she finally started sleeping through the night but naps were still short and not always successful. At 12 1/2 months old teething began. The last month has been back to awful night sleep like before. Sometimes she will only sleep being held in the recliner at night (after 2-3am) or naptime

          I’ve tried tweaking our routine. She is now weaned too. But get milk in a bottle or sippy cup. She just seems to want mommy to hold her. ALL THE TIME.
          We need to get sleeping better, another baby is due in seven months!

          Reply
          • Micaela

            Hello Jessie. I’m sorry to read you are still struggling. Jilly’s program is different than others because we take a few days to set up a healthy sleep foundation for your baby. We separate out all the essential steps of sleep training so it’s a gentler and more gradual transition for your baby.
            One of her 4 step-by-step methods is called “Minimal Tears.” We can’t promise zero tears. And honestly we don’t think anyone can. But we can promise to show you how to slow down the method to minimize your baby’s resistance and crying. Plus, with 3 of the methods you stay with your baby while you show him/her how to sleep well. You don’t ever have to leave the room if you don’t want to.
            But it is important to know that you should expect your baby to resist or fuss when making changes to the sleep routine. He or she won’t initially understand what’s going on. But you get to stay with your baby and slow down the process to minimize resistance and crying.
            I’m confident we can get you and your baby sleeping great.

            Happy to answer any other questions you have about the program. Here are all the details: https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/21-days-to-peace-quiet-program
            Micaela BSMS Support Team

  55. Lisa

    Hi
    I have a 3 and a half year old boy. He has never slept very well. He now falls asleep himself and sleeps through the night but a 5 am wake is deeply ingrained for him and I can’t seem to get over it. He has a very consistent bedtime, asleep by 7 or 7:15. He is outdoors a lot in the day. Winds down inside after a 5 – 5:30 pm dinner time. He doesn’t nap anymore but has an hour of quiet time in the middle of the day. He eats well. He has a grow clock that is set for a sun at 6 am. If he stays in bed until the sun, he gets a star, 5 stars and he gets a little car (he is all about cars!). But in the last 2 months he has 6 stars I think. Most mornings he comes trotting through at 5 am bright as a bird. I walk him back to his bed silently and lay on his floor until 6 making as little responses as possible. He chats and plays in the dark in his bed. If I were to leave him again he would get super duper upset and wake his 1 year old brother next door. Any suggestions?
    He has good blackout blinds and sleeps all night with a white noise and has a comforting stuffie.
    I appreciate anything else to try!
    Thanks

    Reply
    • panagiota

      Hi there Lisa! Thank you for your message! You’re in the right path and you’re doing most things great. Unfortunately, we don’t yet have a program for kids that sleep in toddler bed, but you can definitely follow the tips from this video here –> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jdkqhKfJfo

      Try implementing these tips for a few days and then let us know how things work out. Good luck. Panagiota, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  56. Gaby

    Hi there! I have a 33 month old who has died making going on 4 weeks now. Before that she was making once a week for 6 months and before that maybe 2 times a week for about a year so she has been over naps for quite some time. She has bags under her eyes now. Well lately I’ve been putting her down in her crib at 615_620 and she’s been feeling asleep within 15 minutes with melatonin, 1 hour without. Is this too early of a bed time? She’s not napping and by the time dinner rolls around which is about 5 she’s acting like she needs to go to sleep. Not sleepy but cranky and misbehaving. She’s been walking up at 6 or earlier. But I noticed in your article 630 is the earliest bedtime. So what should I do? If I put her in her crib without melatonin she just jumps around and rolls around like she’s a tumbling gymnast for an hour and sometimes accompanied by screaming. So pediatrician said it was okay to give melatonin temporarily. I’ve tried everything for naps so that’s out. She will not take them. I guess I just want to know if it’s okay to get her sleep time even earlier than 630.

    Reply
    • Gaby

      *done napping. I guess I was half asleep writing this, so sorry!!

      Reply
      • Alyssa Taft

        Haha no worries!!

        Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello and thank you for your post! Definitely check out our toddler napping guide. If your LO isn’t napping, I would definitely at least do some quiet time in the room and it is okay to do an earlier bedtime while your LO transitions to the new schedule!

      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/when-do-toddlers-stop-napping

      Best,
      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  57. Rachel Weston

    Hello! We have a 2.5 year old who used to sleep great! Lately he’s been waking at 5/5:30 and playing quietly in his room until we get him. However he seems to have developed a fair of the dark and not liking his red light we have in his room and he hates his white noise. We keep Another light in his room that has a foot pedal that he knows how to turn on when he wakes. He seems to wake and want that on at 5/5:30.he has been trying to have it on before he sleeps also. Do you have any tips ? As he is waking is 4month old brother also! He used to sleep until 6:30 at least! He’s at preschool full time, naps on the odd day for half an hour and bed at 7 if he naps or 6:30 if he doesn’t, he doesn’t actually sleep though until about 7:30 usually, he’ll just talk to himself.
    Thanks Rach

    Reply
  58. Amanda R

    Hi! Thank you so much for these great tips. I’m personally struggling with a 20 month old that is waking up the whole house screaming (including his 3 year old brother who sleeps till 7 without being woken up) at 4:30 am. He goes to to bed consistently at 7 pm every night. Falls asleep and stays asleep without any issues. We have great black out curtains and a sound machine all night. He was waking up at 6:00 am for a few months but it seems for the last 1-2 months he’s consistently been waking up at 5:00-5:30. We did start a bad habit of allowing him to watch cartoons in our bed while we got extra sleep. But now he’s waking up even earlier. We try putting him back down, but he screams at the top of his lungs until we take him out of his room. What do you recommend for this situation? Also, when we are breaking the bad habit of not having anything fun before 6 am…do we leave him in his room until then?

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Amanda,

      Thanks so much for your post! It sounds like your LO was just getting used to waking up early to watch cartoons and it is normal for LOs that are getting up early for something “fun” to continue to get up earlier and earlier. I would definitely follow the no fun before 6am rule. Leave your LO in his crib until then and treat any wake ups before 6am as night wakings. It could take a couple weeks of consistency, but you should see a big improvement! Best, Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  59. Alyssa Dayton

    My LO is almost 16 months…for the past two months she has been waking at 4:30, 5, 5:30 and I am not a CIO person so I nurse her and she goes back to sleep but then a friend said she is ready for one nap so I started transitioning her and it was hard…she would be so tired around 9:30am so I took her for a walk and she would have a cat nap and I’d stretch her nap till 12pm and bedtime around 6:30 or 7pm.

    Lately she is waking up at 5, 5:30 or 6 again and she cries and I go into her room and nurse her and put her back to bed and she cries and I’ve made mistake of
    Taking her to bed and she watches the wiggles because we are zombies. Because of the early wake time she is a cranky mess at 8:30am so I am now putting her to bed for her nap in the morning and have been keeping her up for an early bedtime Around 6-6:30 unless she has a cat nap in afternoon.

    I’m at a total loss right now bec she won’t
    Just hang out in her crib and I don’t believe in CIO.

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Alyssa,

      Thank you so much for your post! We would love to help you and your LO. First, I would sign up for our FREE Exhausted Mom’s Survival Kit and check out our 1 year old sleep guide. Both resources will provide you with a ton of helpful sleep tips to get your LO sleeping better. Most 16 month olds do well with 1 nap. It sounds like your LO needs to learn to fall asleep independently (without nursing). This will really help prevent those early morning wakings. If you are looking for step by step guidance, I would definitely recommend checking out our program. We have a limited tears method that may work really well for you and your daughter. We’re currently having a Spring Sale. This gives you 30 days of personal support with our sleep training program, 21 Days to Peace & Quiet.Jilly walks you through each step and shows you exactly what to do every night. Plus we answer questions 5 days/week inside a private FB group. So you really get all the direction and support you need. Here’s more info: https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/21-days-to-peace-quiet-program. Please let me know if you have any questions!

      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/exhausted-moms-survival-kit
      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/1-year-old-sleep-tips-toddler

      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  60. Jurrien Collins

    I realize this comment is from a couple of years ago, but I thought I’d share my solution in case others stumble upon this question.

    We’ve found that our daughter sleeps much more soundly and gets back to sleep more easily after stirring if she can’t see us. This obviously won’t work if you share a bed, but if he’s in a bassinet or crib in the same room, try setting up a cardboard screen between him and your bed. It worked wonders for us.

    Reply
  61. Alyssa Miles

    Hello,
    My 13month old has been an early riser for quite some time. Used to be 630/645 (and even then I was hoping for more 7am wake up) but somewhere along the way it has now changed to 5am or earlier and made the daily routine even harder pushing us backwards rather than forwards to eventually transition to one nap. It seems we have tried IT ALL tweaking every nap or bed time doing all things mentioned. I know how important sleep routines are and have established one early on and I still can’t get him to sleep later or have better naps. He currently takes about 45mins to an hour to get to bed so we put him down at about 645 for a 720/740 bed time. He has been waking still at 5. Leaving us with only 8hours at night retarting the overtired cycle. His wake windows are about 3.5hours for naps and 3.5-4 for bedtime. Currently he sleep 40mins to an hour for naps sometimes his second nap will be 2hours. But even still we aren’t getting the 14total hours of sleep. I’m at a loss, it’s frustrating and I don’t know what else to tweak. Nothing seems to be helping. We have a 4year old who also needs sleep so once my 13month starts getting loud we take him out of bed usually at 6am. We have experience and have researched a ton any additional advice would be helpful! Thanks

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Alyssa,

      Thanks so much for your message! It can be tough when your LO wakes up really early. I am attaching our 1 year old sleep guide to give you some helpful tip and awake time guidelines. I would also sign up for our FREE Exhausted Mom’s Survival Kit. Both resources will give you a lot of helpful advice to get your LO sleeping better. I would have a designated bedtime and let the bedtime vary by only 15-20 minutes on any given day. I would put your LO down only 15-20 minutes before bedtime. He may have a little bit too much time hanging out in the crib. Let me know if you have any questions when checking out our resources! Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/1-year-old-sleep-tips-toddler
      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/exhausted-moms-survival-kit

      Reply
  62. Jana

    Hi, thank you for all of the great suggestions! Still have a question! We have an almost 23 month old and he has been an amazing sleeper since he was 3 months old which has been AMAZING since our older one was a horrible sleeper. So all of a sudden he started waking up at 5-6am which has been painful, moreso since my almost 5 year old is a vampire! (Suggestions there are welcome too) So that shortens our sleep more. So he has always gone to bed around 8pm without any major fights. He is still in a crib and doesn’t try to get out UNTIL now at early morning times. Of course we did exactly what you said most parents do and now a week later it just has been getting worse. We will do everything you said but my question, do we just let him cry it out? And if so, how do we deal with that with the 5 year old who needs her sleep too? If we go into to him, even to tell him he is safe and kiss him the screaming just gets that much louder. Help! I’m sure the change of sleep is partially from regression and partly from the change with Covid right now. Thoughts and suggestions are welcome! Thank you!

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Jana,
      Thanks so much for your message! It really does sound like your LO is going through the 2 year old sleep regression. This is the LAST regression! It can cause some interrupted sleep and can cause some early wakings. I would try to remain as consistent as possible with all of your routines and allow your LO time to resettle before 6am because you don’t want any new habits to form during this time. Regressions will often pass just in a couple weeks! Please let me know if you have any questions! Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  63. Amanda

    My son is 2 years 9 months and has recently discovered how to get out of his crib. He has always been a really good sleeper up until the last month or so. Now, he will wake up really early, or in the middle of the night and be ready to go out to the living room to watch cartoons. During the week he is up and off to daycare around 6 am and he gets put to bed between 7 and 7:30 pm. He has a white noise machine, stuffed animals, and black out curtains. It now takes him till 8 pm or after to actually fall asleep and some nights I have to put him back into bed a few times because he gets up and crawls out. This morning, he was up at 2 am and it took 4 times putting him back into bed, and 1.5 hrs later for him to go back to sleep.

    Please help!!!!

    Reply
    • Alyssa Taft

      Amanda,

      Losing sleep boundaries makes most LOs eager to roam and explore at all hours! The best approach is to walk him back to his bed each and every time he gets out. After a few days of realizing there are no cartoons during the night, he’ll adapt and stay in his bed. This video has more advice for you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jdkqhKfJfo&t=6s

      Good luck Mama!

      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  64. Ashley

    Hello I’m really struggling with my one year old. He is waking at 5:15 pretty much every day. We do the white noise, dark room, bedtime routine bath, book then bed all by 7:30. We really can’t get him to bed earlier then that our days don’t allow for it. I try to let him fuss and go back to sleep but it not working, he screams to loud it wakes up everyone in the house…please help. He is already walking so I don’t think it’s the whole new milestone thing throwing him of. Now that the time changed he has woke up at 4:15 I can’t deal with that it’s to early!
    Thanks for any help,
    Ashley

    Reply
  65. Angela

    Hello! I need help with my 2yr old. She has been an early riser since the beginning but it’s gotten to the point where she is up at anywhere from 430am (the odd day) to 515am. It used to be she would easily fall asleep when put to bed, now it takes her anywhere from 15-45min to fall asleep in her crib at night. Previously when she woke up early in the morning we would give her a bottle of milk and it would get maybe another hour out of her, we no longer give her bottles.
    She naps anywhere from 1-2hrs at daycare (usually only 1hr at home on weekends).

    Our issue is, on weekdays I have to be up at 545am to get me and her ready for the day for work/daycare. Once I am up she doesn’t generally sleep through that (95% of the time she is always up before me by a good 20-40 minutes). Weekends some sleep would be wonderful. We have gotten to the point where in the morning we have to give her some toys and books in bed with cartoons in order to be able to lay in bed ourselves for another 30 minutes.

    Her bed time is usually between 7-8pm (putting her to bed earlier doesn’t make her sleep any later) and most week days we are not home from work/daycare until 6-630pm. She generally falls asleep on the 30 min drive home as well and is not happy when we get home and she wakes up. She has dinner once we are home.

    She has black out blinds but we do not use any kind of white noise machine.

    I am expecting in February and already exhausted, I need her sleeping better by the time the baby arrives.

    If you have any help/suggestions I would so greatly appreciate it.

    Reply
    • Leena

      Hi Angela! Congratulations on expecting your second one 🙂 At the same time, sorry to hear about your struggle. It is completely normal for sleep to have a sudden disturbance at this age, as your toddler might be going through developmental stages, separation anxiety, some sort of night terrors and lighter sleep. The white noise machine is something that is of help in our experience, which blocks our any noises waking her up at the moment. The room should be so dark that you have real trouble seeing your own hand in the room when you hold it up. We’ve noticed that sometimes even the smallest light can affect our LO’s as sleep is always lighter in the early hours of the morning. I will link to our 2 year old sleep guide which talks about all of these tips in more detail. Good luck mama! /Leena, BSMS Support Team

      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/2-year-old-sleep-problems-solutions

      Reply
    • Batia

      Hi!
      Nice post, and yet I feel like I do all those things 🙁
      I have. 18 months and a 2.5 yo. (And a 6mo old ..)They excite each other at night and start running after calming things like baths etc. Ending up in late bedtime cause they are too excited. 18mo wakes up at 5am with a poopy diaper. I try to change him quietly and put him back to sleep but usually baby wakes up as well and wants to be fed. So 18 mo also wants a bottle since he sees the other bottle. All this movement wakes up 2.5 yo… It’s a trio whirlwind!

      Reply
      • Alyssa Taft

        Hello and thank you for your post! It definitely sounds like you have your hands full with the trio 🙂 Is it possible for you to try and do separate bed time routines for at least the 2.5 and 18 month old? This may help! Sincerely, Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

        Reply
  66. Celicia

    Thanks for your post! My 18 month old has been waking up (screaming) at 5:00 am every day. We’ve set a really structured bedtime routine, moved her bedtime from 7pm to 6:30pm, I keep her really active during the day and limit screens at night. But without fail between 5-5:30 she starts screaming. This morning she started at 4:30 am. I went in told her it was bedtime and sang her a song and she laid down and went back to sleep. Then she woke up at 5:15, I did the same thing. Then she woke up at 5:30 and we let her cry it out until 6:00. She was hysterical, it took at least 20 minutes for her to calm down after getting her out of bed at 6:00am. I want hey to have the expectation that we don’t get up before 6 (personally I’d prefer 7). But it seems letting hey cry for 30 minutes really upsets her. What would you do in this situation??

    Reply
  67. Sumi

    We had our second boy couple of weeks ago. All of a sudden, my first son who is 20 months old started to have a sleep regression. He is fighting his bed and nap time. Wakes up from nap asking for Mommy at the daycare which is very unusual for him. He was sleeping through the night since he was 14 months old. Now he is fighting it for as long as he could. The other day, he resisted his sleep for almost 3 hours. Also the early morning wake ups are driving us crazy. His bedtime was 7.30-8pm until 6.30-7.30am. He used to sleep for almost 11 hours. Since a week, it has gone down to less than 9 hours. He wakes up around 5am with a Poo and doesn’t want to go back to sleep. Unable to ignore him without changing his diapers. How do I bring him back to his old routine?

    Reply
    • Leena

      Hi Sumaiya! Thank you for your post! Oh no! That is tough but completely normal. When a newborn arrives it can cause regressions in toddlers and older kids. We see disturbances in sleep, more clinginess, separation anxiety and sometimes acting out. It’s a HARD transition to welcome a new sibling and have to share mom. Just know that this is normal and will get better with time. When possible, try to have small moments in the day with just your older child(sen.) Perhaps when baby is napping, or let another caregiver watch baby for 15-30 minutes so you can have quality time with your older child. They just need to be reminded that they’re loved.

      If you feel like sleep was good before now and all of a sudden it goes off the rails, it could be a sign of a sleep regression. Regressions usually last 1-2 weeks. The best thing is to jump back to your routine and follow it to a T. Consistency will get you through this hiccup. I will link to Jilly’s guide on 1 year old sleep, even though your LO is 20 months, you will still benefit from the tips in the article. Start there and implement the tips consistently for a week or two and you should see improvements. Here is the guide: https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/1-year-old-sleep-tips-toddler#point5
      Start there and please let us know how it goes, good luck! / Leena, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  68. Stacey White

    My LB is 2 years 3 months old . For the last 7 weeks he has been getting up around 4/5am. He is now in his big boy bed. He has black out blinds and curtains. He goes bed at 7.30 but doesnt go sleep by himself and sometimes can take us laying on the floor and about 9 pm at night. We also got rid of his milk bottle around this time also . So he doesnt have as much milk before bed as his not drinking as much from a cup . He has around an hour now for nap but used to have 3 hours (we now have to get him to sleep in a car ) his a nightmare in the day naughty and grumpy and wingy as his tired

    Reply
    • Leena

      Hi Stacey! Sorry to hear about the struggle! I think it is 100% possible for your LO to learn how to self settle at this age. If your toddler is used to being helped to sleep, they will need it and want it in the future as well. When this skill is mastered, your LO will settle easily and sleep through the night. Our program, 21 Days to Peace & Quiet walks your through the steps of sleep training. We will gladly help your entire family sleeping better.

      Here is the link to the program, don’t hesitate to ask in case of any questions:

      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/21-days-to-peace-quiet-program

      It also sounds like your LO might be going through a sleep regression. It is completely normal at this stage. Jilly has a guide on it with great tips on how to handle it.

      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/2-year-old-sleep-problems-solutions

      Start there and by being super consistent, you should see results soon. Let us know how it goes!

      Good luck mama! / Leena, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  69. Kate Pacecca

    My LO is 2. He had a great bedtime routine and nap routine. Napped for 1.5 hours in middle of the day and asleep by 720pm, woke up by 7 am. This past week he’s woken up 15 mins earlier every single day. He’s now waking up at 6 am. His bedtime is still 720 (asleep) and his napping went from 1.5 hours to 40mins!!! He will just stand in his crib and crying hysterically saying mommy, daddy wake up. And also “his name, wake up too”
    What do I do? He has blackout curtains and noise machine since 4 months old. Same day care, no disruptions in daily living.
    He’s exhausted! Help??

    Reply
    • Leena

      Hi Kate! Sorry for the delayed response and sorry to hear about your LO’s sleep struggle. Your LO might be in the thick of a sleep regression soon, I’ll link a guide for that below for you to check it out.

      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/2-year-old-sleep-problems-solutions

      If you’d like a bit more assistance and digging into what could be tweaked in more detail, you are very welcome to join our program, 21 Days to Peace& Quiet. Jilly has helped hundreds of exhausted Moms all around the world get their babies sleeping well, so they can get their energy back and start feeling like themselves again. So they can enjoy all the little things with their families. We’d love to help you, too.

      How quickly your baby learns to sleep well depends on a few things: the method you choose, your consistency and your baby’s individual adaptability.

      In general, though, if you’re super consistent with all the steps of the program, you can expect your baby to be sleeping amazingly at night within 21 days.

      There are 7 lessons in the program and each lesson can be customized for your baby’s temperament. The program is delivered in short videos and simple visual guides to follow.

      Here is the link to Jilly’s program: https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/21-days-to-peace-quiet-program

      We’d love to have you join us! I’m happy to answer any other questions you have.

      / Leena, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  70. Claire Hackleton

    Hi there
    My 21 month old has been waking between 445!-!: 530 for 9 months. We never get him up before 615/630 and have tried wake to sleep, early bedtimes (630), late bedtimes (730) – originally it was 7, and keeping him outside as much as possible. His bedroom is very dark and we play pink noise all night. He naps for 2 hours at lunchtime usually from about 1230/230 although sometimes earlier if he’s exhausted and sometimes later if by some miracle he has woken at 6 (it’s happened maybe 7 times in 9 months). He is most days shattered by 11 and sometimes struggles with lunch as a result but otherwise eats really well especially in the pm. I’m at my wits end what else to try- do you think his nap is too long? Or is there something else I’ve missed – please help! I have two other older kids (7 and 10g and it’s making life so hard to manage given their schedules are so much later (up 7/8 and bed at 830).

    Reply
    • Leena

      Hi Claire! Sorry for the delayed response and sorry to hear about your LO’s sleep struggle. Your LO might be approaching a sleep regression soon, I’ll link a guide for that below for you to check it out.

      https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/2-year-old-sleep-problems-solutions

      It seems like you have tried multiple things already, kudos for that! If you’d like a bit more assistance and digging into what could be tweaked in more detail, you are very welcome to join our program, 21 Days to Peace& Quiet. Jilly has helped hundreds of exhausted Moms all around the world get their babies sleeping well, so they can get their energy back and start feeling like themselves again. So they can enjoy all the little things with their families. We’d love to help you, too.

      How quickly your baby learns to sleep well depends on a few things: the method you choose, your consistency and your baby’s individual adaptability.

      In general, though, if you’re super consistent with all the steps of the program, you can expect your baby to be sleeping amazingly at night within 21 days.

      There are 7 lessons in the program and each lesson can be customized for your baby’s temperament. The program is delivered in short videos and simple visual guides to follow.

      Here is the link to Jilly’s program: https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com/21-days-to-peace-quiet-program

      We’d love to have you join us! I’m happy to answer any other questions you have.

      / Leena, BSMS Support Team

      Reply
  71. Megan Wilson

    Hi,we have a 16month Old who is waking around 5:30am. She just moans and fussed and rolls around and talks etc until I get her. I try to hold out till 7am but if she gets really loud I get her so she doesn’t wake her sister up next door.

    We have blackout blinds
    We have hatch baby sound machine – dimmest setting and lower sound level (could try making louder)
    In bed at 7:30pm
    She naps 1-3pm right now and has been doing this nap time since 11mo.

    Only thing that’s changed is over last month or two is we’ve let bedtime move toward 7:30 instead of 7pm.

    Any advice?

    Thanks,
    Megan

    Reply
    • Jilly Blankenship

      Hi Megan,

      – Make sure her bedroom is 100% blacked out. (I’d put aluminum foil behind her curtain on the window just to see if this alone helps her sleep later. An easy fix!)

      – Yes, turn up the white noise.

      – Cover the sound machine with a light blanket IF it lets off any light. (Mine does the same so I put a muslin cotton blanket folder over it to block all light.)

      – If the above tips don’t help after 2-3 days, then have bedtime be 7 pm. A slightly earlier bedtime often helps LOs sleep later.

      Good luck,
      Jilly

      Reply
  72. Lindsey Bontecou

    Thanks for your post. I have been researching what to do with a 17 mo old that wakes at 4:30-5:00 am every morning and it does seem the consensus is earlier bedtime. Our normal bedtime is 7 PM, but the last few nights we’ve been bumping it earlier to 630. Little guys still wakes between 4:30 and 5. How long do you think it should take to see any change? He has been sleeping through the night for several months, and has had black out curtains and White Noise since moving into his own room at six minutes. He typically takes 1 two hour nap around 11 Am (sometimes earlier if he wakes at 4:30!).

    Reply
    • Jilly Blankenship

      Hi Lindsey,

      It sounds like you’re doing everything right! Sometimes our LOs can get stuck in an early waking habit.

      Yes I think the best thing for you to do is keep bedtime at 6:30 pm (that’s the time he’s ASLEEP, not the time you start your bedtime routine OR when he goes into his crib.)

      Give it about 2 weeks for the effects to take place and (hopefully) for this shift to work.

      Good luck!
      Jilly

      Reply
  73. Nicole

    Hi! Thank you for this post. I feel like I have been doing all these things but nothing’s working. Originally I made the early waking problem worse by mistakenly taking him (he’s 2.5) out to the couch to cuddle. But we stopped that. He has blackout curtains (has since birth) and a reasonable bedtime at 8. He sleeps through night (we tackled that a few months ago) and does have a hatch nightlight set to the dimmest setting and the sound machine is on. He wakes up between 4:30-5 everyday. Calls for us forever. I stopped going in there bc that wasn’t working and now wait until his nightlight turns green at 6am. Many mornings in between calling for us and crying, he completely empties his dresser onto the floor. He was also getting naked but I got some back zipper pjs to stop that. My kid is great! And very stubborn! Help! I’m having number 2 in 5 months!

    Reply
    • Baby Sleep Made Simple

      Hi Nicole,

      Emptying out the dresser and getting naked?! Sounds like a 2 year old!

      So it sounds like he never goes back to sleep after 5 am? I think you have a few options.

      1.) Limit his daily nap to 1.5 hours. Too much daytime sleep steals from night sleep and at his age 1.5 hours nap is right on target. This should help him add hours to his night sleep.

      2.) Move bedtime earlier. Go with asleep at 7:30 pm for one week and see if it helps (along with limiting his nap time.) You can also move bedtime as early as 7 pm. Earlier bedtimes often help children wake LATER in the morning. Seems so crazy but it’s true.

      3.) When he wakes before 6 am, go into his room quietly and do “damage control.” Do whatever you can to get him staying in his bed. Lie with him the first few nights, then sit in a chair next to his bed. His body won’t learn to go back to sleep at this hour if he’s able to run around the room and play. Be firm, yet loving and let him know that the only option is to stay in his bed.

      4.) I like the idea of the nightlight but ANY amount of light can send signals to the brain to be awake. I’d unplug the night sleep and go for 100% black out. Cover his windows with cardboard or aluminum foil. You want to be “tripping over furniture in the dark” kind of blacked out. Tell them that if he wakes and it’s dark, it’s still night time. And he’ll know it’s morning because mommy or daddy will come and tell him.

      Do the above steps for the next 2-4 weeks then assess how well he’s progressed.

      Good luck!
      Jilly

      Reply
      • Helen Woods

        Hiya. We do all the above for my 2year old yet from 5am she screams the house demanding breakfast or going downstairs or a cuddle. She tells me she is all done sleeping. She has always gone to bed by 7pm although even tried adjusting earlier / later with no effect. She wakes at a different time everyday, but always between 5 – 6 and always screaming. She naps 12-2pm every day. Have tried nightlights, leaving her to cry, literally everything. Where am I going wrong? She is so grumpy from being up so early and I am at my wits end. I just want 6am.

        Reply
        • Alyssa Taft

          Helen, Thanks so much for your message. I am sorry to hear that your little one is waking so early! It seems like your schedule is solid. A 2 hour nap in the middle of the day and a 7pm bedtime is appropriate for your two year old. Do you have the room blacked out? Do you use white noise? We consider 6am or later to be the start of our day so I would continue to treat anything earlier as a night waking. I wouldn’t verbally interact with your little one or turn on any lights. You could go in and give a quick “shh” and lay her back down like its time for bed. Then, I would wait 10-15 minutes and do it again if she is still up and walking around the crib. Give her time to resettle on her own. I would remain consistent for 1-2 weeks with keeping her in her crib until at least 6am. What time is her dinner? Try to make sure that dinner is high in protein and low in sugar so that can hopefully keep her nice and full until breakfast in the morning! Please let me know if you have any additional questions! Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

          Reply
          • Elise Stewart

            Hi,
            Help needed urgently! My 22 month old usually sleeps until 7:30am, however since the clocks went back she has been waking between 5-6am. She has 1 nap between 11-1 and bedtime starts at 7/7:30pm. The biggest problem we have is that she shares a bedroom with her bid sister (3) and when we put them to bed they sometimes sit playing until 8-9 pm! Also when she starts crying at 5, we started whipping her out to stop her waking her sister and have her in bed with us, we manage to stretch that until 7 am (she doesn’t go back to sleep though). We just don’t know what to do?! We have black out blinds and white noise playing through the night also.

          • Alyssa Taft

            Hello Elise,

            It can be so tough when siblings start to wake each other up! Your bedtime and nap times look good. She could be waking up at that time now out of habit because she is getting pulled out of her bed and going in with you. I would see if you can try and be consistent for a week or so of keeping her in her bed until 6am at least. You can talk with your older child and let her know she will be training to sleep in her own room. Try and turn the white noise up a little bit during this process. I think if she can learn to stay in her own bed and not get out of bed until 6am, you will see her morning lengthen. Early wake ups can also happen when toddlers are overtired. Going to bed at 8-9pm is pretty late. I would see if there is a way you can ensure that they can’t play. Is your room like really blacked out? I would try having no light come in the room whatsoever because this can help because they can’t see one another! Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

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